Message to the Penn Medicine Community
April 19, 2021
Dear Penn Medicine Community,
After a year of painful incidents which have prompted an urgent, overdue dialogue about social justice and systemic racism across the nation, the collective impact takes a toll on the emotional and mental well-being of our entire community, even as we continue to care for others as the pandemic continues. Recent weeks have brought fresh traumas: A mass shooting targeting Asian American women; a video of a young military officer, an Army lieutenant, being pepper sprayed by police during a routine traffic stop, and the shooting of Daunte Wright at the hands of a police officer who has been charged in his death.
As closing arguments begin in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, we recognize that the coming days and weeks may be deeply challenging for many in our community. The impacts and stress of this trial and the other violent events may exacerbate or open wounds in our colleagues, patients and community, particularly for those among us who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.
Support is available to you, including the following mental health resources for all faculty and staff:
- Penn COBALT
- Employee Assistance Programs
Last year we made a commitment to our community to work toward a future where Penn Medicine is united as an anti-racist, equitable, diverse and inclusive organization through our Action for Cultural Transformation (ACT). We have made many meaningful steps toward progress and have a strong road map for the challenges ahead to meet our full goals, and we’ll share more this spring and summer as we approach the one-year mark of our work on this effort.
Part of our commitment through the ACT includes supporting an infrastructure to lead forums and facilitate conversations for individuals to feel comfortable speaking openly about their experiences of racism and bias, deepen understanding, and identify possible solutions to create a more just work environment and contribute to those efforts in the communities where we live.
We will host a community town hall for Penn Medicine faculty and staff after the jury renders its verdict in the Chauvin trial to provide fellowship, support and guidance to each other as we process the range of complex emotions being experienced across the communities where we live and work. Details will be released once this timeframe is clear.
In the meantime, please know you have our full support. If you are struggling, please reach out for help through the resources above, your manager or human resources team. An important part of our commitment to justice is our intention to provide support in these difficult times, build institutional infrastructures to address structural racism in our workplace, and work together towards a brighter future.
J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Dean, Perelman School of Medicine
EVP, University of Pennsylvania for the Health System
Kevin B. Mahoney
CEO, University of Pennsylvania Health System
Eve J. Higginbotham, SM, MD, ML
Vice Dean for Penn Medicine Office of Inclusion and Diversity
SVP, Human Resources, University of Pennsylvania Health System