As an institution, we are united, and we are clear: The suffering of anyone in our community injures us all. Racism is unacceptable. We stand together against racial oppression and injustice.
The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Sean Reed and Breonna Taylor, and the harassment of people of color, are devastating failures of our society. As our students, faculty, staff and the nation remember these individuals and many others who’ve fallen victim to racial oppression, Jefferson reaffirms its commitment to addressing disparities in health care and education.
As an institution dedicated to healing and education, Jefferson plays an important part in contributing to the wellbeing of everyone in our community. As we’ve seen before, and during the pandemic, under-represented minorities are disproportionately affected — both in terms of infection and mortality rates, as well as devastating economic impact. We cannot let this happen and will continue to fight hard to address healthcare and education inequities in our region.
Jefferson seeks equity and social justice, and we are guided by our values of putting people first, being bold and thinking differently and always doing the right thing. We remain focused on living our values while achieving our mission to improve lives. All lives. We must continue to care for and respect each other and can only make a difference when we speak, act, and listen with compassion.
In an effort to hold ourselves accountable, Jefferson will begin to move forward on actions that define the values of our institution. We will:
- institute mandated in-person workshops in our departments and programs that are centered on bias and micro-aggressions, led by a third party;
- reinforce the use of our anonymous reporting system to notify others of witnessed racial bias involving students, faculty and staff of color;
- establish a committee on African-American Affairs that mandates both leadership and at least one committee seat be held by an African-American that reviews anonymous racial bias reports and runs diversity quality improvement projects throughout the health system and university;
- review our admissions and hiring practices to further expand the diversity within our institutions; and
- pledge to publicly and officially commit time and resources to a social justice program in Philadelphia.
As healers and educators, we are committed to helping others. Never has there been a greater need for being in the moment; for suspending judgment and acknowledging our different experiences. Our behaviors, like our mission, must transform words into action.
We stand together.
Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA
President, Thomas Jefferson University
CEO, Jefferson Health
Bruce A. Meyer, MD, MBA
President, Jefferson Health
Senior Executive Vice President, Thomas Jefferson University
Mark Tykocinski, MD
Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs
Provost, Thomas Jefferson University
Dean, Sidney Kimmel Medical College