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A Statement on the Loss of George Floyd and a Call for Reform 

June 3, 2020 

To the BBH Community, 

As the Department Head of Biobehavioral Health and Chair of its committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we call out the persistent racism perpetrated against Black Americans, particularly in the wake of George Floyd's death. Police-related violence disproportionately affects Black Americans, and we join our collective voices with those calling for reforms that protect Black people against police-related violence and other structural fissures in our society. The tragic death of George Floyd, and the ensuing civil unrest, bring to the forefront the continuing and disturbing problems associated with a legacy of racism, discrimination and disparities. Racism is a public health crisis. It has contributed to loss of life associated racial violence and health inequities and to an erosion of trust in law enforcement and leadership. So for our Department, this is a time of deep sorrow for the needless wanton loss of life. But this is also a time for change. The question must be begged, how much more? The data are unequivocal and well-documented; discrimination and associated structural violence exact a tremendous cost on health and life. In research and in education, the Department of Biobehavioral Health brings forward this message – discrimination and health disparities are unethical, as is ignoring them. We call that this message not fall on deaf ears but instead leads to sustained and meaningful actions that create communities free of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious intolerance so that all can lead healthy lives. We also affirm our Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Sincerely, 

Thomas J. Gould, Ph.D. 
Department Head of Biobehavioral Health 

Shedra Amy Snipes, Ph.D. 
Chair, Biobehavioral Health Department’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion