'A Time for Action': College of Medicine Part of Unified Event for Social Justice

The University of Kentucky’s six health colleges and UK HealthCare hosted a unified event on Friday afternoon to recognize racism as a public health crisis and show commitment to social justice.

Faculty, staff, and learners met in the Jacobs Science Building courtyard to stand safely in solidarity as they listened, learned, and later knelt together for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to honor the memory of Black lives lost to racist violence.

Stephanie White, MD, MS, associate dean for diversity and inclusion at the College of Medicine, emceed the event. She started by addressing the key role those in academia play in making effective change.

“As faculty and staff at the University of Kentucky, our first priority is our students. This is why we work here,” Dr. White said. “It is our duty not only to educate and mentor, but also to elevate students’ voices. We advocate for the marginalized and strive to cultivate not only an inclusive campus community, but a more just and equitable society.

“Our plan today is intentional,” she continued. “It is time for action. But it is also a time to recognize the basic truth that racism is a public health crisis and that Black lives matter.”

Rodolfo Lewy, MD, a third-year child neurology resident at the College of Medicine, spoke about allyship and how allies must help find new ways to change the status quo. Dr. Lewy and his fellow learners have demonstrated this, for example, by filming a public service announcement about racial disparity in pediatric health care, as well as launching organizations and committees that promote equality and hold our community accountable to complete these goals.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto also spoke during the event. He stressed to the audience that as they listen, show support, and take action, they must also push for change.

The UK community showed its passion and commitment to that change. At every level of the institution, the University will be dedicated to working against racial injustice.

Those who attended Friday’s event left knowing there is plenty of work to be done, and that it’s time for action.

“We continue, not in words, but in actions, and I invite you to action,” Dr. Lewy said during his speech. “We are making a version of the world that has never existed, a world where unity is the only way forward. Be a part of it. We are all allies.”