Georgetown Responds to Racial Injustice

Protestors hold up signs outside the White House that say 'Black Lives Matter'

Racial Justice: Resources for Supporting Each Other at GUSOM

May 29, 2020

Dear GUSOM Students, Faculty, Staff:

We are experiencing an unprecedented time of tragedy, sorrow, and rage as tensions around racial injustices during the backdrop of a pandemic are currently ravaging this country.

We want to acknowledge the additional pain and trauma that is coursing through our campus community and nation right now as a result of the most recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among far too many others.

We recognize that many in our community are processing these painful tragedies and confronting structural inequalities that exist in healthcare and beyond. The continual confrontation has been exhausting and emotionally draining for many members of our community. Many of you have asked for resources and support to engage in these difficult and necessary conversations across peer groups, teams, and departments. Others have asked for ways they can continue to partner as allies and upstanders during this time.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at GUSOM is strongly committed to building a supportive, compassionate, and informed community. In light of the current events happening in our country during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to affirm our GUSOM community that we do NOT stand with the systemic racism that continues to prevail in our society.

At GUSOM, it is our highest priority to exemplify and promote a diverse community, inclusive of talents, interests, and backgrounds for the greater good of society, and respectful dialogue and points of commonality in areas of disagreement.

As we continue to engage in our value of dialogue, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion will host Open Dialogue Spaces on Zoom for our GUSOM community, which will be facilitated by student groups, peer dialogue facilitators, faculty, staff, and bias reduction improvement coaches. We will start the week of June 15 and continue throughout the summer and into the upcoming school year with open-ended topics addressing bias, allyship, social justice and all topics of concern to students, faculty, and staff. If you would like to be involved with planning these open space dialogues, please contact Dean Cheng at smc307@georgetown.edu.

In the interim, as part of our supportive plan of action to debrief overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger associated with these tragedies, we encourage opportunities to reach out for counseling support with CAPS and Campus Ministry.

For Students:

  • To schedule an immediate appointment with CAPS please email Dr. Simoné Jalon directly at sj787@georgetown.edu. You may also schedule an appointment with CAPS by calling (202) 687-6985 from 9:00am – 5:00 pm EST, Monday-Friday. In the event of an emergency after hours, please call (833) 960-3006 and you will be connected to a trained behavioral specialist.
  • The Office of Campus Ministry is available to all students during business hours by calling (202) 687-5259. In addition, chaplains in residence may be reached after hours by calling (202) 677-0361.

For Faculty and Staff:

  • The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) provides free confidential counseling and referral services to faculty, AAPs, and staff. For more information, visit hr.georgetown.edu/fsap or call (202) 687-2396.
  • More mental health and telehealth resources for students, faculty, and staff can be found here.

Resources

Beyond these counseling resources, for the GUSOM community, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is a source of support. Another resource is Aspen Ideas’ podcast: How to Talk About Race and Racism which provides recommendations for having difficult discussions. Additionally, here’s a set of resources for talking with young people about race, racism, and racialized violence from the Center for Racial Justice in Education.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other during this time. Empathy and care are crucial right now. Most importantly, seek support if you need it by reaching out.

Sincerely,

Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, MBA, MACP, FAAP
Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Joseph J. Butenas Professor and Dean for Medical Education

Susan M. Cheng, Ed.L.D., MPP
Senior Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion

David L. Taylor, M.Ed.
Senior Associate Dean for Student Learning


To our Black Colleagues: We See You, We Hear You, We Value You

May 31, 2020

Dear Georgetown WISE and the Georgetown University Community,

Earlier this week, our nation was shaken by another horrific murder of an unarmed Black man; this time his name was George Floyd. Just a few months ago her name was Breonna Taylor and before that his name was Ahmaud Arbery. As that list continues to grow, we cannot accept normalization of institutionalized racism, violence, and injustice that target the Black community.

As a predominantly White institution, Georgetown has had to confront its unacceptable legacy of slavery and institutional racism. Last year, the university passed an act of restitution for their ties to slavery with the intention to benefit the descendants of the 272 slaves that were sold to support Georgetown financially nearly two centuries ago. The issues of racism, injustice, and White supremacy are not just in Minnesota, Kentucky, or Georgia; we are dealing with the history of racism here at our own institution. For example, the administration has not adequately addressed this legacy, and we stand in support of GU272 in their efforts to enforce the referendum that undergraduates voted in favor of more than a year ago.

Furthermore, we must also address the legacy of racism that Feminism has as well. The Seneca Falls Convention, which is considered the first women’s rights convention in the United States, put forth a political agenda that focused primarily on the struggle of upper-class White women. The plight of Black women was largely ignored, and racial injustice was not acknowledged as another form of oppression for them. In planning the 1913 women’s suffrage march on Washington, advocating for women’s right to vote, White suffragettes dismissed the voices of Black women and forced Black suffragettes to march in the back segregated. This dismissal of Black voices was apparent again just last weekend. We witnessed a White woman weaponize her White womanhood against a Black man simply enjoying the outdoors knowing it could have resulted in his arrest or even death. As an organization with a mission to raise awareness of gender-specific issues, we refuse to ignore the injustices facing Black women and WOC like the founders of feminism did. We acknowledge the role of intersectionality in confronting both racism and misogyny. Furthermore, we understand that oppression is deeply rooted in societal structures such as universities, and we are committed to doing our part in creating a more inclusive environment for WOC.

This is a time for us to reflect and act. We must all work together to build an environment that supports people of diverse backgrounds, especially in STEM where there is still progress to be made. It is simply not enough to not be racist; we should actively work to be anti-racist, and conscientiously work towards an inclusive community where members of minoritized groups have a voice, are heard, and advocated for. It is crucial to learn how to become an ally. For example, we can check in on our friends of color, speak out against tone-deaf or racist comments, and use any platform or privilege we have to stand for an end to these injustices. We have provided some resources below to get started.

Georgetown WISE stands in solidarity with our fellow Black colleagues, scientists, students, and community members. You are an invaluable part of our community.

In solidarity,

Georgetown WISE

Below are some resources to engage with anti-racism content and advocate for justice after George Floyd’s death, which were adapted from Aphra Murray in the Chemistry Department, which she adapted from Breonna Taylor Organization, and Harvard Democrats.

  1. Support yourselves and your neighbors — racism is traumatic. Check in on Black peers, supervisors and friends.
    • On-campus resources:
    • Health Education Services (202-687-8949)
    • Counseling and Psychiatric Services (202-687-6985)
    • Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (202-687-4054)
  2. A list of resources that focus on the black community and are led by black professionals can be found at Black Girls Smile
  3.  Ways to get involved in advocating for justice
    • Sign the petition to County Attorney Michael Freeman to hold Floyd’s murderers accountable justiceforbigfloyd.com
    • Contact the Minneapolis Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office to demand that these officers be held accountable
    • Share these resources, your actions, and how to get involved, with those around you
    • If you are able, consider donating to the following funds/organizations
      • George Floyd Memorial Fund: this will cover Floyd’s funeral and burial expenses, as well as other family needs
      • Reclaim the Block: based in Minneapolis, this organization advocates for divestment from the MPD and funding other parts of the city’s budget that promote the health and safety of the community
      • Minnesota Freedom Fund: this organization pays criminal bails and immigration bonds on behalf of those who cannot afford it
  4. Articles to Read:
    • “America’s Racial Contract is Killing Us,” by Adam Sewer, The Atlantic
    • “The 1619 Project,” The New York Times
    • “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh
    • “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels”, by Rachel Cargle, Harpers Bazaar
  5. Podcasts to Listen To:
    • Code Switch (NPR)
    • Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
    • Dope Labs
    • Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
  6. Books to Read by Black Authors:
    • How to be an Anti-Racist, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
    • So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
    • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
  7. Organization to Follow on Social Media:
    • Antiracism center: @AntiracismCtr
    • Equal Justice Initiative: @eji_org
    • RAICES: @RAICESTEXAS

Confronting Racism

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

In recent weeks my communication with you has focused on the global pandemic and how we—as a Georgetown University community—are working our way through the challenges generated by a virus that has created a degree of dislocation and disequilibrium unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. In just three horrific months, one in four Americans has become unemployed and is looking for work. More than a hundred thousand people in our country have lost their lives to COVID-19. Our individual and collective routines and rhythms have all been disrupted. Although we are now beginning our tentative first steps toward a re-opening (under conditions of great uncertainty), we know we have much to do to rebuild our nation.

In the midst of this devastating experience, the original fault line of our republic has been exposed once again for the nation. We grieve the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia as unconscionable acts of violence. Their deaths, and subsequent nationwide protests, once again present our country—and each one of us—with the imperative to confront the enduring legacy of slavery and segregation in America.

On too many occasions over the years, there has been cause for me to share reflections with our community, as we grapple with the devastating impact of racism and hatred in our nation. In August 2014, following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; in December 2015, following the grand jury decision in the killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York; in August 2017, following the march of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. In these moments, which encompass far from the full extent of experiences of racism and racist violence, I have tried to frame the work in which we must engage within the mission and purpose of the Academy. Our role in society—to pursue the truth—through the methodologies and disciplines through which we establish knowledge in our world, demands our engagement. In our response, we have sought to accelerate our academic commitment to addressing racial justice, (new window) and to address our own connection to the institution of slavery and the enduring legacy of racism and to undo the structural elements that sustain this legacy.

We know this legacy is sustained by two elements: first, it is sustained by our own interiority—our beliefs and attitudes, our biases and prejudices, our ways of interpreting and making meaning in our world. Perhaps this element is unconscious, implicit, and unintentional, but it is nevertheless omnipresent and fundamentally influential. We also know that the very ideas of race and subsequently of racism are social constructs, the product of early American scholarship, developed and nurtured in order to justify the institution of slavery.

The second element consists of institutional structures that perpetuate inequity and inequality. Consider what we have seen since mid-March with the pandemic caused by COVID-19: African Americans in our country have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19.

A study by amfAR—the Foundation for AIDS Research, done in collaboration with colleagues at our O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, indicates that 22% of U.S. counties are “disproportionately black” and that these counties “account for 52% [of COVID-19 cases] and 58% [of COVID-19 deaths].” In a recent column, Michele L. Norris of the Washington Post indicated:

  • “Blacks comprise 32 percent of Chicago’s population but nearly 70 percent of covid-19 deaths.”
  • “Blacks comprise 26 percent of Milwaukee’s population but account for 73 percent of covid-19 deaths.”
  • “Blacks account for 40 percent of covid-19 deaths in Michigan even though they represent just 14 percent of the state’s population.”
  • “In Louisiana blacks make up 32 percent of the state’s population but 70 percent of those who have died because of the virus.”

For the members of the Georgetown University community, this evidence of structural injustice in healthcare has animated the work of many of our colleagues for decades. Recently, through the work of our colleague, Professor Christopher King, PhD, we have a deeper grasp of the health disparities here in our nation’s capital. His 2016 report, The Health of the African American Community in the District of Columbia: Disparities and Recommendations provided a comprehensive presentation of the realities here in the District. In the coming days, a second report, Health Disparities in the Black Community: An Imperative for Racial Equity in the District of Columbia, will be released. Professor King calls us to the work of achieving the day “when race is no longer a predictor of a health outcome.”

There are other structures—economic, educational, housing, criminal justice—that sustain inequity and inequality that are the enduring legacy of our American history. Coming out of these past three months, we know we have a nation to rebuild. We need to find ways to put forty million Americans back into the workforce and we must still contain a virus that remains a lethal threat to all of us. At the same time, we cannot return to a status quo that leaves inequity and inequality in place. As part of that determination, we must address the conditions that lead to the senseless and indefensible loss of life of our fellow citizens. We need to confront the violence that shapes the daily experiences of far too many, who expect so much more of us, as a people. We need to listen to the anger, the pain, the trauma that accompanies our failure to meet these expectations.

This requires the work of each of us and of all of us. Individually, in each of our own interiority, we must determine how we contribute to perpetuating injustice and sustaining structures that cannot continue and that now must be reimagined. And, for us in our shared membership in this Georgetown University community, it remains for us in the Academy to contribute to this work of reimagining the social, political, economic and moral structures to ensure justice for all—and especially for those for whom it has been too long denied.

Sincerely,

John J. DeGioia


Fighting Racism and Injustice

June 1, 2020

To the members of the Georgetown Law community:

I am heart-sick over the recent deaths of George Floyd (Minnesota), Breonna Taylor (Kentucky), Tony McDade (Florida), and Ahmaud Arbery (Georgia), and I am horrified that their deaths are part of a much longer list of African-Americans who have been killed by police and by vigilantes. The violence and hatred that took their lives is appalling. Their deaths, as President DeGioia wrote us yesterday, “present our country—and each one of us—with the imperative to confront the enduring legacy of slavery and segregation in America.” This legacy, which has tragically shaped too much of the history of our nation, is one of injustice and violence, and it is a legacy that each of us must fight.

I am proud to be part of the Georgetown Law community because this is a law school dedicated to that fight and to the dignity and equality of all persons. In this time of loss, we must reaffirm our core commitments as a community and as individuals. We must recommit to the struggle for the equal treatment of all people and to the fight against racism in all its forms.

I recognize that it is a fight that is as difficult as it is vital. But, as these killings show, it is imperative that we dedicate ourselves to that struggle. As James Baldwin eloquently reminded us, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

In the past few days, I have spoken to many members of this community about how to respond to these deaths and how to support those who are suffering. In the days ahead, we will be announcing community events and conversations focused on responding to racial injustice and on these violent attacks on African-Americans.

For decades, Georgetown Law has been at the forefront of making meaningful change as a community of lawyers, academics, and practitioners dedicated to fighting racism and injustice. The voices of our faculty have already been strongly evident in this crisis, and I call your attention to the powerful essays by Professor Paul Butler here and here, and Professor Christy Lopez here.

As a Jesuit institution, Georgetown Law educates people for others. As we battle racism and hatred, that commitment has never been more important.

Sincerely,

William M. Treanor
Dean and Executive Vice President


Life in the Time of Corona(virus) – Day 78

June 1, 2020

I can’t breathe. Again. When will this stop?

Once again, our cities are on fire. I have lived through the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of Dr. King, the Vietnam protests, Rodney King, Freddie Gray, the Occupy movement, murders in churches, synagogues and mosques. There have been so many senseless deaths, each of them the tip of the massive iceberg that is racial, economic and cultural inequality in America. Too many others, some whose names we know, and countless others we have not heard of have senselessly lost their freedom or their lives, and last week it was George Floyd. Each time, there were protests, many of them violent. Each of these fires erupted in response to some expression of supremacy, be it white, military, economic or religious.

My heart goes out to the Floyd family and to all who suffer the bitter taste of institutional racism. How could anybody not be filled with resentment and pain, and lash out against endless, stifling oppression? I cannot imagine having to instruct my sons on how to behave during a random traffic stop. I will never condone violence as a solution, but cannot turn away from expressions of anguish, either.

These dreadful murders must be addressed forthrightly, but they demand our attention to the core inequalities that underlie the beliefs and actions that enable and encourage acts of violence against innocent people. The response of a woman in Central Park at the sight of a menacing (to her) black male birdwatcher, a Harvard graduate no less, is deeply troubling. Racism and paranoia run so deep and penetrate even into the hearts of highly educated people who fancy themselves to be social liberals.

As many of you know, addressing minority health disparities — another legacy of racism — has been one of our signature activities during my time as director of this cancer center. Thanks to the great work of Lucile Adams-Campbell and her team, we have accomplished much, but the provision of great research-inspired cancer prevention and care provide nothing more than a very useful Band-Aid over the deep, festering wound of racism.

Last week I talked about two people who were heading into hospice in the final stages of their lives. One of these men is my father. He will live out the rest of his days surrounded by an adoring, close family in the comfort of his wonderful home. He has led a long, remarkable life. However, so many exceptional people never get the freedom or opportunity needed to succeed. Anybody who thinks otherwise either is not paying attention, or just likes things the way they are.

The other man is just 37 years old, black, living in Ward 8. The cancer that will kill him soon did not occur due to racial inequities, but his care has been so challenging. He has spent time in jail, and missed many appointments over the years as he dealt with the chaos of poverty. An avid sports fan, he analyzes the Redskins’ players and in-game tactics with the precision and insight of a veteran front office official. The closest he got to running that show was as a game-day security guard at FedEx field. He is a really smart guy. He just never had a chance to show it. He too has agreed to home hospice, but lives alone, and would not be safe in the home of the mother of his children. So, he will spend the rest of his life in his sister’s house. He deserved better. His life matters.

Cancer is bad, but we can treat it, and frequently cure it. However, I don’t have any magical prescriptions for this illness, the so-called Original Sin of this country. I do hope that change is coming, and I want to be part of that change, because until people like George Floyd can breathe freely, nobody can and nobody should.

Stay safe, and be well.

Louis M. Weiner, MD
Georgetown Lombardi Director


Confronting Racism

Monday, June 1, 2020

It is with heavy hearts that we, the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience (IPN) at Georgetown University, write this letter expressing our profound sadness, anger, and disgust at the recent events and systemic racism that plagues our country.

As members of the Neuroscience community, we stand in solidarity with our Black students and colleagues. The recent violent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and the countless other Black lives as well as the subsequent nationwide protests, the isolation and lack of support that is felt by our Black students cannot go unanswered.

This is a deeply seeded issue in our society that goes beyond the protest of today. Our Black students experience multiple racial injustices and have experienced them for years. We have to be cognizant of these experiences and aware of the role we play. It should not come to the death of innocent people for us to be responsive.

The IPN will continue to provide an inclusive environment for all and as members of this community we are actively and openly opposed to biases in all forms – those rooted in race, skin color, ethnicity, religious affiliation, economic status, gender, sexuality, political status, and medical/health status.

We want the Black community to know that we see you, we value you, and we stand with you, to bear witness and to continue the conversation.

To that end, we commit to regular open IPN program discussions on race and bias, to implicit bias training of our faculty and students, to increasing the number of Black seminar speakers, and to working together with students and faculty in educating for justice.

Resources can be found on our website as we continue to educate ourselves and support our Black colleagues and people of color within IPN.

Respectfully & in Solidarity,

Nahdia S. Jones
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss, PhD
Patrick A. Forcelli
Mackenzie Fama
Tahiyana Khan
G. William Rebeck
Chinyere Agbaegbu Iweka
Kaela Singleton


To Our Georgetown University School of Medicine Community

Monday, June 1, 2020

For the last 13 years, the HOYA Clinic has sought to be a safe space for vulnerable populations throughout our city, inside and outside the clinic doors. We stand in solidarity with black communities in Minneapolis, Brunswick, Louisville, and across the country, grieving for the countless black Americans whose lives were cut short by police brutality and demand justice in the cases of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many others.

We have learned in class and seen in practice the extreme health disparities present amongst people of color. When we took our Hippocratic Oath, we made a promise to act in the best interest of our patients, and most importantly, to do no harm. To care for the whole person means each of us must use our privilege and power as future physicians to speak out against injustices when we see them, and that starts now with the epidemic of police violence against black men and women. To be silent means to be complicit. With your family, friends, loved ones, and neighbors, we challenge all of you to have uncomfortable conversations that lead to healthy dialogue. If you feel inadequate in beginning those conversations, that’s okay, please take the initiative to use one of the suggested educational resources below as a conversation starter.

We want GUSOM students to know that we are fully committed to creating a space for actionable change. We would appreciate your participation by filling out the below survey so that we may prioritize these actionable changes to best fit the community’s needs. We want this list of ideas to adapt to the needs of the communities we serve and ensure culturally-appropriate education for all future physicians. Moreover, we strive to lift the voices of our fellow black students, and support all black communities in our nation.

Survey Link: https://georgetown.azl.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6MziOfpRfvHikcJ

On the next page, you will also find a list of resources that we would like to connect you to. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start. Listed are educational materials, resources for mental health support, and donation initiatives that we believe in. We hope you will take these resources and spread the word because our words are POWERFUL.

In solidarity,
The 2020 HOYA Clinic Coordinators

Zaynab Almothafer
Julianne Kiene
Connor Lester
Divya Makkapati
Sruveera Sathi
Stephanie Shin
Tim Utz
Chloe Wang


Racial Justice and Resources Offering Support

June 2, 2020

Dear Georgetown Main Campus Students, Faculty, Staff:

This is a time of great challenge and tragedy. Once again, we have seen the impact of racial injustice that has been a stain on our country since the original sin of the enslavement of people of African descent. Frustrations have resulted in peaceful protests throughout the country. These events come at a time when our world is challenged by the unimaginable impact of a global pandemic and its disproportionate impact on the Black community.

Recent reaction is motivated by events related to the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, yet we know that these types of actions have occurred far too many times. Police violence, especially against Black and Brown communities in our nation, needs to be acknowledged and addressed. Other forms of racism and oppression continue to plague our country, and Georgetown is not immune to these struggles. The subsequent nationwide protests are displays of inner pain that are shared by many in our community.

At Georgetown, we are strongly committed to building a supportive, compassionate, and informed community based on our Jesuit ideals and commitment to social justice. It is our priority to exemplify and promote a diverse community inclusive of talents, interests, and backgrounds for the common good, and to use respectful dialogue and points of commonality in areas of disagreement.

As a global University whose students, faculty and staff come from every corner of the globe, the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer will be launching a University-wide series on Conversations About the Unfinished Business of Race in the United States of America, beginning the week of June 29.

Drawing from diverse faculties representing a variety of disciplines across our three campuses, panels will cover such topics as the Impact of Gentrification in Black Communities, Income Equality, Health Disparities, Equal Justice, and Is Redlining a Relic of the Past? to name a few. Georgetown faculty, staff and students will populate these panels and national experts will also be invited to participate. The College will lead the series of conversations moderated by Dr. Soyica Colbert, whose panelists will be Dr. Zandria Robinson, Dr. Robert Patterson, Dr. Olufemi Taiwo and Dr. Michael Kazin. The first panel will be held on June 3, 2020 from noon to 1 p.m.

We encourage all members to participate in these discussions. Let us assure you that we will not stop there, as we recognize that it is time for us to leverage our position as a premier University to make tangible contributions to influence domestic public policy and the geopolitical world stage given our presence in Washington, DC. More information will be forthcoming in the near future.

As members of our community deal with overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger associated with these tragedies, we encourage you to reach out for counseling support through CAPS and Campus Ministry.

For Students:

  • You may also schedule an appointment with CAPS by calling (202) 687-6985 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday. In the event of an emergency after hours, please call (833) 960-3006 and you will be connected to a trained behavioral specialist.
  • The Office of Campus Ministry is available to all students during business hours by calling (202) 687-5259. In addition, chaplains in residence may be reached after hours by calling (202) 677-0361.

For Faculty and Staff:

  • The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) provides free confidential counseling and referral services to faculty, AAPs, and staff. For more information, visit hr.georgetown.edu/fsap or call (202) 687-2409.
  • More mental health and telehealth resources for students, faculty, and staff can be found here.

Resources

The Office of Student Equity and Inclusion (OSEI)is a source of support. Another resource is Aspen Ideas’ podcast: How to Talk About Race and Racism which provides recommendations for having difficult discussions. Additionally, here is a set of resources for talking with young people about race, racism, and racialized violence from the Center for Racial Justice in Education.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and all in our community. Please reach out for support and resources you may find helpful.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Groves, Provost

Rosemary Kilkenny, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer


Some Additional Thoughts on Racial Justice

June 2, 2020

Dear NHS Community,

I have been trying to write since this weekend but have been struggling to find the right words and message to share with all of you. The challenges we face right now as a nation are profound and it is hard to find something to say to adequately express the deep sadness and grief that I, and I know many of you, feel. As powerful as these emotions are, and as important as it is to acknowledge them, it seems equally important to not let them give way to despair or hopelessness.

In President DeGioia’s message to the Georgetown University community, he called on each of us to confront racism and contribute to the work of “reimagining the social, political, economic and moral structures to ensure justice for all—and especially for those for whom it has been too long denied.” Here in NHS, we have the opportunity to do just that—to confront racism and reimagine structures of justice—in our professional lives, with our focus on advancing health equity and population health for individuals, families, and communities in the United States and abroad. None of us alone can solve these problems, but all of us together can make a difference. The voices of our NHS community matter.

What do our voices say? Our NHS Committee on Mission and Values and NHS Minority Health Initiative Council issued powerful statements over the last two days affirming our NHS values and asserting our commitment to working for justice, especially in the context of health. Our colleague in the Department of Health Systems Administration, Christopher King, brought attention to health disparities here in Washington D.C. in his report released today, Health Disparities in the Black Community: An Imperative for Racial Equity in the District of Columbia. Our colleague in the department of Professional Nursing Practice, Roxanne Mirabal-Beltran, will be dedicating part of her summer to the 2020 Health Disparities Research Institute offered by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Our Fall 2019 seminar series—Racial Justice: Health and Health Care Perspectives—brought the powerful voices of Drs. Derek Griffith (Vanderbilt), David Williams (Harvard), Darrell Gaskin (Johns Hopkins) and Lisa Bowleg GWU). Our Health Justice Alliance, in collaboration with GU Law and GU School of Medicine, joins students and faculty to provide service, interprofessional education, advocacy, and research in pursuit of health, justice, and racial equity: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/centers-institutes/health-justice-alliance/.

Our voice will grow with the advent of Georgetown’s Racial Justice Institute, which will house scholars focused on health, public policy, law, and African-American studies & performing arts (https://blog.provost.georgetown.edu/the-georgetown-institute-for-racial-justice/). The Institute is meant to examine racial injustice, not only to understand its sources and dimensions, but also to seek structures and solutions to alleviate it. As many of you know, over the last year plus, we have been actively searching for a Racial Justice Scholar who will focus on health and have half-time appointments in both NHS and the Racial Justice Institute. Together with the NHS and University-wide Racial Justice Institute committees, we have been moving to bring the vision of the Institute into reality.

These are important efforts. Much work remains ahead. It is our imperative at NHS to continue to make progress on issues of health equity through the three pillars that define our work: research, education, and service to the community. On this, I’ll reference some words from our Georgetown President and Thomas Paine. As President DeGioia wrote in his letter,

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

And in the words of Thomas Paine:

Let it be told to the future world….that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive….that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

As I was looking up the NIMHD health disparities program that our NHS colleague will be doing, I came across the NIMHD vision and I wanted to share this as well:

NIMHD envisions an America in which all populations will have an equal opportunity to live long, healthy, and productive lives.

I think we at NHS share this vision and I know we will work together in the upcoming months and years to help achieve it. As we move forward, please let me know if you have ideas about ways NHS can continue to address issues of racial justice and health.

Lastly, in these times of compounding stress, please don’t forget to practice self-care and do keep in mind these resources:

• The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) provides free confidential counseling and referral services to faculty, AAPs, and staff. For more information, visit hr.georgetown.edu/fsap or call (202) 687-2396.

• Students may schedule an appointment with CAPS by calling (202) 687-6985 from 9:00am -5:00 pm EST, Monday-Friday. The Office of Campus Ministry is also available to all students during business hours by calling (202) 687-5259. In addition, chaplains in residence may be reached after hours by calling (202) 677-0361.

My thoughts are with all of you, as are my wishes for your continued well-being.

Carole Gresenz
NHS Interim Dean


Racial Justice and Our Solidarity

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dear Members of the GUMC Community,

Like many of you, the events of the past week and a half weigh heavily on me.  As I worked today to collect my thoughts in order to share them here, I quickly realized that words feel inadequate in contrast to action. Still, in this moment I feel that it is important to express the medical center’s solidarity with all of our colleagues and fellow citizens who are raising their voices for change and justice within the Black community.

In just a short period of time, we have been reminded in dramatic fashion of the pervasiveness of racial inequities in our society. The COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped our world and changed every aspect of how we live has brought devastating losses in the form of income and jobs, moments with loved ones, and life as we knew it. It has also exposed the fault lines of racial inequity, as we have seen the virus sweep through Black communities disproportionately. Our colleagues at MedStar Georgetown have treated many of these severe cases. In DC alone, 75% of COVID-19 deaths are among African Americans.

The death of George Floyd and recent civil unrest has exposed these fault lines still further. We are faced with a new landscape shaped by all of these events. The question I ponder now is whether we can find our footing in this new terrain to remake our society.

Each of you will find your own ways of responding to the challenges raised by the events of recent days. These individual efforts will collectively have an important impact, and I strongly support and share in that work. 

I hope your work at GUMC also will be a part of that response. As our mission states, our work is to improve human health through education, research, service and patient care. Embedded within this statement is the pursuit of social justice, which is a guide for our work to resolve systemic inequities that are the result of overwhelming health disparities. We should recommit to this mission in the Jesuit spirit of care and respect for each person and every person, of each community and every community, viewed through the lens of health equity, one of the most important social justice issues of our time. The spirit of caring for the whole person as individuals within our broader community is more necessary now than ever before.

We have much work to do to achieve health equity. The magnitude of what we are up against was made plain by a new report on health disparities in the District released yesterday by Christopher King at NHS.  In this, his second such report, he synthesizes the stark and stunning health and economic disparities in our community. Though sobering, this information can add purpose and value to our individual work, both professionally and personally.

We all may struggle at times to identify what action we can take to meaningfully demonstrate our shared commitment and support to communities experiencing societal inequities. In addition to our important outward facing work, we – as a medical center community – also must look inward and continue to do the work that is needed and required to ensure our campus reflects justice and equity for all.

To the faculty, staff and students who are members of our Black community, know that we stand with you. We value you and your many contributions. We desperately want to be a positive force in healing, from not only these deeply distressing and painful recent days, but from the legacy of slavery that has endured for 400 years.

I invite you to join me later today at the School of Medicine’s Moment of Silence & Prayer for Peace.  It is open to all in our community and begins at 5:15pm ET. You can join via this Zoom link.

These times can leave many of us feeling deeply troubled. Below you’ll find a list of support resources that are available for our community.

Yours truly,

Edward B. Healton, M.D., MPH
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences
Executive Dean, Georgetown University School of Medicine
Georgetown University Medical Center

For Students:

  • To schedule an immediate appointment with Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), please email Dr. Simoné Jalon directly at sj787@georgetown.edu. You may also schedule an appointment with CAPS by calling (202) 687-6985 from 9:00am -5:00 pm EST, Monday-Friday. In the event of an emergency after hours, please call (833) 960-3006 and you will be connected to a trained behavioral specialist.
  • Health Education Services offers confidential crisis response and referrals. Students do not need a referral to seek services at HES, and all clinical services are completely free and confidential. Email the individual clinician with whom you would like to meet – the list of clinicians is available here (new window)
  • To schedule an appointment with a nurse or health care provider through the Student Health Center, call 202-687-2200 or send a message through the MedStar portal
  • The Office of Campus Ministry is available to all students during business hours by calling (202) 687-5259. In addition, chaplains in residence may be reached after hours by calling (202) 677-0361.
  • Through the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA), students can be seen for counseling related services (consultation, triage, assessment, referrals, and short-term counseling). Please contact Dr. John Wright at jcw57@georgetown.edu to make an appointment.

For Faculty and Staff:

For the GUMC community: 

  • For free immediate access to mental health specialists, call 866-342-6892. 
  • Open Dialogue Spaces on Zoom: hosted by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and facilitated by student groups, peer dialogue facilitators, faculty, staff, and bias reduction improvement coaches. Starting the week of June 15, the Open Dialogue Spaces will address open-ended topics related to bias, allyship and social justice.

Contact Dean Cheng at smc307@georgetown.edu to learn more.
 


BGE Statement on Racial Injustice

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dear Biomedical Graduate Education Community,

My heart is heavy from the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and many others due to systemic racial injustice. The strain on our Black community is incomprehensible, particularly on the backdrop of a global pandemic that is disproportionately afflicting communities of color. This is a time when we need each other most to strengthen our training community, and to come together to support our Black colleagues during this time of grief and crisis in our nation. 

Biomedical Graduate Education (BGE) will be offering support and space for our community to have important dialogue and alleviate the burden of isolation. BGE will be collaborating with the School of Medicine to provide a series of Open Dialogue Discussions facilitated by students, postdocs, staff, and faculty to address topics such as bias, allyship, and social justice. To explore these topics in greater detail, I invite you to review the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s new resource, Talking About Race, and the Aspen Ideas’ podcast: How to Talk About Race and Racism. The NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education also has a repository of workshops and recordings around professional development, wellness and resilience, and resilience workshops tailored toward trainees of color.

Meanwhile, I draw your attention to the following resources to support your emotional safety and well being during these unprecedented times:

Students

  • You may schedule an appointment with CAPS by calling (202) 687-6985 from 9:00am – 5:00 pm EST, Monday-Friday, or (833) 960-3006 for services after hours.
  • The Office of Campus Ministry is available to all students during business hours by calling (202) 687-5259. In addition, chaplains in residence may be reached after hours by calling (202) 677-0361.
  • BGE continues to offer 1on1 career advising to BGE students and GUMC postdocs.

Postdocs

More mental health and telehealth resources for students, faculty, and staff can be found on the Georgetown University website.

We will continue to develop and disseminate resources to support our community and to alleviate structural barriers to inclusion and success of our marginalized colleagues. 

In Solidarity, 
Anna

Anna T. Riegel, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Graduate Education,
Cecilia Rudman Fisher Professor of Oncology and Pharmacology

Barbara S. Bregman, P.T., Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Medicine Medicine
Associate Dean for Health Professions Development 
Biomedical Graduate Education

Caleb C. McKinney, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Assistant Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Training & Development
Biomedical Graduate Education

Elizabeth Song, M.Ed.
Assistant Dean of Administration and Finance
Biomedical Graduate Education


Statement from the Department of Microbiology & Immunology on Racism

The Department of Microbiology & Immunology is deeply saddened and troubled by the ongoing racism and violence the Black community and other people of color continue to experience in the United States. 

Science is a mission to search objectively and without bias for truth, and the data are clear. A member of the Black community is 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than White Americans. Here in our Nation’s Capital, 45% of the population is Black but account for 75% of COVID-related deaths. Nationally, Black Americans represent only 6% of college and university faculty, despite making up 13% of the US population. Racial injustice is a thread running through the whole of our nation’s history, from its founding to the present. Acknowledging these numbers does not solve the problems of racism but is a necessary step in making progress. For those of us in positions of power and privilege, it is a reminder to both reflect and act.

We deeply value the community of scholars that make up our department and graduate programs. To our current and potential future trainees, in particular, you are the future of science and the future of academia. It is one of the great joys of our profession to support you as you grow and achieve your goals. While we still have a long road to trek, we reaffirm our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive environment, not only in name, but in action. We commit to continuing to recruit and support a diverse student body to grow the diversity in science, commit to reflecting the diversity of the scientific community in our seminar series, and commit to confronting injustices both at Georgetown and in our nation. Furthermore, we commit to an ongoing conversation with our faculty, staff, and students, and to foster an environment in which these conversations better our department and ourselves. In doing so, we also pledge to work together to create an environment where the voices of all who are marginalized are heard, amplified, and advocated for.  This is a traumatic moment for our nation and is particularly so for Black members of the Georgetown community. To our Black colleagues in this time of trauma and moving forward: we hear your voices, we see your struggles and pain, and we stand in solidarity with you.


Statement from the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology on Racism

The Department of Pharmacology & Physiology is deeply saddened and disgusted by the ongoing racism and violence the Black community and other people of color continue to experience in the United States. 

Science is a mission to search objectively and without bias for truth, and the data are clear. A member of the Black community is 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than White Americans. Here in our Nation’s Capital, 45% of the population is Black, but account for 75% of COVID-related deaths.  Nationally, Black Americans represent only 6% of college and university faculty, despite making up 13% of the US population. Racial injustice is a thread running through the whole of our nation’s history, from its founding to the present. Acknowledging these numbers does not solve the problems of racism but is a necessary step in making progress. For those of us in positions of power and privilege, it is a reminder to both reflect and act.

We deeply value the community of scholars that make up our department and graduate programs. To our trainees, in particular, you are the future of science and the future of academia. It is one of the great joys of our profession to support you as you grow and achieve your goals. While we still have a long road to trek, we see the data and reaffirm our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive environment, not only in name, but in action. We commit to continuing to recruit and support a diverse student body to grow the diversity in science, commit to reflecting the diversity of the scientific community in our seminar series and endowed lectures, and commit to confronting injustices both at Georgetown and in our nation. Furthermore, we commit to ongoing conversation with our faculty, staff, and students, and to foster an environment in which these conversations better our department and ourselves. In doing so, we also pledge to work together to create an environment where the voices of all who are marginalized are heard, amplified, and advocated for. 

This is a traumatic moment for our nation and is particularly so for Black members of the Georgetown community. To our Black colleagues in this time of trauma and moving forward: we hear your voices, we see your struggles and pain, and we stand in solidarity with you.