Conversations About Inclusion and Diversity

And the Verdict is In

By Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

We find ourselves in a crucible moment, for the family of George Floyd, for the families that have lost loved ones, for our nation, and for the world. Where will this lead us, as a community as a society?  From the time of the first video that exposed the circumstances of Mr. Floyd’s death to the verdict we all witnessed on April 20, 2021, laid bare the inequities that occur at the hands of those who hold providence over us.  There are members of the police force who are fully committed to protect and serve our communities, however there are individuals who wear the uniform and carry deep rooted biases to work every day and translate those biases into deadly…

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Anti-Asian Racism in America

By Michelle Guo, Tong Wang, Yuchen Chen

We at the Perelman School of Medicine are deeply saddened by the rise of anti-Asian violence over the past year. Our previous statement is published on our homepage.

We honor and mourn the eight victims who have lost their lives in the most recent Atlanta shooting, six of whom are Asian-American. We’ve listed their names here.

  • Hyun Jung Grant, 51
  • Xiaojie Tan, 49
  • Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33
  • Paul Andre Michels, 54
  • Yong Ae Yue, 63
  • Suncha Kim, 69
  • Soon Chung Park, 74
  • Daoyou Feng, 44

In an attempt to examine how these tragedies have affected some of our medical students, we solicited volunteers who were willing to share how their race and ethnicity have affected different aspects of their…

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In Celebration of the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

Last night, I read a book of quotations attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seeking both comfort during this period of volatility in our country and inspiration to continue to press on in our shared quest of a more perfect union.  I believe most of us will agree, the violence that we witnessed at the Capitol last week, is not reflective of the country that the Founders envisioned. 

Dr. King devoted his life to nonviolent protests, which is not what we witnessed on January 6, 2021.  The insurrection that shook many of us at our core was more than unsettling, it fundamentally rocked the stability of our democracy.  This week holds great promise, as a new administration enters the…

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Penn pledges $100 million to the School District of Philadelphia

By Corrinne Fahl

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, School Board President Joyce Wilkerson, and Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia William R. Hite Jr., today announced that Penn will contribute $100 million to the School District of Philadelphia, representing an unprecedented commitment to the City and its public schoolchildren. This is the largest private contribution to the School District in its history.

Read the full story here

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In Honor of Veteran's Day

By Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the reactivation of the University of Pennsylvania’s 20th General Hospital, deployed in summer 1940 as part of the World War II China–Burma campaign. The hospital's commissioning, preparations, and staff training took place in Philadelphia over a 2-year period. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the hospital was organized and ready for its mission to serve troops in the Burma–China Theater. The 20th General Hospital entered active service on May 15, 1942, with a large and enthusiastic send-off from a supportive crowd at 30th Street Station.

The 20th General Hospital deployment has an enduring legacy because of the leadership of renowned Penn faculty, including Dr. Isidor S. Ravdin, and the contributions of the…

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LDI: Looking Ahead To The New Era of Biden Health Care Policy

By Hoag Levins

As four top policy experts convened in an LDI virtual seminar on November 6 to discuss health care reform in a new administration, Joe Biden was leading the race to capture the White House; but Democrats did not appear to gain majority control of the Senate — an event with major implications for health care. With an eye on the confines of this potential reality, panelists discussed the kinds of things that could be done by a new President without Congressional legislation.

The panel included four LDI Senior Fellows who are leading authorities in the fields of health policy, health law, health economics and health politics: moderator David Grande, MD, MPA, LDI Director of Policy, Allison Hoffman, JD, Professor in the Penn…

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How Can We Go Forward as a Community and as a Society?

By Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

Yesterday at 4PM, a young man lost his life in West Philadelphia.  According to reports, he had a history of mental illness and was brandishing a knife, as he walked towards police.  As I view the video which documented this occurrence, I see a young man, younger than my nephew, who is indeed, walking towards police.  He was not running towards the officers but was simply walking.  Why is it that the initial response to such a circumstance is to release a flurry of bullets?  Why is it that the deadliest display of force is the first response?  Why isn’t it the last strategy? Why not use a Taser first rather than consider this method as an afterthought?  It…

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In Memory of Ruth Bader Ginsberg 1933-2020

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

It is hard to believe, just within nine weeks following the death of Congressman John Lewis, we have lost another social justice icon.  In the midst of continued daily assaults on the fragile fabric of our democratic ideals and aspirations, it is almost too much to bear.

Just one week ago, the world was shocked by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG).  Although short in stature, she cast a long shadow, effectively shaping the legal framework affirming gender equality in our nation.  Her six cases that she argued before the Supreme Court in the early 70s were strategically selected, sometimes choosing men as plaintiffs:

  • Reed v. Reed 404 U.S. 71: The Fourteenth Amendment was extended to…
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In Honor of Congressman John Lewis (1940-2020)

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

Eve Higginbotham and John Lewis in graduation regalia

As we continue to mourn the death of Congressman John Lewis, it is important to recognize the lessons he taught us during his lifetime.  Three quotes come to mind which we should consider as we launch a series of virtual town hall meetings related to our initiative, ACT: Action for Cultural Transformation.

The first quote is the following: “We will stand up for what is right, for what is fair and what is just. Health care is a right and not a privilege.”  As we search for improvements to the care of our patients, this quote should be our moral compass.  As clinicians, we should seek to strip away those “race” based correction factors that contribute to additional structural…

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Celebrating Juneteenth – Continuing Our Movement

By Florencia Greer Polite, MD 

Today Friday, June 19, marks Juneteenth - a commemoration of the “freedom” of all people living in the United States.

The history of slavery in the United States is a complicated one and very much impacts the current predicament we find ourselves in.  Interestingly, Juneteenth relates back to Abraham Lincoln and the conversation that I had with my daughter Lena about the abolition of slavery. 

In the history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million Africans survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America.  While less than 400,000 of those slaves arrived in America, by…

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