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Black Lives Matter

College of Medicine faculty, professional staff and students are working together to create content for this page.

The College of Medicine strives to ensure that our community is one where all people are free of inequity, prejudice and hatred. We are committed to helping bring an end to the racism and violence that disproportionately impact the Black community.

We are listening to our community, learning from the input of individuals and groups, and working to implement changes that will help us better live up to our anti-racist values. As empathetic physicians, researchers and teachers, we must prepare the next generation of scientists to understand inequities in health and science, and help put an end to them.

Current students can access further information on our anti-racist work on Webcampus.

Taking Action and Making Change

Take a look at the details of some of the work we are doing to ensure the College of Medicine maintains an equitable and inclusive environment, and prepares all members of our community to help end the violence, health inequities, and racism that disproportionately harm Black Americans.

June and July 2020: Becoming Stronger Advocates and Better Partners on Anti-Racism

Stronger Advocates and Better Partners on Anti-Racism

We are developing a report card that will lay out the baseline data on such key indicators as admissions and financial aid, and faculty and professional staff recruitment, retention and promotion.

We are developing a campus-wide climate survey on the current state of the University and experiences with racism. This will be updated regularly, so we are transparent about progress and areas of continuing concern as we work to dismantle racism at Drexel.

Shardé Johnson has been appointed interim director of the Center for Black Culture. The first floor of the Rush Building on 34th Street will be the home for the Center; renovation efforts on this space are now underway.

We've begun an independent review of the Drexel University Police Department. Our goal in taking on this independent review is to address any potential problematic behaviors and practices, and ultimately strengthen the Drexel Police Department.

The University will no longer provide donations or sponsorships to the Philadelphia Police Foundation.

Read more.

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August 2020: MD Program Orientation Week Addresses Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

For the MD Program Class of 2024, Orientation Week in early August included not only the typical introductions to medical school, but also activities that emphasized the anti-racist values of the College of Medicine.

Large-group activities included a diversity panel moderated by Leon McCrea, MD, MPH, senior associate dean for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. McCrea, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Family, Community & Preventive Medicine and the director of the Family Medicine Residency program with Tower Health, ran a discussion about identity, diversity, equity and inclusion in academic and professional settings. Eleven panelists from the College of Medicine faculty and student body shared their experiences and perspectives with the MD Program Class of 2024.

The Class of 2024 had large- and small-group discussions of their own following a screening of the documentary “13th,” about mass incarceration and racism. Students also discussed microaggressions after a presentation by Rita Guevara, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics and assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Students also learned from McCrea and other speakers about:

  • The closure of Hahnemann University Hospital, which had been a resource for underserved communities in Philadelphia;
  • COVID-19's disproportionate effect on communities of color;
  • This summer’s social unrest and the College of Medicine’s plans to create an environment that better reflects our anti-racist values.

Students also had an opportunity to learn, reflect and discuss through a virtual presentation by a Mural Arts tour guide, who led a remote walking tour of some of Philadelphia’s murals – and the neighborhoods they call home.

This Orientation Week activity was organized by Annette Gadegbeku, MD, an associate professor in the Department of Family, Community & Preventive Medicine, and assistant dean of community health within the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. According to Gadegbeku, engaging with Mural Arts artwork would help students see and celebrate the diversity of Philadelphia, where each neighborhood has its own close-knit residents and unique culture.

Gadegbeku wanted to give the future physicians in the Class of 2024 a broader perspective, greater cultural awareness and cultural humility when it comes to the places Philadelphians call home – from Fishtown, to the Italian Market, and beyond.

Although students participated in the tour virtually, the murals added a visual element to help students better understand the Philadelphia community and the smaller communities it contains. Students also answered self-reflection questions following the tour, helping them relate the art to their own perceptions and understanding of the city they now call home.

“The murals tell the stories of different neighborhoods and the people who live there,” Gadegbeku said. “You have to know who you’re serving and who your patients are outside of your office to better serve them and understand their needs.”

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September 2020: Launching Anti-racism Workshop Series for Affiliates

Last week, Drexel University College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion launched an anti-racism workshop series for residency program leaders at College of Medicine affiliate hospitals. The workshops lay the groundwork for participants to work individually and collaboratively to create medical education environments that are free of racism, where diverse groups of physicians can thrive.

In the series’ inaugural workshop, senior associate dean for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Leon McCrea II, led physicians from the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in a conversation on the meanings of diversity, equity and inclusion. Participants then discussed what each of these principles looks like in action in their specific workplace.

The workshop also addressed anti-Black racism specifically. Participants had the opportunity to discuss, as colleagues, the current events that have highlighted horrific, ongoing violence against Black Americans and sparked a national reckoning with systemic racism. McCrea encouraged physicians to draw on their experiences in the workshop when they lead workplace conversations about anti-racism.

“This workshop is just starting to chip away at the ice,” McCrea said.

In their next workshop with McCrea, Crozer-Keystone physicians will continue learning how to lead workplace conversations about anti-racism and about diversity, equity and inclusion. Future meetings will prepare the physicians to educate others about microaggressions, and to collaborate with other staff members and with residents to facilitate a healthy environment.

In the coming months, each College of Medicine affiliated site will begin participating in the workshop series to help create a multitude of environments where everyone feels supported, valued and empowered to learn and grow.

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What Does 'Black Lives Matter' Mean to You?

As our faculty, staff and students work together for structural change and an end to racial injustice, we've asked some members of the College of Medicine's community to share what the Black Lives Matter movement means to them.

Florence Gelo, associate professor, Department of Family, Community & Preventive Medicine

"As a white person, Black Lives Matter is a loud knock at my door to remind me that even though I have the privilege to be unaware of the day-to-day realities of the lives of Black people, I should not be." Read more.
- Florence Gelo, DMIN, NCPSYA

Vanessa Pirrone, PhD

"To me, Black Lives Matter is an imperative to fight racial injustice and inequity by listening and making radical behavior changes." Read more.
- Vanessa Pirrone, PhD

Faduma Hassan, MS

"BLM was created to work towards building a country and a world that is safe for all Black people. In America, it means that all institutions (such as Drexel) who proclaim Black Lives Matter need to look inward and see the ways in which they contribute to systems of Anti-Blackness." Read more.
- Faduma Hassan, MS

Read More: What Black Lives Matter Means to Me

Learning More

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the health disparities and barriers to care that members of minority groups, especially Black Americans and Hispanic people, face as a result of systemic inequities. (See number of cases, hospitalization rates, deaths.)

Below, we will share a list of sources on this subject, created by our faculty members. We hope you will take the time to engage with and reflect on these resources.

Articles From Voices In Medicine, Academia and Culture

From President Barack Obama, June 1, 2020:

The New England Journal of Medicine:

Books/Readings

Coronavirus-specific Resources

Documentaries/Shows/Movies

  • "13TH" - In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of Black Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
  • "American Son" - Time passes and tension mounts in a Florida police station as an estranged interracial couple awaits news of their missing teenage son.
  • "Asian-Americans" - PBS series that explores the impact of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing population in the United States, on the country's past, present and future, told through individual lives and personal histories.
  • "Baltimore Rising" - Protesting and rioting ensue after Freddie Gray dies in police custody. Police officers, activists and the residents of Baltimore struggle to keep the city together.
  • "Giving Birth in America" - CNN and Every Mother Counts present the surprising journeys of women giving birth in America. The films seek to raise the profile and issues of maternal health in the United States (Specifically videos on Louisiana and New York).
  • "Just Mercy" - based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, a resource for those interested in learning more about the systemic racism in our society.
  • "Selma" - The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.
  • "The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson" - explores the little-investigated death of Marsha P. Johnson and celebrates her legacy as a transgender activist, drag performer and pioneer of the LGBTQ rights movement in the 1960s.
  • "United Shades of America" with W. Kamau Bell - follows comedian and political provocateur W. Kamau Bell as he explores communities across America to understand the unique challenges they face.
    Season 3, Episode 5 "HBCUs"
    Season 4, Episode 2 "Not All White People"
    Season 4, Episode 7 "#livingwhileblack"
    Season 4, Episode 8 "Toxic America"
  • "When They See Us" - Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they're falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story of the Exonerated Five.

Parent/Child Resources

For Parents of Teens:

Videos:

Websites:

Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children (from Google doc on ‘Anti-Racism Resources for White People'):

People To Consider Following on Social Media

  • Ava DuVernay - director, creator of www.arraynow.com
  • Ibram X. Kendi - author, professor, director of Antiracism Center
  • Ijeoma Oluo - author
  • Jamil K. Smith - journalist
  • Jose Antonio Vargas - journalist, author, producer, filmmaker
  • Karamo Brown - TV host, author
  • Karen Attiah - journalist
  • Soledad O'Brien - journalist
  • Van Jones - journalist
  • W. Kamau Bell - sociopolitical comedian, author, host of "United Shades of America" on CNN
  • Yamiche Alcindor - journalist, White House correspondent

Podcasts

"Code Switch" from NPR: Great show overall, some specific episodes highlighted here.

Episodes:

Websites

On implicit bias:

  • Implicit Association Tests (from Harvard University) – you can take tests on various topics to assess for possible biases
  • University of Washington has a great, free online module (35min long, get a certificate at the end) titled "Implicit Bias in the Clinical Setting and Learning Environment"

On microaggressions:

Webinars

 
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