May 30, 2020

Dear UW Health Sciences Community,

Our country is once again experiencing the tragic realities of the racism present in our society. 

The slaying of Ahmaud Arbery while jogging in Brunswick, GA; the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville; the false and racist accusation of violence against Christian Cooper in New York City; and most recently, the tragic killing of George Floyd as he was restrained by a police officer in Minneapolis.  

These are only the most recent manifestations of the racist ideologies we all need to confront and eliminate.  

All this is happening in the context of the coronavirus pandemic that is disproportionately impacting the health and economic well-being of Black families and communities in our state and country.

These events are terrifying and exhausting for our Black colleagues, who are more likely to have experienced the loss of someone in their family and community, and to feel the very real heightened threat of racism.  

This isn’t something that only happens in other parts of our country.  Our Black colleagues and students here at UW experience racist behaviors in their daily lives here in Seattle that are heartbreaking and wearing.

In times like these, we want to affirm all of the feelings you are experiencing. They are real and valid. It is important that all of us, and in particular our White leaders and members of our community, express and show support for our Black colleagues by standing against these continued injustices. 

Each of us needs to consider how best to do this within the context of our own roles and circumstances, but we all need to engage in action to create the healthy, equitable and inclusive community we desire.  And we must urgently address law enforcement violence and inequities in our criminal justice system as public health issues.

We hope you will join us for a virtual community meeting on Wednesday June 3rd to further discuss what it means to be part of an institution that lifts up anti-racism as a core value and how the UW Health Sciences community can come together to best support Black students, staff, and faculty through these difficult times. 

Please look for an announcement in a special email to be sent early next week.

In solidarity,

Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and 
Dean of the School of Medicine
University of Washington


Hilary Godwin
School of Public Health
University of Washington


Edwina S. Uehara, PhD, MSW
Professor and Ballmer Endowed Dean in Social Work
School of Social Work
University of Washington


Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, FAAN
Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Executive Dean
School of Nursing
University of Washington

Gary T. Chiodo, DMD, FAACD
Professor and Dean
School of Dentistry 
University of Washington

Sean D. Sullivan, BScPharm, PhD
Professor and Dean
School of Pharmacy​
University of Washington

Related Articles

"Once again, it is time for us to stand together for justice"—UW School of Social Work leadership team
Lifting the veil: understanding the clarity this moment offers—UW President Ana Mari Cauce
Antiracism work is all of our work—UW Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity Rickey Hall; 
UW Assistant Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion James McShay, UW Tacoma;  Acting Dean of Diversity & Equity Wayne Au, UW Bothell
Health care workers march to protest racism as a public health risk—UW News video