Dear UCSD Health Leadership,
We write to you as the Black medical students at UC San Diego. We are tired. Tired of seeing our people killed by the police, tired of navigating white fragility on the wards and in our classrooms, and mostly, we are tired of asking our institutions to be better for us and for society. While the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and the documented murders of Black people at the hands of the police have served to legitimize the impact of systemic racism to several of our allies, we are deeply disturbed at the number of lives it took for a statement denouncing racism to be released, for our voices to be heard, and for our experiences to be validated.
Soon, the news cycle will change. The health inequities further exacerbated by COVID-19 will not be front page news. The Black lives taken at the hands of systemic racism will not be in our faces until the next life is taken and captured on camera. But the reality remains that these injustices occur everyday and impact our students, faculty, and patients even when it is not being highlighted by the media.
UC San Diego Health, especially the School of Medicine, must commit to being proactive and not reactionary against racism and health inequities. Statements of solidarity are empty promises if they are not supported by anti-racist policies and if our institution refuses to acknowledge our role in perpetuating anti-Black racism. We acknowledge and thank you for the progress you’ve made in the past few years, but we have the capacity to do more and to be true leaders and advocates against anti-Black racism.
We demand that UC San Diego Health make a commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution and support this commitment with adequate funding and policy change. We implore you to act diligently and fastidiously to accomplish these goals. Our lives depend on it.
Your Black medical students
School of Medicine Anti-Racist Demands
- Allocate a portion of the $100 million donation for the T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion to support anti-racist education and initiatives listed below.
- Provide compensated time for all deans, department chairs, residency program directors, course and clerkship directors, committee chairs, small group facilitators, and MMI interviewers to participate in bi-annual mandatory anti-racist training created by an external and reputable expert.* This training must also be a condition of all new hires.
- Protect 4 days during the M1-M4 year for medical students to participate in anti-racist training.*
- Adequately fund the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives at the School of Medicine
- Fully fund the Health Equity Thread at 1.0 FTE and mandate 2 hours of instruction per month for M1-M4 students and 2 exam questions per ISC block for M1-M2 students dedicated to Health Equity and anti-racist curriculum
- Create Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion with adequate funding for EDI initiatives
- Increase FTE allocation for Assistant Dean of DCP to 1.0 FTE
- Increase FTE allocation for Director of PRIME to 1.0 FTE
- Create a Director of Health Equity and Community Partnerships funded at 1.0 FTE, analogous to the Director of Undergraduate Medical Education, to support Black student initiatives (pipeline programs, strengthening relationship with undergraduate campus)
- Create a Director of Anti-Racism position funded at 1.0 FTE who interfaces with state-wide and national organizations, community leaders, and politicians
- Make it a condition of hire that the 4 Excellence in Diversity faculty hires dedicate 20% of their time to health equity and anti-racist work in the School of Medicine
- Create a formative assessment that is developed with an external and reputable expert* for the Office of Student Affairs that (1) assesses their support of URiM students and EDI initiatives (2) holds OSA accountable for performance improvement in an expeditious manner.
- We strongly encourage reviewing the previous 2013 model, where the Dean of Admissions and Dean of Student Affairs were separate roles.
- Create full ride scholarships and stipends dedicated to incoming students committed to improving the health of Black communities
- Create an anti-racist taskforce (led by the Director of Anti-Racism) with student and resident representation that is responsible for (but not limited to):
- Review UC San Diego’s relationship with and divest from San Diego Police Department
- Working with Laura Adler to secure external funding for EDI initiatives
- Working with hospital leadership to remove the use of race in HPI
- Remove race-based GFR calculations as UCSF, University of Washington, and Harvard have already done.
- Review and create actionable solutions to end race based medical practices
- Develop the medical diagnosis of Chronic Exposure to Racism that is implemented and used across UC San Diego Health
- Incorporate racism into anticipatory guidance during all pediatric visits
- Create a rigorous reporting mechanism that receives reports regarding racism or bias and follows up on them in a timely fashion