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Dear DGSOM Community,
We share this message to acknowledge the fear, pain, frustration, and anger caused by the blatant acts of racism happening in our country, especially in light of George Floyd’s tragic death this week in Minneapolis. This act of violence was the most recently publicized, but it was not an aberration.
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In the last few months alone, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are among other unnamed victims as these horrific acts increase in frequency. Yet we also recognize that these acts result from a long history of institutionalized racism in our country that also leads to disparities in health and healthcare.
Many in our community are suffering the heavy burden that includes physical, emotional and mental tolls. However, this cannot and should not be a burden that is carried alone or without significant response. Each and every member of the DGSOM community has the responsibility to respond and support each other.
"As a community dedicated to healing humanity, we must also commit ourselves to illuminating the injustices that create inequity. Racism is a root cause of disparate outcomes in longevity and wellbeing."
Kelsey Martin, MD, PhD, Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (2015 - 2021)
We want to create a space intentionally designed to connect, to heal, to plan the next steps of action and advocacy for our community. The DGSOM Office of Equity and Diversity Inclusion plans to host, together with other DGSOM leaders, multiple virtual events in order to begin dialogue for students, residents, fellows, staff, and faculty. We will be partnering with the other four health sciences schools to hold a larger “South Campus” gathering.
As a community dedicated to healing humanity, we must also commit ourselves to illuminating the injustices that create inequity. Racism is a root cause of disparate outcomes in longevity and wellbeing. We have known this for years, but the racism and xenophobia exacerbated by the pandemic make it critical for us to explicitly denounce it. Although powerful, we understand that far more than words are needed. Starting Monday, June 1st, a series of emails will be sent that provide additional details for upcoming events and opportunities.
With your input we can take actions to advance our advocacy and efforts in confronting racism and sustain our commitment to achieving health equity. Please reach out to us with thoughts and ideas. We are available.
Kelsey Martin, MD, PhD Dean, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Lynn K Gordon, MD, PhD Senior Associate Dean, Equity and Diversity Inclusion
Kathleen Brown, MD Assistant Dean, Equity and Diversity Inclusion
Valencia Walker, MD, MPH Assistant Dean, Equity and Diversity Inclusion