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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 3 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

Dean of the School of Public Health


Edwina S. Uehara, PhD, MSW

Professor and Ballmer Endowed Dean in Social Work

University of Washington School of Social Work


Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, FAAN

Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Executive Dean

UW School of Nursing


Gary T. Chiodo, DMD, FAACD

Professor and Dean

University of Washington School of Dentistry


Sean D. Sullivan, BScPharm, PhD

Professor and Dean

University of Washington

School of Pharmacy

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