A Message to the School of Medicine Community

Dear colleagues, faculty, students and friends, 

First, I am absolutely heartsick that racism is still alive and well in the United States, manifesting itself yet again in the form of police brutality. This is absolutely unacceptable, and we must do everything in our power to eradicate this scourge on our collective humanity. In particular, my heart goes out to the minority students, faculty, residents and staff who face this scourge which is invisible to many of us on a daily basis. I am so very impressed by and proud of those who are managing to succeed in our challenging health care education and delivery environment despite this awful state of affairs. You will continue to be successful, I am sure.

It is my position as Dean, quite similar to that stated more eloquently by our University President, that racism has no place in our institution. It has no place in our educational processes, and it is not welcome in our provision of health care. We must absolutely nourish a culture of inclusion and diversity as such a culture is necessary for us to achieve greatness as an educational system and a health delivery network. We must treasure the diversity that we have achieved and proactively expand it. To my mind, this means removing barriers to inclusion in our admissions, promotions and care delivery activities, including those which are subtle and insidious. I believe that we have made progress in this area, but we can and will do better.

On a more personal level, my door will always be open to both provide and receive counsel on this important issue. I am very proud to be part of a diverse and inclusive medical school and University, and I will do my utmost to continue to make us better.


Joseph I. Shapiro, MD
Dean, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

On behalf of Shelvy Campbell-Monroe, PhD, Associate Dean of Diversity & Inclusion

I am deeply saddened, heartbroken, angry and distraught by the recent killing of George Floyd, and before him, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others whose deaths are less well publicized. The news has elicited some of the deepest forms of anguish, fear, sadness and rage in recent memory. Yet, we know these deaths are only recent examples of the stark racial injustices that have plagued our country’s history. Individuals and institutions cannot stand silent while such violence against our fellow citizens continues.

I echo the following excerpt from the Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert's statement regarding recent events across the country.

"The Marshall University Creed supports all people. Simply put, we are open and welcoming to everyone. In addition to our commitment to education and achievement, our university strives for a civil community where everyone is treated equal, a socially conscious community where wrongs are righted, and a judicious community remaining alert to threats posed by hatred, injustice and intolerance. We are not perfect, but we are committed to being ever more inclusive and supportive of those who are not in the majority.”

Please know that personally and professionally on behalf of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion that we will work through the ways we know best to push for a world that is equitable and kind; where people do not have to fear for their lives because of the color of their skin; and where everyone has the same opportunities to grow, thrive and enjoy their lives.

I feel the pain, and my heart goes out to everyone who is hurting over the recent incidents. We all must come together as a community and reach out to each other, in particular to those of us who may be experiencing despair, fear and frustration in the aftermath of all of these tragedies. We have to take care of ourselves and one another so that we can continue to care for others.

Date Posted: Monday, June 8, 2020