Message on Commitment to Be Diverse, Inclusive, and Antiracist Institutions

Dear Colleagues, 

Recognizing that we are at a critical moment in history, where longstanding and pervasive structural racism has been escalated to an epidemic of violence against Black Americans and other people of color, Columbia University Irving Medical Center (Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Mailman School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and College of Dental Medicine) recognizes the need to be a leader in developing and implementing needed solutions. There is no question that structural racism has been embedded for 400 years in our society and has shaped negative aspects of our country. There is no question that there has been and continues to be resulting harm to the health and well-being of Black Americans and other people of color. Furthermore, this structural racism harms the fabric of our national cohesion, both present and future. While CUIMC has been dedicated to building a fully diverse and inclusive community, there is a need to intensify commitments and accelerate transformation in the face of this epidemic. 

Recent statements by Dean Lee Goldman and vigils on June 8 and separately on June 10 are intended to catalyze a process of honest recognition of the dimensions and costs of structural racism with solutions that result in substantive and enduring change. We are simultaneously committed to identifying and accomplishing the transformative actions needed to move purposefully to become an organization that is truly antiracist, diverse, multicultural, and fully inclusive. These actions will involve all of our constituencies, with implementation beginning this summer and building and sustaining over time. We seek to build a model of restorative justice and true inclusion that our faculty, students, staff, and other members of our community can proudly build from, whether they stay at Columbia or go elsewhere in the world.  

To begin this process, members of Columbia University Irving Medical Center will be convened by the four deans into broadly representative working groups that will be established in the next two weeks, building upon what we have done to date. Their charge will be to review the current status and recommend needed changes in our communications and culture especially in, recruitment and support of our faculty, staff, and community; curricular content; student, faculty, and staff diversity and success; community partnership programs; research in health disparities, social injustice, and racism; and clinical programs. 

Details will follow and we will ensure that this process will move forward rapidly. Please be assured that the leadership of all four CUIMC schools is highly committed to this work and to being fully diverse, inclusive, and antiracist institutions in which all will thrive. Let us use the Columbia University Juneteenth holiday as a time of reflection and resolve to begin a new chapter. 

 

Dean Lee Goldman

Interim Dean Designate Anil Rustgi

Dean Linda Fried

Dean Christian Stohler

Dean Lorraine Frazier

 

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