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Our Commitment to an Anti-Racist Culture at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine

In order to combat racism, it is crucial that we identify it in its many forms and take actions against it. As an anti-racism organization, we are committed to identifying, discussing and challenging issues of race, ethnicity, and color and the impact they have on our organization and its people. We will also challenge ourselves to address any inequities we discover and gain a better understanding of ourselves during this process.

Racism Is not just a societal problem; it has a serious impact on health and wellness. Today’s health disparities find their roots in hundreds of years of oppression of minorities. Ongoing racism is a barrier to achieving a just society. It is our responsibility to take tangible steps to address the shameful fact that many of our neighbors do not have equal access to needed health care services. We are horrified by and stand against the recent and historical killing of Black people, anti-Semitism, and racism in every form. As health care professionals and healers, we join with millions who are prepared to work together to accelerate our efforts to eliminate racism and bias, and to find real and lasting solutions.

Since our opening as a School of Medicine (SOM) in 2016, the goal of eliminating racism and the associated health and social inequities have been central to our vision and mission. Since early 2020 and especially since the killing of George Floyd, we have strengthened our efforts to expand an anti-racism curriculum. To that end, we have

  • Added the AAMC Anti-Racist collection on our Diversity and Equity microsite to further educate our community.
  • Presented topics including, but not limited to, implicit bias and microaggressions to hundreds of SOM faculty, staff, students, and residents across the health network and will continue to do so.
  • Established a cultural humility working group led by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education and including students and the Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity to re-evaluate the curriculum in light of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals.
  • Worked with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Hackensack Meridian Health around shared goals of listening to team members, diversifying boards, and identifying search firms with a track record of recruiting members of minority groups to leadership positions.
  • Significantly developed the Human Dimension program at the SOM. this course explores implicit bias, microaggressions, cultural humility, structural racism and other pertinent concepts in the context of medicine and society.
  • Partnered with the Office of Research Services to ensure that COVID-19 vaccine trials in our health network reach out to community leaders to increase awareness and minority recruitment. We are providing education and context on the need to accept safe, properly vetted vaccines.
  • Partnered with stressed communities and the organizations located within them. SOM faculty, staff and students are addressing specific and global issues impacting them such as illness, racism, poverty, and violence. We collaborate with community partners to address these issues at an individual, family, community, state and federal level.

The vision statement of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine speaks to an aspiration that each person in New Jersey, and in the United States, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, will enjoy the highest levels of wellness in an economically and behaviorally sustainable fashion.

We know that the answers to these profound issues are not simple. We acknowledge that racism can be both intentional and unintentional, even unconscious, and that identifying racist actions or statements does not in itself mean that those involved are purposefully racist. However, we strive to foster the recognition that our society must move beyond rhetoric to systemic change. From the School of Medicine’s leadership to students, staff and faculty, we commit to work together to stamp out racism and health care inequities in our health care community and the society at large.

Approved by the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine Board of Governors on December 15, 2020