To the WMed community and everyone within reach of our voice:
At a meeting held on June 4, 2020, all medical school leaders connected virtually via Teams to discuss, approve, and commit to an institutional leadership statement on racial inequity.
Leadership Statement on Racial Inequity
The impact of racism is paralyzing to the health and well-being of the black community and has also affected the medical school community – our students, faculty, residents, fellows, and staff – who are also residents and members of the community we serve in southwest Michigan.
No one should live in fear because of the color of their skin, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion. The deeply rooted problems of racial inequality and structural racism in America have come again to the forefront with the wrongful deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. WMed condemns these violent acts against members of the black community, and we have no tolerance for any manifestation of hate or racism.
It is our medical school Guiding Principles – our mission, vision, values, values in action, and strategies – that are the foundation of why we exist, what we aspire to be, how we define our culture, and the behaviors we expect of each other. We turn to these principles at times like these to remind ourselves of our commitments to value inclusiveness and diversity and to show compassion to all. Through community collaboration we will achieve excellence as an institution.
At this time of crisis, unrest, and social injustice we are compelled to:
- Demonstrate our commitment to the community by re-affirming and demonstrating our willingness to eliminate any racism, discrimination, and bias within our own institution, in our service to the community, in our education of learners, and in the care that we provide to our patients and their families.
- State our position for solidarity with the black community and stand against acts of brutality, and the unjust and inhumane treatment of members of the black race, and demonstrate empathy and acknowledge the pain and grief that the families and the communities of these victims are experiencing.
- Commit to service at the highest level in all aspects of education and patient care.
- Actively engage partnerships with community organizations and leaders to demonstrate our support and advocacy with compassion, cultural humility, and empathy through our dedication to anti-racist policies and service.
- Be deliberate in our partnerships with community leaders and organizations to work towards ending the impact of structural racism on this community and its effects on health disparities.
- Critically evaluate our institutional policies and training related to equity, diversity, and inclusiveness to ensure that all members of the WMed community are informed, educated, and treated equitably.
- Hold ourselves and each other accountable to the highest standards that promote excellence and a culture of inclusivity that we all can be proud of.
As leaders and members of WMed and this community we cannot be silent! We will be active in our advocacy. As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
We refuse to be silent, and we join together in our advocacy for a healthier community and nation for all people.
This important statement was prepared by Cheryl Dickson, MD, MPH, associate dean for Health Equity and Community Affairs, and Donovan Roy, PhD, assistant dean for Diversity and Inclusiveness, with my encouragement and full support.
Thank you. Together we advocate.
Hal B. Jenson, MD, MBA
Click here to view a personal video message from Dean Jenson recorded on June 5, 2020.