August 9, 2022
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016
Room M106

Contact Info

Karyna Nevarez at karynad@vt.edu.

Jariah Strozier, a young african american woman with braided hair and studs in her nose, lip, and eyebrow


Jariah Strozier is a Doctoral Candidate at Virginia Polytechnic and State University in the department of Sociology. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She has worked and advocated for vulnerable populations and communities in relation to public health concerns and social justice issues: children in rural communities such as the Dan River Region (Pediatric Obesity Prevention program) and Montgomery County Virginia, families and women in Martinsville, Virginia, and minority communities with managing type 2 diabetes across the state of Virginia. She has worked for the Center for Public Health Practice and Research at Virginia Tech on various projects addressing population health concerns in the community. She was the Needs Assessment Coordinator for the Pulaski Farm to School Program grant in 2015, WIC outreach worker for the New River Valley Health Department in Christiansburg, Virginia, and created best practice documents for the Farm to School program and the Family Wellness Initiative in Martinsville. She also advocates for underrepresented students at Virginia Tech, where she co-advised the Black Organizations Council at Virginia Tech, an undergraduate minority student-led organization.

Her research centers in Black feminisms, medical sociology, health education, and public health. Her research utilizes Black Feminisms and medical sociology to examine the intersections of gender, race, and weight. Her contribution to the literature and world of Black feminisms and medical sociology is coining the terms 'Crooked Room of Medicine' (CRoM), Thick Studies, the Gender Race Weight Matrix, and the Embodiment of (generational) heaviness. 

A Black Feminist’s Critique of the Crooked Room of Medicine (CRoM): Innovation of Thick Studies and the Gender, Race, Weight Matrix 

Black women’s historical experiences in the US, including my own story, are akin to what Black feminist Melissa Harris-Perry in her book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (2011), calls the crooked room. Applying Harris-Perry’s theorization of the crooked room to how medical institutions operate to cause Black thick women to be so quickly categorized as diseased, I have developed the concept of the Crooked Room of Medicine (CRoM) to describe the mental, emotional, and physical struggles Black women face at the intersection of race and gender stereotypes and false narratives particularly in medical settings.

I utilize and build upon Black feminist theoretical frameworks as well as my own personal narrative to investigate how a society that is built on racialized and gendered systems has implications for how the large Black female body is interpreted as unhealthy and diseased when treated within these social and medical settings. Building on Tressie McMillan Cottom’s scholarship, I utilize a methodology of what I call Thick Studies to develop a Gender Race Weight (GRW) matrix from the crooked room of medicine, to map out our experiences and develop a theory that focuses on healing. The result of Black women’s disproportionately poor health outcomes is a result of a complex environment of barriers from quality health care, to racism, and stress correlated with the distinct social experiences of Black womanhood in U.S. society (Chinn. Martin, Redmond 2021). The heaviness of generational racialized trauma is still in our DNA (Degruy-Leary 2017). Racism and gender discrimination have profound impacts on the well-being of Black women. I argue for a holistic health treatment that addresses mind, body, emotion, and spirit and for an acknowledgement of Black women’s knowledge of health and healing in relation to Black women, weight, and medical space.

Statement about accessibility and accommodation

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is committed to creating an inclusive and accessible event. All virtual events will have automated captions. Recorded events will have edited captions available soon after the event. If you desire live captioning or a sign language interpreter, please contact the organizer two weeks before the event. 

For in-person events, the main VTCSOM building at Riverside 2 is wheelchair accessible from the elevators inside the parking garage. Blind or visually impaired users may need assistance finding the elevators under the building, or using the stairs in front of the building.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend an in-person event, please contact the organizer of the event. All reasonable accommodation requests should be made no less than 2 weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.