Message from Dean Lee Goldman
What we have witnessed over the past week is causing all of us to confront the intolerable state of racial injustice that exists in our nation. The inexcusable actions that killed George Floyd, as well as other recent deaths and racially motivated events, are inconsistent with our basic commitment to a civil and just society. Columbia University Irving Medical Center insists upon diversity and inclusion, ranging from our student body and staff to our dedication to our neighborhood and patients. We will not tolerate racism or any of its manifestations.
At this moment, however, we all are appropriately concerned that the values on which the university and the health care professions are built are not universally shared, and that our nation is moving backwards. We cannot allow our leaders to dismiss these values, any more than we can permit them to politicize our research or demonize researchers whose findings are not consistent with their world view. We must ask ourselves what we can do in our professional and personal lives to help create the conditions needed for our nation and our society to move closer to the ideals we cherish.
An excellent way to start is to endorse the recommendations made today by the Association of American Medical Colleges:
- We must acknowledge and speak out against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias in our environments in our institutions, communities, and society.
- We must stand in solidarity with the Black community and speak out against unjust and inhumane incidents of violence.
- We must demonstrate empathy and compassion and acknowledge the pain and grief that the families and the communities of these victims are experiencing.
- We must take the lead in educating ourselves and others to address these issues head on.
- We must be deliberate and partner with local communities, public health agencies, and municipal governments to dismantle structural racism and end police brutality.
- We must employ anti-racist and unconscious bias training and engage in interracial dialogues that will dispel the misrepresentations that dehumanize our Black community members and other marginalized groups.
- We must move from rhetoric to action to eliminate the inequities in our care, research, and education of tomorrow’s doctors.
To all of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center community—faculty, staff, and students—our institution and I personally stand with you against racism, intolerance, and injustice. Even in this time of sorrow, let us resolve to be leaders in striving for a better future.
Lee Goldman, MD
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine
Chief Executive, Columbia University Irving Medical Center