Conversations About Inclusion and Diversity

Reflecting on the Significance of Juneteenth in Present Day We Celebrate a New Federal Holiday: Year 2

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

On June 19, 2022, the nation will acknowledge for the second year, the day that enslaved Americans in the last original confederate state, first learned that President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  Hundreds of miles away from Washington DC, deep in the heart of Texas, individuals were finally freed from an existence few of us can ever imagine surviving for even one hour.  Imagine learning for the first time that this federal edict signed on January 1, 1863 and not hearing this news, for the first time, until June 19 1865.  Can you imagine learning for the first time, more than two years had passed before you were told that you are free? Although you appreciate the restoration of the…

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Honoring Pride Month at Penn Medicine

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

Imagine yourself enjoying time with friends in a small bar in New York and, without warning, joyous moments are unceremoniously interrupted by police.  The atmosphere instantly is transformed to what feels like a battlefield.  Several of your friends are taken to jail. The entire neighborhood is seemingly engaged in the conflict, and days of continued disruption follow.  The Stonewall Riots in 1969 launched a movement which resulted in continued activitism for civil rights within the LGBTQ+ community and increased social acceptance, creating pockets of a greater sense of belonging across the nation. Philadelphia and its residents have also been central to this movement with the first gay rights demonstrations in the US occurring right outside Independence Hall every July 4…

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Elevating a Spirit of Hope and Perseverance Fueled by Action for Cultural Transformation (ACT)

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML Vice Dean for Penn Medicine Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity,   Dwaine B. Duckett MS, Chief Human Resources Officer, UPHS

May 25, 2022, marked the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. This milestone reminds us to reflect on the past two years and review the impact of the movement for change that this event inspired.

  Our nation remains divided. Some will not yet acknowledge that over 400 years of structural barriers continue to support social inequities in our society. Long-held beliefs and assumptions fuel persistent hatred. We see this in everything from misinformation about potential for high performance in the workplace based solely on skin color to the loss of lives far too early.

  Incidents of hate crimes have gone up in the last three years. These attacks can be prompted by sexual orientation and religion…

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Penn LDI $1.5 Million Grant Expands Penn’s Undergrad Minority Health Research Pipeline

By Hoag Levins

A collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania’s Population Aging Research Center (PARC) and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) has received a $1.5 million grant for a new pipeline program to support underrepresented undergraduate students interested in academic careers in aging and health research.

The five-year grant from the National Institute of Aging will establish the Get Experience in Aging Research Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP), which will support undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds through a 15-month immersive experience in the disciplines, skills, and day-to-day life of Penn’s broad faculty community of aging-related health care researchers.

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Celebrating Black History Month: A Time for Reflection, Renewal, and Recommitment

By Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

As some of you, I spent this month reflecting on the contributions of so many of our African American historical figures and colleagues, who either have preceded us or who work within our ranks, to advance our collective efforts to achieve health equity.  Within the halls of Penn Medicine, we have celebrated the contributions of Helen Octavia Dickens MD (1909 – 2001), Penn’s first African American Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty member and a trailblazer in advancing health equity.  She is now appropriately memorialized on the first floor of Stemmler Hall in an exhibit that highlights several pivotal moments in her extraordinary career, as she was a stalwart advocate for preventive reproductive health for teens and women. Her legacy…

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An Invitation to Recommit to Change: Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML, Dwaine Duckett

On January 19, Penn Medicine will be hosting its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Equity Symposium celebrating the life and legacy of one of our most celebrated Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King.   As the first President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, rooted in Christian beliefs, and galvanized by the teachings and practice of Mathma Gandhi, Dr. King was one of most visible and impactful leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.  The lessons we can learn from his journey live on in his speeches and writing; it is his crusade for social justice that we celebrate on his actual birthday, January 15, the federal holiday, on January 17 and in our annual Martin Luther King Health Equity Symposium on…

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In Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

By Corrinne Fahl

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we would like to highlight two of our stellar Hispanic faculty in the Perelman School of Medicine. Hispanic Heritage month was passed by Congress on September 17, 1968. Public Law 90-48 calls upon the “people of the United States, especially the educational community, to observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

Currently, PSOM has 3.13% full time faculty who self-identify as Hispanic or Latinx, and the incoming 2020 medical school class was 10.9% Hispanic/Latinx.

Dr Diaz ArrastiaDr. Diaz-Arrastia is Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads the TBI Clinical Research Initiative.  His research interests are focused on understanding the molecular, cellular, and tissue level mechanisms of neuronal injury and neuroregeneration, with…

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Celebrating the Women of ACT: One Year Later

By Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML; Kya Hertz, CDP®; Corrie Fahl, MEd

Last year, the national conversation shifted in sharp focus to the structural inequities which have shaped our society for centuries.  We had already witnessed the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, however it was the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020which struck the heart and soul of the nation.  The country witnessed a summer of protests and conversations which were focused on the frustration and fatigue related to the continued evidence of structural racism, dating back 400 years.  The confluence of the inequities observed during the pandemic and the continued evidence of inequities in interactions between police and black and brown communities created a national reckoning regarding structural racism not only across the country,…

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Celebrating the Contributions of Women in Medicine and Science at Penn Medicine and Beyond

By Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

Every year, September marks a time when we celebrate the contributions of women to medicine and science.  On September 13, 2021 at noon, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhl, the Newman Family Professor and Deputy Chair in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University Michigan.  Dr. Jagsi is one of the most sought after speakers on the topic of gender equity in medicine, and her visit with us will further stimulate our exploration of strategies to further advance women in science and medicine at Penn.  If you have not yet registered for her virtual presentation "Promoting Equity for Women in Medicine:  Seizing A…

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A Day to Remember, A History We Should Never Forget

By Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

As we approach the Juneteenth Holiday, it is important to consider the what, the why, and the where this day should take us on a journey of deep reflection.  In many ways, weaved into this day of remembrance and celebration, there is a dual tribute - acknowledging what this day represents and the hope it should inspire within each of us for the future. 

What Is Today?

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger proclaimed the following order to the people of Texas:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of…

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