Our nation is in pain. As protests and cries for social justice reverberate across our country, I believe we in Health Sciences have a unique opportunity – indeed, an obligation – to respond to the suffering that has surfaced since the death of George Floyd while in police custody. As providers of care, trainees, students and support staff, our profession is focused on healing. It is our calling to serve the needs of the whole person, especially the vulnerable and underserved.
With that in mind, we must continue in our quest to change and grow as compassionate, effective caregivers. More than ever, we need to embrace a process of unflinching introspection and active listening. That means intentionally seeking out diverse perspectives among our colleagues, and working to connect and empathize with patients whose suffering goes well beyond any medical condition.
Above all, we must take the time to understand the many factors that impact and influence the health and well-being of our patients and their communities, no matter how far removed those elements may be from a temperature reading, an MRI scan or our personal experience.
In the coming days, several of our colleges will share opportunities to participate in offerings such as discussion forums designed to thoroughly engage with the complex societal issues inherent in the recent protests across our country. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of these offerings as an important part of your training and practice, personal development and well-being. These events offer growth opportunities for all of us, both as caregivers and human beings.
For those who may desire counseling or other personal means of support, I encourage you to seek assistance from the Health Sciences Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s programs for student support services, mental health wellness and employee resources.
It is at times like these, when the need for healing is at its most profound, that it is possible for us to fully realize our potential as health care professionals. I look forward to working with you to achieve a more compassionate, equitable system of excellence in health care, and a better world.
Take care of yourself, and take care of one another.
Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President
University of Arizona Health Sciences