Mass General Brigham President and CEO's Message to Employees On Racial Injustice
The tragic and needless deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and, most recently, George Floyd are undeniable symptoms of racism in our country. They evoke our memories of the early days of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Those images are indelibly imprinted in all our minds, as the videos and social media posts of these recent tragedies will be for so many. What we have seen in Minneapolis and across the country as a response to Mr. Floyd’s murder (and countless other acts of violence experienced by black people in the past and present) is a clear call that we must do more to eradicate racism.
As a health care system, we are committed to ending suffering. Over the past several months, we have seen first-hand how inequity and structural racism have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in many of the poorest communities where we provide care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we increased our efforts to tackle the consequences of systemic racism by addressing social determinants of health. But we must do more. We have an obligation to ensure that we are creating a health care system that is truly equitable for everyone and recognizes that race matters in the care we provide, in the research we conduct and in how we educate ourselves and others. It also means that we must use the strength of our system to lead change. Because of the size and mission of our organization, our voice and leadership matters.
For all these reasons, we are committed to taking decisive action. We will examine the challenges of systemic racism in our own health system, as we must lead by example and actions. There will be more to come on this, but I want you to know that we will not remain silent or complacent in this fight. We will only make progress to fight racism when our colleagues and patients of color feel fully seen, heard and appreciated for the value that they bring every single day to Mass General Brigham.
We need to use this time to understand each other and stand together as an organization committed to healing and alleviating pain and suffering. I am certain there are many emotions that everyone is experiencing, based on their own life experiences and seeing the effects on others in the immediacy of the events across the country. I invite you to participate in a special Town Hall on Thursday, June 4, noon-1:30 p.m. to discuss “The Trauma of Violence, Race and COVID-19.” This is just a first step in what will be an important journey for us to move forward, together, as a community to address racism.
Anne Klibanski, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer
We will only make progress to fight racism when our colleagues and patients of color feel fully seen, heard and appreciated for the value that they bring every single day to Mass General Brigham.