Over the weekend, our nation was shaken by the violence following the senseless death of George Floyd. His death, and the deaths of others, are sad reminders that bigotry and racism are more prevalent in our society than we would like to admit. Racism is contrary to the oaths and moral responsibilities we accept as health professionals who have dedicated our lives to advancing the health of all, especially those living in vulnerable communities.
Over the past three months, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed health inequities that disproportionately harm minority communities, exposing structures and policies that create conditions that lead to health disparities, poor health outcomes and reduced life expectancy.
As members of one of our region’s anchor institutions, we must lead by example and take bold action in partnership with our community.
The Association of American Medical Colleges recommends these steps of which we are in full support:
- We must acknowledge and speak out against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias in our environments in our institutions, communities, and society.
- We must stand in solidarity with the black community and speak out against unjust and inhumane incidents of violence.
- We must demonstrate empathy and compassion and acknowledge the pain and grief that the families and the communities of these victims are experiencing.
- We must take the lead in educating ourselves and others to address these issues head on.
- We must be deliberate and partner with local communities, public health agencies, and municipal governments to dismantle structural racism and end police brutality.
- We must employ anti-racist and unconscious bias training and engage in interracial dialogues that will dispel the misrepresentations that dehumanize our black community members and other marginalized groups.
- We must move from rhetoric to action to eliminate the inequities in our care, research, and education of tomorrow’s healthcare providers.
UCI Health remains steadfast with our campus colleagues and leadership in empathizing with the pain, sadness and anger that many black students, coworkers, and alumni are understandably feeling at this time. We want to take this moment to reaffirm that UCI Health will not stand for racial intolerance. We must continue to work together to provide a safe, inclusive environment for all of our community by providing compassionate, unconditional care for all who need it, regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, or any other human factor.
As Chancellor Gillman and other UCI leaders have messaged, “we can and must do more.” Now, more than ever, UCI Health must stand together as a community, cherish our rich diversity and find our strength during these difficult times. With your help, UCI Health will continue to be at the forefront as a healthcare system that embraces differences and respects all individuals.
|Chad T. Lefteris
CEO, UCI Health
|Steve A.N. Goldstein, MA, MD, PhD
Vice Chancellor, UCI Health Affairs
|Michael J. Stamos, MD
Dean, UCI School of Medicine
|Terrance R. Mayes, EdD
Associate Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion