Campus News

Brody Symposium set for March 24

The Owens Institute for Behavioral Research will host the 2021 Gene Brody Symposium virtually on March 24 at 3 p.m.

Sherman James will present “John Henry Proved Himself, Then Dropped Dead.” The legend of John Henry tells of a post-Civil War Black man who proved himself greater than a steam powered drill, but afterward, died from exhaustion. Whether the legend is interpreted as a tragedy, a heroic tale or both, the story contains a sober truth for all Americans. There are many examples of African Americans who, like Henry, overcome humble backgrounds and systemic barriers to achieve great success, but at what costs to their health? Join James, the originator of the “John Henryism” theory, to learn how the theory came about, what has been learned since he first proposed it in the early 1980s, and what outstanding questions remain.

James, a social epidemiologist, is the Susan B. King Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Public Policy at Duke University. He was a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill from 1973-89 and the University of Michigan from 1989-2003. At Michigan, he was the John P. Kirscht Collegiate Professor of Public Health and has received numerous awards and honors during his career.

The symposium honors University of Georgia Regents Professor and Center for Family Research Director Gene Brody.

For more information or to register for the live stream, visit