The past few weeks have been turbulent and troubling. Through the news we have witnessed horrible violence and terrorism in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Closer to home we have seen racism, fear and exclusion on university campuses across the country, including our own. It is painful to hear of the intolerance and aggressions, but we need to listen to the voices that are speaking out.
Diversity and inclusion have been major priorities for me throughout my time as dean, and leaders across the school have developed intentional strategies to make us more diverse and more inclusive. Unequivocally, racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry are not welcome here. Yet every day people in our community have experiences that make them feel that they don’t belong.
People of different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, religious traditions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and cultures come together on our campus every day, but not everyone feels that they can sit at the table, have a voice, or be accepted for who they are. There is clearly work to be done.
As part of our effort to realize our aspirations for diversity and inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer Judy Seidenstein has convened an Inclusion Council with representatives from across the School of Medicine. In addition, I have asked a group of underrepresented minority faculty members to serve as an advisory council to help me, and our leadership, better understand and address issues facing students, faculty and staff from groups underrepresented in medicine. These councils and our recent Conversations about Race are part of our ongoing commitment to become a place where every member of our community feels safe, heard, respected and recognized for the talents and diversity they bring.
I appreciate your partnership and support as we work together to make the School of Medicine the very best it can be.
With best wishes for the upcoming holidays,
Nancy C. Andrews, MD, PhD, Dean
Duke University School of Medicine