Photographs taken on June 12 at the campus Kneel for Justice Event organized by White Coats for Black Lives are posted in the Division Photo Gallery on this page. ID Division members joined many others on the Anschutz Medical Campus in solidarity in this call for racial justice and health equity.
The event recognized that the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others have prompted considerable anguish and demands for effective change, here in our medical school and worldwide. Dean Reilly wrote: “The event also called for us to commit ourselves to work for changes in health care, law enforcement, education, elections, and other systems that deny equal treatment for black people in our communities. We will never reach our potential as a society when people are oppressed due to the color of their skin. Black Lives Matter.” See also this story about our colleagues in Nursing.
We also acknowledge the numerous division members who have voiced their concern and proposed thoughtful ideas for effective change. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many in the division have contributed strong clinical care, scholarship, and advocacy on behalf of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and the dispossessed. As noted in some of the prior news items here, this work includes substantial ongoing efforts for detained immigrants ‘yearning to breathe free,’ and for other incarcerated persons. This work encompasses not only our patients here in our hospitals in Denver and Aurora, but also others across the state of Colorado and the nation. It is already reflected in several publications in the Recent Publications link on this page.
All spring, as they have worked hard and taken personal risks at the front line of the pandemic here, our division members have been witnesses to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on black lives. Our medical students too have been active in gathering local data on health disparities during COVID-19. The voices of concern and the service and considerable innovation of our clinicians and scientists during this crisis is solidly in the tradition of the division, which has previously done exemplary work and made many research advances for people living with HIV and other disadvantaged populations. Our faculty and staff are continuing to do so with distinction now.
Eric Poeschla, MD
Head, Division of Infectious Diseases