The University of Minnesota Medical School community mourns the death of George Floyd. We are outraged by the brutal manner of his death and the role racism played in the callous disregard for his life. People from across our state and around the world have risen in protest and asked to be heard. We share their pain and add our voices to condemn racial profiling, police brutality, and injustice.
We acknowledge that the state of Minnesota has vast disparities in health, economic status, and educational outcome, largely due to the social construct known as “race,” and the perpetuation of structural racism.
We pledge to educate ourselves, examine our personal biases, and expose where structural racism pervades our institution.
We commit to change. We commit to maintaining our momentum long after the protests have stilled. We commit to transforming our grief and anger to action.
The first actions we will take are these:
- Listen to our patients and advocate for them both in and out of the clinic. We listen because we do not have all the answers. We advocate because we have power.
- Use a collaborative approach to eliminating racism that respects the expertise of students, faculty, staff, and diverse community partners. Time spent on these efforts will be administratively supported, compensated, and recognized.
- Educate ourselves by ensuring all students, residents/fellows, faculty, and staff receive training on racism, implicit bias, and microaggression so that they understand the expectations of treating others with respect, interacting effectively with people from diverse backgrounds, and serving everyone in our community with humanity and cultural humility.
- Focus additional recruitment efforts in communities that are underrepresented in medicine (URM). We must provide prospective students with tangible evidence that URM students are not only “welcome here,” but that they also succeed here.
- Collaborate with the new Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to build programs that recruit and retain faculty of diverse backgrounds and to create a more inclusive academic community.
- Accelerate developing new curriculum for our medical students that comprehensively integrates the topic of health equity and how structural racism and accompanying socioeconomic factors are central barriers to it.
- Evaluate our use of the concept of “race” in research, education, and health care.
- Perform research and develop policy that can be used to support legislation that acknowledges and works to eliminate the direct impact of racism on the health and well-being of our communities.
We commit to absolute systemic change that will prevent more senseless deaths, reduce racial gaps in healthcare outcomes, ensure that all students are educated equally, and create a better Medical School, University, state, and world for us all.