July 19, 2016

"A Memorial Service for Recent Victims of Violence in America and the World" to be tomorrow at noon

July 19, 2016

To the Medical Center Community,

Balser

Balser

The events of the past few weeks taking place in cities across our nation have been emotionally traumatizing and raise questions and concerns about the differences our society faces regarding issues of race and sexual orientation, an epidemic of gun violence and senseless deaths. 

As a community resource firmly committed to improving the lives of all people, regardless of their race or sexual orientation, these issues touch us at our core. Not only are we committed to providing the very best care for all people, we continually strive to cultivate a welcoming environment and nurturing educational experience for Vanderbilt’s diverse groups of learners and researchers. 

Solving the complex societal problems that underlie the issues of race and sexual orientation will require the dedicated and coordinated efforts of many public and private institutions, and many wise and passionate people. We must be engaged in these efforts, in support of all people working and learning in the medical center, and we are responding in several ways.

Churchwell

Churchwell

The Medical Center community will set aside times and places for reflection, for sharing the feelings and emotions that are a result of these events. The first of those events will be a memorial service in 208 Light Hall tomorrow, Wednesday, July 20, from noon to 1 p.m.  Anyone working, learning or volunteering time in the Medical Center is welcome. The program will consist of brief reflections from faculty, students and staff.

In addition, in the coming weeks and months we will sponsor a series of events that will bring invited experts to speak on the issues of race in America, violence and other related topics. These events will be advertised broadly, and will be organized through the office of our recently appointed VUMC Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Churchwell.

Finally, the Medical Center is developing a strategic roadmap to guide its efforts.  A working group on Diversity and Inclusion is actively contributing to the process. To be successful in any of our aspirational goals, we must make a full commitment to these essential elements of excellence. We will seek input from everyone in the Medical Center community as we develop these plans.

Miller

Miller

From our perspective, there can be no clearer message: the Medical Center is committed to a vision of diversity, inclusion and equity. To effect that vision, we must recommit ourselves to assure that this place — our place — lives that vision, safeguarding an environment of warmth, acceptance and hope for all people.

In this time of reflection and mourning, we join with you in sending our thoughts and prayers out to the families who have lost loved ones.

Sincerely Yours,

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D.

President & CEO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

André L. Churchwell, M.D.

Chief Diversity Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Bonnie Miller, M.D.

Executive Vice President, Educational Affairs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences Education, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine