Recommitting to Equality to Honor the Legacy of George Floyd

Dear Colleagues, 

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd and the national and global reckoning with structural racism catalyzed by his tragic death. 

Over the past year, discussions at every level of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center have brought together faculty, staff, researchers, trainees, and students to find ways to fight racism, inequality, and injustice. CUIMC brought together dozens of members of our campus to make recommendations to ensure anti-racism in health care and the health sciences. Those recommendations are now being implemented, just as we work on developing additional programs that will enable faculty, staff, and students to contribute to our anti-racism goals. To stay informed of our progress, please review our plans on the CUIMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website

As part of a university-wide reckoning of our history, President Bollinger appointed a taskforce to consider the relationship of commemorative structures and monuments to our history. A first step in this historical reappraisal was the decision, catalyzed by the thoughts and words of Raymond Givens, MD, assistant professor of medicine, that the university would re-name Bard Hall. Samuel Bard, one of the founders of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, was also a slave owner. Resolution of the contradictions between past history and present values will provide opportunities for a more just and informed future. 

We know that eliminating racial injustice and the creation of an environment truly welcoming to all who work, study, live and come here for health care will continue to be a defining challenge for our generation. Let’s commit to removing discrimination throughout our enterprise so we can be the kind of medical center that leads the nation not only for the quality of our education, patient care, and research but also for providing an environment that emulates the very highest professional values that our patients, students, colleagues, and neighbors deserve. 



Anil Rustgi, MD, Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine 

Lorraine Frazier, RN, PhD, Dean, School of Nursing, Senior Vice President, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, Dean, College of Dental Medicine, Senior Vice President, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, Dean, Mailman School of Public Health, Senior Vice President, Columbia University Irving Medical Center