Faculty, Staff, and Students,
We are facing serious issues right now in our country and our state, with racial inequalities and disparities being at the forefront, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still a serious concern. These issues are weighing heavily on all of us. At UTHSC, our mission is to acknowledge, identify, and combat social injustice, as well as threats to the health of our communities. I truly believe these issues are curable, however they require empathy, intervention, and management. We must do better.
As an academic health science center, we are focused on better understanding the racial disparities and inequities in health care – Why do more African Americans get and suffer from COVID-19 than other groups in the U.S.? Why do poor and underrepresented individuals get diabetes more than other groups in the state? How can we better understand the social determinants of health that are playing a large role in the limited accessibility of health care for specific races in specific zip codes?
The University is actively working toward a remedy. That means working to create equal health care access for all Tennesseans – in both rural and urban locations. It means making good nutrition and preventive care readily available to all. It means creating a work force of highly-skilled Tennesseans who not only represent and reflect the entire state, but who are continually working to better understand the cultures and to accommodate the challenges of all patients through cultural humility. Only then will we begin to make the progress necessary to improve health care for all.
UTHSC is committed to providing an environment where racism, oppression, and social injustice will not be tolerated. We continue to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We are dedicated to improving the health of those in our state and our country.
Steve J. Schwab, MD