Duke University, SoM, DUHS Take Steps to Address Systemic Racism

Duke University, SoM Address Systemic Racism

by William Alexander, Department of Neurology, Duke University School of Medicine

Last week, both Duke University and the School of Medicine took steps to acknowledge and address systemic racism, both within their institutions and across the nation, with particular emphasis on the effects racism has on Black communities and individuals. On Tuesday, June 16, Duke University held "Living While Black," an all-day symposium bringing together distinguished Black faculty, students and staff. Speakers discussed the history of race and racism within Duke and the United States, their personal perspectives as Black individuals at Duke, and steps to chart a path toward an equitable, anti-racist future.

Later that day, Dean Mary Klotman, MD, addressed race and racism within the Duke University School of Medicine with "Turning a Moment into a Movement: Dismantling Racism in the Duke University School of Medicine." Klotman acknowledged the grief and anger Black individuals and communities are feeling and vowed that the School would make structural changes to become a more equitable institution.

“Whether it’s Duke University, School of Medicine, or Duke Health, we speak of diversity, respect, and inclusion. However we will not live up to those values without looking within our own house and actively eliminating systemic and institutional racism,” Klotman said. “I can think of nothing more important at the moment to acknowledge and take essential steps to dismantle any structural racism within our institution. When we do that, we can become powerful, credible, champions of change outside our roles at Duke.”

In addition to Dean Klotman, speakers from across the School of Medicine shared their personal experiences dealing with racism: Assistant Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Diversity & Inclusion Johnna Frierson, PhD, fourth-year medical student Kristen Simmons, Associate Professor of Neurology Andrew Spector, MD, and Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine Kenyon Railey, MD. Watch the address by Klotman, Spector, Frierson, Simmons, and Railey here. More from the Department of Neurology

Duke Health Walk of Solidarity

by Julie Poucher Harbin
Senior Writer, DCI

Walk of SolidarityOn June 10, DUHS organized a walk of solidarity "to take a collective stand against systemic racism and injustice and to show the world that we are stronger together."

Dozens gathered in the courtyard between Duke Medicine Pavilion (DMP) and the Duke Cancer Center at noon to walk, then gathered for brief remarks on the Duke Medicine Circle lawn.

"The rich diversity of our team is part of what makes Duke Health the best place for research, education and patient care…and we are always stronger together," wrote DUHS leadership in an email announcing the "Moment to Movement" walk.

"We walked together to reach across divisions and take a step to create an equitable society," Tweeted Duke University Hospital.

"I was so proud to be part of this march yesterday and being a member of the DukeHealth team!" wrote Robin Famiglietti, PhD, MBA, FACHE, Chief Administrative Officer, Duke Cancer Institute, and Associate Vice President and Assistant Dean of DUHS Oncology Services. "2020 is bringing strong clarity regarding racism and social disparities, we are ready for change!"