Skip to cookie consent Skip to main content

United Against Racism: Making a Difference for Our Patients, Our Community and Our Employees

Author: Anne Klibanski, MD
A group of people standing together holding a banner that says "United Against Racism"; Photo credit: Jim Rathmell Photo credit: Jim Rathmell

A Two-Year Reflection on an Academic Health System’s Journey to Become an Anti-Racist Institution

A Message from Dr. Anne Klibanski, Chief Executive Officer of Mass General Brigham

Two years ago, Mass General Brigham launched United Against Racism, and outlined a plan to confront the many impacts of racism both within our organization and throughout our collective community. Our efforts are an organizational commitment and a pledge to our patients, our people, and the communities we serve—enabled by a long-term, multimillion dollar investment and powered by countless individuals dedicated to improving health equity and building a workplace that advances racial equity.

The work of combatting racism is our collective challenge and obligation, and I am proud of the progress we have made. Our efforts are organized around three pillars:

Together, we are building more equitable patient care through research and quality improvement; improving health outcomes by first measuring and acknowledging our inequities; collaborating directly with the communities we serve to enable health improvement programs and initiatives; recruiting and hiring more diverse staff; and establishing an antiracist culture for our leadership and employees, which includes required racial equity educational courses. We are taking measurable action across our entire healthcare system to dismantle racism, and we are learning as we go.

Our culture of learning—our academic model of testing, evaluating, and adapting—is a key differentiator in approaching this work. Large organizations, particularly in healthcare, often hesitate to act, daunted by the monumental nature of tackling white supremacy. This is important but difficult work. It can be uncomfortable. The voices of opposition can be loud and intimidating. But we must overcome that discomfort to start. At our core—as clinicians, staff, caregivers, researchers, community practitioners, and innovators—we are problem solvers. Our inclination is to try, learn, pivot, and evolve. This mindset has empowered us to act, and we will continue to learn and grow as we work to create a more equitable healthcare system.

As we reflect on our shared progress, we remain acutely aware that these are first steps, and our work to combat racism and foster more equitable healthcare delivery remains critical and ongoing. The two-year anniversary of United Against Racism is a moment to reaffirm our commitment, accelerate our efforts, and amplify our impact. Together, we will continue to deliver the solutions our patients, our communities, and our staff deserve.

United Against Racism exemplifies the power of systemwide collaboration and is an important part of how we are transforming Mass General Brigham to become the integrated academic healthcare system of the future, with patients at the center. Individuals and teams across every member organization, department, and job function have been instrumental in advancing this work. No matter where you are in our large organization, we all have a critical role to play in combatting racism at every level.   

Over the next two months we will share stories about the people, programs, and initiatives that are driving us forward, as well as our areas of focus for the coming year. I look forward to sharing updates on our continued journey to be United Against Racism.


Anne Klibanski, MD

Anne Klibanski


President and CEO, Mass General Brigham

This is the first in a series of articles over the next two months to celebrate the two-year anniversary of our United Against Racism initiative and provide more in-depth overviews about our work and progress.

Stay tuned for our next post, “Building a Better Workforce in Safer, More Welcoming Environments,” along with a joint interview featuring Rose Sheehan, Chief Human Resource Officer, and Carla Carten, PhD, interim Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer.