Miller School dean to lead panel on racial justice

Henri R. Ford, dean of the Miller School of Medicine.
By News@TheU

Henri R. Ford, dean of the Miller School of Medicine.

Miller School dean to lead panel on racial justice

By News@TheU
Henri R. Ford will chair a Miller School of Medicine event on July 22 that will feature experts on inclusion, civil rights, and diversity who will discuss ways to promote racial equality at the University and in South Florida.

As an African American physician, Henri R. Ford, dean of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is acutely aware of the discrimination that minorities face in the health care system and in their daily lives. These are disparities that existed before, but have become even more apparent recently with the novel coronavirus disproportionately affecting Blacks and a series of Black deaths during interactions with white police officers.

The racial injustice hit a crescendo in late May when Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd was killed during an arrest when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.  A video of the incident was shared through social media and went viral, prompting worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.

Just a few days later, Ford sent a message to the Miller School voicing his concerns: “As a medical school that is training and inspiring the caregivers and medical leaders of tomorrow, and a health system that is working to care for our entire community, we have a fundamental responsibility to create a more just and inclusive environment for everyone.”

Soon after, the Miller School formed its own Task Force to Champion Racial Justice, and on Wednesday July 22, the group is hosting a virtual panel discussion about how to encourage policies of racial justice at the University and in the South Florida community. The conversation will be moderated by Judge Ellen Sue Venzer, the University’s Judge-in-Residence. The panelists include Hilarie Bass, chair of the University of Miami’s Board of Trustees and founder of the Bass Institute for Diversity and Inclusion; H.T. Smith, a renowned Miami civil rights attorney, member of the Board of Trustees, and University of Miami School of Law alumnus; and Donald Spivey, distinguished professor in the College of Arts and Sciences who was recently named the University’s first special adviser to the president on racial justice.

The Task Force to Champion Racial Justice was created by Ford as a result of a virtual town hall hosted by the Miller School on June 4, where students and faculty members shared their concerns about any systemic racism. The Task Force is now made up of seven subcommittees working to refine the school’s policies on admissions, student affairs, residents/fellows, curriculum, faculty, research, and community engagement to make them more inclusive for all minorities.

“We will never reach our fullest potential until we create an environment where Black and brown students, residents, fellows, and faculty feel welcomed and a sense of belonging every time they step on the Medical Campus,” Ford wrote.

To register for Wednesday’s panel at 5:00 p.m., click here.