Dear friends and colleagues:
Recent events have added to uncertainty and unrest in our country. So much is going on in our world today, and while we have heroes we can celebrate, sadly we are also seeing the worst side of our society, as incidents of racism, hate and xenophobia are pervasive and present in the everyday lives of many of our students, faculty, staff and those they love.
This past week, the systemic challenges within many of our police departments across the country has become, yet again, very apparent. This is not a new problem, but one that we seem to have tremendous difficulty solving. This problem is reflective of a culture of intolerance, silence and support for behavior that has created an environment which has corrupted an entire law enforcement system. So much so, that police officers would stand by and watch as one of their own took the life of George Floyd.
In medicine, we strive for transparency and learn from our mistakes. Can you imagine a scrub tech or surgical assistant or resident staying silent as they watched an obviously reckless or dangerous move being perpetrated on a patient? Complicity includes being silent.
As doctors, as students, as brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, as any member of society, we have an obligation to contribute to the governance of our environment and empower everyone to speak up and be heard.
It’s not likely that the knee to the neck move was used for the first time on George Floyd, and if nothing is done, it won’t be the last. We stand, at the front line, with campus leadership, in speaking out to condemn racism, xenophobia and hate in any form. We must be in this together. We are committed to building an environment rooted in inclusive excellence here at the UCI School of Medicine, one that recognizes, honors and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. However, this commitment must be demonstrated in ways that extend beyond just words. I encourage you to never shy away from your responsibility, and to stand with us in the fight for human health and dignity.
Michael J. Stamos, MD Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, MD
Dean, UCI School of Medicine Vice Dean, Education, UCI School of Medicine