We are a nation, a city, at a crossroads.
Driven by the unjust killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black individuals, Americans are confronting the painful truth that discrimination and systemic racism are present in our daily lives. Across the globe and within our own West Philadelphia neighborhoods, people are taking to the streets with a clear message: Black Lives Matter.
At the Penn Memory Center, we dedicate time, money and personnel to combatting racism and racial disparity in health care, education, and participation in research. Through trial and error and listening to community voices, we sought new approaches. We created two research coordinator positions focused on outreach to the West Philadelphia community and Black adults across the region. We created an initiative, the Minority Scholars in Aging Research Program, dedicated to diversifying the medical field by training underrepresented minorities to be the next generation of doctors and researchers. We’re adapting our research to include measurements of not simply the biological but also the social and economic determinants brain health and of health.
But we know we must do more. And so we are taking action.
We are listening, both to the public and to our trusted community partners. We are prepared to make the changes necessary to support those in our community, and we hope to always change, grow, and learn from our past and from others.
It is through this that institutions can work towards creating a space that welcomes and protects those in our society who are too often ignored and mistreated. By evaluating our programs, communication strategies, education, and clinical care, we want to take the steps not just to avoid racism but to actively combat it.
At Penn Medicine, a similar commitment was made this week by health system leadership:
“This is a time to reaffirm our individual and collective commitments to justice, inclusion and equity both in health care and in the broader society. We stand together in this crucial work, and send our most heartfelt support and thoughts to those who are hurting today.”
We are at a crossroads, and while the precise contours of our future may be unclear, our commitment to caring for our community remains unwavering.
Jason Karlawish, Co-Director
David Wolk, Co-Director
Felicia Greenfield, Executive Director
The PMC Outreach Team
Terrence Casey, Communications Manager
Sharnita Midgett, Outreach Coordinator
Sidnei McCrea, Outreach Coordinator
Carlos Thomas, Outreach Intern
The Penn Memory Center Faculty and Staff