June 5, 2020
Dearest University of Maryland community,
Our University Health Center Team is grieving the murder of George Floyd, the latest in a long list of Black Lives taken too soon. We acknowledge this is a time to act and that this action may take on different forms. We stand in solidarity with the University of Maryland students, campus partners, and our community, and proclaim that Black Lives Matter. As a department and as individuals, we are constantly in the process of learning and growing.
During times like these we find it important to revisit and reflect on the Health Center’s foundation of wellness. Wellness is all around us and we acknowledge how we think, experience, and interact with wellness is affected by our culture and our life experiences. As we grieve, stand in solidarity, and work to become actively anti-racist at the Health Center, we are turning to social wellness. This encourages us to focus on connecting with our community and the people around us, while actively improving our community, connecting with others, and creating safe and inclusive spaces. We have work to do and are actively looking at how we can create a more equitable space, both within the University Health Center and campus as a whole, for students of color.
The Health Center acknowledges the long history of structural racism within the US healthcare system and its impact on the health outcomes of POC and as a result, recognizes the need for change. This week, our Health Center team has been participating in the #UMDSolidarity activities and is committed to continuing to reflect, learn, and grow. The Health Center's Diversity Committee along with the support of the staff, is continuing to address these issues internally. In addition, Health Center staff have been actively sharing educational resources, engaging in department-wide conversations, and participating in Divisional conversations around White Fragility and Me and White Supremacy. These steps may be small but are a necessary start to changing the structure of health care to be inclusive of all.
We recognize that there is so much more work we need to do to achieve full health equity for our black student community. At the Health Center, we believe that wellness work is justice work. We understand our role in educating ourselves and doing this necessary work on your behalf, and do not wish to put the burden on black students, staff, or faculty to point out the flaws in our current system. That said, the value of your voices - your stories - is very much respected by our team.
If you wish to share feedback with the Health Center about how we can continue to improve your healthcare and wellbeing experiences on campus, please reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise that your stories will be read fully and shared with our Diversity and Executive Committees to critically reflect upon as we take steps towards a more equitable Health Center experience for all.
Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup and must be properly taking care of yourself so you can take care of and advocate for others. We encourage you to practice self-care that feels authentic for what you need in this moment - if you need some ideas, our Health Center Instagram (@umdhealthcenter) has several self-care strategies saved under our “Thriving Thursdays” highlight.
We see you.
We honor you.
We commit to working towards racial equity with and for you.
The University Health Center