Dear Prospective University of Minnesota Medical Students:
Each year the Medical School Admissions Committee reviews thousands of applications to our school. Each year we are inspired by the journeys that lead people into medicine and by their stories; from the applicant who starts a nonprofit to improve the lives of local children to the applicant who is first in their family to go to college.
Yet our painstaking process of selecting a class of future physicians is not just an academic exercise or an opportunity to be inspired. It is also a sacred and crucial responsibility to improve the lives of patients and the health of our community. You, after all, will be the ones caring for our children, parents, and us in the coming years.
With the killing of George Floyd, just a few miles from the doors of our school, our state and medical school have, after too long a delay, been forced to look past "Minnesota nice" interpretations and look at the racism in our own medical community. Recently we learned of the defacing the George Floyd memorial mural. Media reports discuss the involvement of a medical student in this act. We are saddened, shocked and we condemn violence against a site that has come to represent remembrance and healing for our community. Simultaneously we recognize that racism is not isolated to individual acts. In Minnesota, it is manifest in the stark health disparities present for residents who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Black and brown residents live shorter lives, with higher rates of disease and poorer overall care than white Minnesotans.
If we are going to address these disparities, we need physicians, scientists, allied health colleagues, policymakers, and a citizenry who deem these inequities as unacceptable. We need folks who look at these statistics and see the urgent work necessary to preserve precious moments and memories.
At the University of Minnesota Medical School you will find many students, faculty, and staff who recognize that the status quo is unacceptable and are, in this moment, seeking the pathway forward. Minnesota, our Medical School and your future patients need you. We need changemakers and leaders who want us to be better and who are not content to let disparities and racism persist.
We thank you for sharing your story with us and please know what a privilege it is to be inspired by you all. We promise to review your story holistically and with respect to the incredible diversity each of you brings. The story of our moment in this state is one of recognition, reflection, and most importantly action to improve the health of our neighbors with a special emphasis on rectifying health disparities predicated on systemic racism. We invite you to be a part of rewriting this story for all of us.
The UMN Twin Cities MD Program Admissions Committee