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UTHSC College of Medicine to Host Community Dialogue On Structural Racism in the Health Care System

The UTHSC College of Medicine dialogue includes leaders from the university, as well as faith and community leaders. Top row, left: Altha Stewart, MD, will moderate. Panelists include: Top row, second from left, Police Director Michael Rallings, Rabbi Micah Greenstein, Dr. Claudette Shephard. Bottom row, from left: College of Medicine Executive Dean Scott Strome, MD; David Schwartz, MD; Rev. Charlie Caswell; and College of Pharmacy Dean Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD.

The College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will host a free, virtual community dialogue Wednesday, June 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT, titled, “Why Aren’t We All Mad? A Dialogue on Structural Racism in the Health Care System.”

The roundtable discussion via Zoom will include leaders from the College of Medicine and the College of Pharmacy, as well as community and faith leaders, and will offer an opportunity for the public to submit questions for the panelists. A link to access the dialogue and to submit questions in advance is available at the event website.

Altha Stewart, MD, senior associate dean for Community Health Engagement in the College of Medicine, an associate professor of psychiatry, and director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at UTHSC, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include Scott Strome, MD, executive dean of the College of Medicine; David Schwartz, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and director of the Center for Health Equity in the Department of Radiation Oncology in the College of Medicine; Claudette Shephard, MD, an associate professor and incoming interim chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the College of Medicine; Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST, dean of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy; Rev. Charlie Caswell, executive director, Legacy of Legends, CDC; Rabbi Micah Greenstein from Temple Israel; and Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings. The UTHSC College of Medicine and the Office of Equity and Diversity are supporting the discussion.

As the state’s academic medical institution, the UTHSC College of Medicine, is uniquely positioned to host this important dialogue, the first in a series, to better understand the role of the college to make necessary changes to improve a system of structural racism that has created inequities in health care.

The goal of this discussion, which focuses primarily on the College of Medicine but is open to the public, is to:

  • Provide awareness that structural racism has effects on universities and colleges, including the UTHSC College of Medicine.
  • Openly discuss and reassure students, faculty, and staff that the college will commit to making changes to combat structural racism in all areas of its mission (education, clinical care, public service, and research) as they impact the health and well-being of our community.
  • Engage in an open dialogue with the audience about potential blind spots, examples of structural racism affecting the institution, and ways to build a more equitable health care system at UTHSC and in the College of Medicine by working together.

The discussion will be recorded and will available at the event website following the conclusion of the dialogue.