We, the Department of Bioethics, acknowledge that structural racism affects us all. We also acknowledge that its effects have been and remain vastly different depending on one's race, ethnicity, or culture. These effects have been painfully highlighted in the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and others at the hands of law enforcement and even Cleveland's own 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, as well as in the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Brown communities. It is unacceptable that Black, Indigenous, and communities of Color have suffered disproportionately in the criminal justice process, unemployment, education, and health. As bioethicists and medical humanities scholars, we are also aware that our fields have often neglected these differences, particularly as they relate to healthcare, biotechnology, and public health. It is essential that the values of social justice remain a core tenant of our work and a foundation of our academic life.
We believe that it is crucial to dedicate significant effort to integrate anti-racist lenses into our research, teaching, and service activities. While introspection is crucial to addressing systemic racism through our work, we must also create partnerships with those experiencing its effects and whose voices are often neglected or unheard. We recognize that this dedication is overdue yet believe that it is no less valuable for that. We do not presume to have answers to these deeply complex problems yet are committed to continuing meaningful dialogue and implementing change on a local, national, and global level.
This work is being led The Anti-Racism, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee at the CWRU Department of Bioethics. This working group is made up of faculty and staff dedicated to addressing structural racism within our community, university, department, and ourselves.
1. Support our neighbors, colleagues, and students who are Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Color.
2. Remain open, that is, we will take note, question, and abandon our unwarranted presuppositions about ourselves and others. If we are going to include voices historically silenced or marginalized, we must learn how to listen. This will require honest self-reflection, curiosity, humility, and respect for difference.
3. Incorporate the values of anti-racism, inclusion, and diversity in our bioethics research, education, and service. To incorporate these values is not to suggest that a separate stream of work will be generated, as if in parallel to the status quo ante. This incorporation indicates that bioethics is inextricably linked with these values.
We recognize that this is the beginning, and there is much work to be done. We look forward to working together.
The Department of Bioethics fully supports the Statement on Violence, COVID, and Structural Racism in American Society by the Association of Bioethics Program Directors (ABPD), which represents the leadership of over 70 academic bioethics programs across North America.
The Department of Bioethics and the ASIG committee members come to this work with a variety of professional and personal background experiences. This variety and wealth of lived experience contributes to both their individual personal and professional work in this area, and to our collective efforts and activities.
Examples of activities in the Department of Bioethics include:
- North Star Award Participation
- Incorporation of relevant topics into the MA Curriculum
- Health Equities Curriculum Development for Medical Education
- Work with the Provosts Scholars
- Work with local community organizations
- Individual faculty/staff participation in OIDEO programs, including Sustained Dialogue
- Collaboration with School of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Office on climate exercises and trainings
- Research on areas such as Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities
In addition, the ASIG committee has coordinated a series of discussions with faculty and staff to discuss implementation of the APBD statement. These discussions will result in an action plan to further incorporate antiracism, diversity, and inclusion into education, research, and service.
The #BlackBioethics Toolkit from Bioethics.net
The #DiverseBioethics list of Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented bioethicists
The practice of Land Acknowledgement stems from Indigenous tradition. This acknowledgement was written by Susan Dominguez for the CWRU Social Justice Institute.
In recognizing the land upon which we reside, we express our gratitude and appreciation to those who lived and worked here before us; those whose stewardship and resilient spirit makes our residence possible on this traditional homeland of the Lenape (Delaware), Shawnee, Wyandot Miami, Ottawa, Potawatomi, and other Great Lakes tribes (Chippewa, Kickapoo, Wea, Piankishaw, and Kaskaskia). We also acknowledge the thousands of Native Americans who now call Northeast Ohio home. Case Western Reserve University and the greater Cleveland area occupy land officially ceded by 1100 chiefs and warriors signing the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.