While I usually use this space to talk about leadership and increasing capacity in health care, now is not the time for that. Now is the time to talk about the despair and pain that is in the forefront of my heart and mind; despair and pain that I know from my conversations with colleagues, friends, and family, is shared by many. This despair and pain come from again bearing witness to inequities that result in more deaths in communities of color. Despair and pain that has seared and soared in the past weeks with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery - each of them victims of deep and structural racism in our country.
I feel such deep sadness at our long and slow history in addressing hatred, racism, and injustice. Though I hold onto hope of a better future in which dignity, respect, and equality are essential - not optional - for every one of us, I know that this future won't happen by simply wishing things to be different.
I am personally focusing on how to use my leadership position to be an ally by deeply listening, learning, and supporting voices that are often unheard. And, as a parent and friend, to more fully embody anti-racism practices.
I am also taking another critical look at our work at Healthforce to ensure that it most effectively incorporates the values of equality. For more than 15 years equity and inclusion have been woven into our leadership and training programs - pushing us and the health leaders we work with to move deeper into difficult and necessary conversations. These recent events underscore the need to look harder and even deeper at issues that are challenging and uncomfortable. We are fortunate to be surrounded and supported by many colleagues and leadership program alumni with wisdom and a willingness to help us improve. Now is the time to listen and to take meaningful action to address structural racism and create the equitable future we need.
I hope you find the resources assembled by Dr. Renee Navarro, vice chancellor of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF, helpful support.
- Unconscious Bias Education and Training
- Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism Work
- We are Living in a Racist Pandemic
- Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They're Okay - Chances Are They're Not
- Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma
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Sunita Mutha, MD, FACP, is the director of Healthforce Center at UCSF. For over a decade, she has been engaged in transformational leadership in health care with a special focus on emerging leaders and inter-professional training.