Last month our medical students started a national movement called #whitecoats4blacklives in response to events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. They were able to connect with students across the country to bring attention to issues of race in medicine and health care disparities among underserved populations. More than 80 schools and thousands of students, faculty, trainees, and staff participated in December’s white coat “die-in.”
Their courage in standing up for social justice has resonated throughout UCSF. The most profound example is the School of Medicine’s decision to change the topic of its leadership retreat to issues of race and racism in higher education and in health care. At times it was an uncomfortable conversation, but it was an important discussion to have.
As we look forward to “life after the die-in,” we want to continue the momentum started by our students and focus on making UCSF an even more inclusive place. While we may have a long way to go, we have some great minds working on tangible solutions. We’ll tell you more as initiatives are finalized, but I want to leave you with this article that describes how we have responded to our students’ concerns so far and some of the things in progress.
I urge you to read the story at: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/01/122666/life-after-‘die-in’ and strengthen our commitment to diversity.
Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor