School of Medicine and Health Sciences officials announced the creation of an anti-racism coalition at a “recent” medical school and Medical Faculty Associates town hall, according to a release Friday.
The Anti-Racism Coalition will focus on four pillars of anti-racism work, including individual, interpersonal, institutional and structural forms of racism, according to the release. Interim Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Faculty Affairs Yolanda Haywood – who will co-lead the coalition with former National Institutes of Health anesthesiology chief Karen Williams – said all members of the GW medical community must engage in anti-racism work.
“While the Anti-Racism Coalition will be housed within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, this work does not belong to any one person or any one group,” Haywood said in the release. “All of us will be included in this fight, and each of us should take responsibility for anti-racist work.”
The idea for the coalition resulted from a “grassroots discussion” between Haywood and medical school Dean and MFA CEO Barbara Lee Bass following the police killing of George Floyd, according to the release.
“Either you are an anti-racist or you are not,” Haywood said. “And if you’re not, then you need to start educating yourself. If you are, then you need to further educate yourself. We are all in this together.”
Bass said the initiative will have a “durable” and “sustainable” impact within the medical school and beyond.
“It is my hope that we use this genuine moment in our history to utilize all of our tools to craft a new normal relative to race, equity, integrity and opportunity,” Bass said. “A new normal that fights for true equality for all. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it is our responsibility to take advantage of this moment and create something that will make a difference.”