Dear IAMSE Members,
I hope that you are all safe and well.
By any definition, 2020 has been a challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic upended the way that we teach, but more importantly, it has had an immediate effect on the way that we live our lives. The pandemic has isolated many of us and forced us to confront our resilience and well-being.
However, recent tragic events involving African Americans have shone an even harsher light on issues related to isolation, resilience, and well-being. The shocking and needless deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, among others, and the ensuing protests, have brought long-festering social injustice issues to the forefront. It is time for us to acknowledge that while we all remain concerned about our health during the pandemic, many of our colleagues, students, friends, and neighbors have daily fears for their personal safety, and indeed for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Although the conversation about racism has been precipitated by events in the United States, racism, hatred, and xenophobia are not confined to the North American continent. These are universal issues. Thus, we must use this painful but illuminating time as a turning point. Hatred and injustice are abhorrent and antithetical to our roles as educators and academic leaders and IAMSE rejects them in all of their forms. IAMSE members have the responsibility and privilege of training the next generation of health professionals. We must work with our colleagues and trainees to lay the foundation for a better and more just future that fights for equity and inclusion, recognizes our commonalities, and celebrates our differences. We must embrace diversity rather than be frightened by it, and we must be prepared to discuss, listen, learn, and act.
IAMSE is deeply committed to realizing the vision of social justice and equality for Black people and other racial, ethnic, and religious groups, across the globe. Although we have programs in place that are beginning to formally address these critical issues, we know that considerably more progress needs to be made. To this end, you have our pledge that IAMSE will continue to work toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive society in the future.
By committing to take action that will help mold a better world today, IAMSE can have a profound influence on combating racism and health disparities in the future. Let us all work toward this common goal. We have an important opportunity to better ourselves and our organization, thereby increasing the impact that we have on our institutions, our communities, and the world.
Neil Osheroff, Ph.D.
On behalf of the Board of Directors