June 1, 2020
Over the past few months, our nation has been suffering from a pandemic that has taken more than 100,000 lives—and disproportionately affected communities of color. While many of you are still on the front lines fighting that battle, we are also facing a new crisis—borne of generations worth of pain—this one precipitated by the horrifying murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. Across the country, millions are standing up to be heard, expressing deeply ingrained pain at the injustice that has been experienced for centuries.
As I wrote on Twitter over the weekend, everyone who works in medicine does it to save lives, and weeks like this one remind us it’s not enough to lead in the workplace. We also have a duty to advocate for what’s right and fight against injustice. That was a big part of our motivation in starting this school, training students not only to be leaders in medicine but also to be leaders in their communities.
Right now, our community is hurting. We’re trying to make sense of this moment in history and reckon with our place in it. That’s why I convened the leadership team this past Friday to begin a process to identify more ways we can share our perspectives and support each other and our community during these trying times. I also encouraged anyone who is experiencing mental or physical trauma of any kind to reach out to the Kaiser Permanente Employee Assistance Program, which is available to everyone, free of charge.
We will be convening an optional Zoom meeting of the school community from 3 to 5 p.m. PT this Friday, June 5. At this gathering, we will break into small, facilitated groups to discuss how we are coping with the moment and how we as a community can better address the individual and structural racism that permeates our culture. If you are unable to attend, we will share any follow-up at our next school-wide team meeting on June 11.
I know our country feels fractured and broken right now. But if there’s anything the medical community knows how to do, it’s to strive to help our fellow human beings in their time of need, no matter how deep our wounds may be.
So, I hope all of you stay safe—and take care of yourselves. And if you need anything at all, you know where to find me.