We stand together, committed to positive change

Dear UT Health San Antonio faculty, staff, students and residents:

On Tuesday, April 20, a guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin for a horrific crime was rendered. We witnessed our legal system fulfilling its role in society. The verdict, however, does not erase the emotional trauma and pain felt by many, especially persons of color who are often subjected to race-based violence and systemic injustices. The national events of the past four weeks point out the need for us to work through these emotions and recommit ourselves to enabling positive, transformative change.

For UT Health San Antonio to best serve our patients and our community, we must first come from a place of “us.” Addressing health disparities and inequities cannot be done just by communities of color or marginalized individuals – making improvements is everyone’s responsibility. We must also look inward because societal change begins with ourselves. Further introspection also requires taking part in “courageous conversations,” where individuals can share their experiences and learn from each other in safe spaces. Our health care disciplines and scientific practices impel us continually to strive to improve communication and process.

In the days and months ahead, we should hold ourselves accountable to be engaged, show compassion and make sure we are taking care of ourselves and each other. In doing this, we are dependent on our individual resolve and collective desire to be inclusive.

Opportunities for engagement:

  • Collective Healing Virtual Roundtables – Designed to provide our students, residents, fellows, faculty and staff a way to process their feelings and experiences in relation to recent events.
  • Listening Tours – Leaders meet with groups across campus to hear from university members about their experience at UT Health San Antonio and hear as to what it means to be an inclusive campus.
  • Diversity Dialogues – Peer facilitated discussions for students to explore cross-cultural experiences, building community, human differences and to learn from each other in small group settings.

Support and wellness:

Learning opportunities (*forthcoming):

We have formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, a 22-member committee representing all five schools, various campus units and governing bodies representing the voice of faculty, staff, students, post-docs and residents, led by a core advisory team consisting of Dr. Collins, Dr. Mok, Amy Tawney, and Andrea Marks. They have been working since December and will embark on a campus climate survey to gauge the pulse of the community.

In April 1963, in a letter from the Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

It is our mutuality and dependence upon each other combined with collegiality that creates the welcoming culture of respect at UT Health San Antonio. This culture, in turn, enables us to accomplish our mission to make lives better for each other and those we serve.

Chiquita A. Collins, PhD, MA
Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence and Health Equity

Jacqueline Mok, PhD
Vice President for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs

Amy S. Tawney, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Andrea Marks, MBA, CPA
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

William L. Henrich, MD, MACP
President and Professor of Medicine

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