A reaffirmation of our commitment to social justice and equity

To our College of Health Sciences community,

Recent national events compel us to consider the ongoing injustices that disproportionately affect communities of color and the unmet need to build respect and peace among all members of society. George Floyd’s death was not an isolated incident. It is instead a raw reminder of the terror that Black people have experienced in this country for over 400 years. To effectively address these issues, we must begin by acknowledging that racism exists and that the pain and trauma it causes have profound effects on our students, staff, faculty, patients and so many others across our region and the nation.

As a College of Health Sciences, our primary mission is to discover, to teach and to heal in the service of improving health and wellbeing. When racism and hate create an environment of fear and insecurity, the challenges to health and wellbeing are paramount. Systems and policies that produce poor health outcomes and lower life expectancy in communities of color at the best of times have been exposed with terrifying clarity by the ongoing pandemic where the rate of COVID-19 deaths far exceeds that of Caucasians.

As healthcare providers, we need to speak out and to act.

Many health professional schools and societies, including those within the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences (CoHS), are engaged in efforts to improve healthcare delivery to underserved communities through research, education and clinical care. But academic institutions are also bound to respond to injustice and violence if we are to improve the health and wellness of all our diverse patient populations.

This is a difficult task, but it can be achieved if we support each other in the work. As leaders, we ask all members of the CoHS community to stand against racism and hate and to consider taking advantage of the resources below.  We also request that you recognize the psychological toll these events have on our Black students, staff and faculty, and patients, and ask that you practice compassion and radical empathy in the aftermath of these tragedies. And, to those of you experiencing trauma, know that we are here to support you. Please exercise self-care by connecting with family and friends, and seek support from the resources listed below, as well as from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, the UCI Counseling Center, the UCI Faculty and Staff Wellness, and the Center for Black Cultures, Resources & Research.

We leave you with this message from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Sincerely,

Steve A. N. Goldstein, MA, MD, PhD, FAAP
Vice Chancellor, Health Affairs and Distinguished Professor

Bernadette Boden-Albala, MPH, DrPH
Director and Founding Dean, Program in Public Health
Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

Jan D. Hirsch, BS Pharm, PhD, FNAP
Director and Founding Dean, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

Shaista Malik, MD, PhD, MPH, FACC
Associate Vice Chancellor for Integrative Health
Executive Director, Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute
Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

Terrance Mayes, EdD
Associate Vice Chancellor, Diversity and Inclusion
Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

Adey M. Nyamathi, ANP, PhD, FAAN
Founding Dean and Distinguished Professor
Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing
Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

Michael J. Stamos, MD, FACS, FASCRS
Dean, School of Medicine
Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism Work and Practicing Solidarity