from the President
May 27, 2020
When the news broke in early 2019 about the racist photo published in the 1984 student yearbook, I shared the outrage, alarm and sadness voiced by our community and the nation. This photo did not represent the EVMS I know. The picture is shockingly abhorrent and absolutely antithetical to the principles, morals and values we hold and espouse. Racism and discrimination in any form is not acceptable.
While we cannot change the events of the past, we have used them as a catalyst to advance our work toward diversity, equity and inclusion. In spring 2019, I launched an initiative that resulted in more than 100 students, residents, faculty and staff members coming together to create the new four-year strategic plan, “Advancing Health Equity and Inclusion for Community and Academic Impact.” With a budget of $7.3 million, the results achieved through this plan will advance health equity, diversity and inclusion in a manner that impacts not only the EVMS campus, but our interactions with the community we serve.
Also, I tapped community leader Gilbert Bland to form a Community Advisory Board for Diversity and Inclusion (CABDI) to examine the culture at EVMS. This independent, eight-member board released its report to us on May 15, 2020; its findings and recommendations are available here.
Shortly after the news broke about the photo, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education offered EVMS a different kind of national recognition. The organization presented EVMS with its Institutional Excellence Award for demonstrating measurable progress in promoting and sustaining innovative diversity efforts within our campus community. Then last fall, we welcomed to campus the most diverse incoming class in EVMS history.
It has been said that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. With the actions we have taken, the progress we have made and the transparency with which we have addressed this issue, I hope it is clear that we have, indeed, learned from this — and are stronger as a result.
To that end, we remain steadfast in reassuring our community that EVMS is committed to supporting and creating a culture of diversity, inclusion and social equality. We continue to affirm the tenets of our professions and our mission to recruit, educate and train a culturally competent healthcare workforce that reflects the demography of our nation and the patients who trust us with their care.
In my eight years at EVMS, I have witnessed the efforts of our outstanding faculty, students, residents and staff to advance our missions. Today I am confident that working together, we shall continue to forge a better future.
Richard V. Homan, MD
President and Provost
Dean, School of Medicine