Central PA Medicine Summer2020 - 26

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Dear Penn State College of Medicine Classmates,
The Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), Asian Pacific
American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), and the Sexual and Gender Minority Association (SGMA)
have come together in solidarity to invite our medical, physician assistant, and graduate school community to
reflect on the deeply rooted systemic issue of racial injustice in America. We urge you to listen to our collective
voice.
Police brutality and systemic racism against Black individuals are not new. This has been highlighted by the
recent racially motivated killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Sadly, these are not
isolated incidences. Black individuals are 2.5 times more likely than White individuals to be killed by the police,
despite only comprising 13 percent of the United States population. This disparity highlights the power that
institutional racism exerts on the daily lives of our Black community members and emphasizes the need for
profound change.
If recurring incidents of racial profiling, systemic biases, and police brutality were insufficient to ignite change in
our nation, the COVID-19 pandemic has further magnified the undeniable health disparities that Black individuals
face every day. Amidst the pandemic, Black communities experience 3-fold higher rates of infection and 6-fold
higher rates of death compared to White communities, largely due to structural racism. We must scrutinize the
reality that Black individuals have historically been oppressed by a lack of educational opportunities, healthcare
access, and financial support. It is about time that we, as future health care professionals, embrace our role in
recognizing and dismantling these acts of injustice.
If we want to see this change, we all have to do our parts. We should not solely rely on people of color to educate
and provide us with resources to learn about topics on diversity and biases. The leaders of diverse student
groups implore us and our peers to take initiative in the following ways:
*

Educate yourself and engage in uncomfortable conversations:
o Discussions and opportunities to talk about race and implicit biases are essential to our training
as future physicians. Please start viewing our discussions about race as opportunities to engage
in important, "high yield" conversations.
o Prioritize learning from the experiences of people who are different from you. At the beginning of
school, we took an oath to help everyone, not just people who look like ourselves or reside in our
own neighborhoods.
o Understand that even if you have not personally experienced them, racial injustices deeply affect
our entire society, our peers, and the lives of our future patients, no matter where you choose to
practice.
o The people of color in your lives have been speaking to you through their actions all this time.
Take some time to ask yourself, "Have I been paying attention to them? What can I do to start, or
continue, paying attention to them?"
o We recognize that some students, who do not identify as a minority, may have been unsure if
they could attend or participate in events sponsored by the diverse student groups. We would like
to take this opportunity to state that we want you to join us! Each group strives to welcome our
allies and the topics we cover are for the enrichment of all students. These clubs were not created
for minority students to work alone in promoting diversity at the PSCOM. If you want to help, we
have a spot for you!

26 Summer 2020 Central PA Medicine


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Central PA Medicine Summer2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSummer2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMFall18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSpring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Summer17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Spring17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Feb2017
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com