Dear Society of Biological Psychiatry Members:
I am writing to you today to acknowledge the pain that we all share as a result of the unconscionable murder of George Floyd, and the resulting demonstrations that have erupted nationwide. Certainly, the murder of George Floyd is part of a larger history of violence and oppression that has been endured by people of color in our country. These events are profoundly distressing, and this most recent tragedy has served as a motivating flashpoint for the urgent need for change.
The past several months of the COVID-19 pandemic have required us all to cope with an unsettling degree of uncertainty, and the recent violence and unrest have increased the intensity of our daily lives. Together, as we process and react to these events, both as individuals and as behavioral health providers and scientists, a most pressing question is,
what can we do?
We are a strong caring community of clinicians and scientists who seek to maximize our positive impact in the lives of all through increasing our focus on diversity and inclusion in the SOBP. We still have much progress to make, but the ongoing work of our Diversity Committee and recommendations being formulated by our Strategic Task Force will help us improve.
What we can all do NOW is strive to model for our larger society, especially those with whom we interact—patients, families, students and trainees, vendors and community leaders—that we are a society of individuals who seek to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly.
David A. Lewis, MD
Society of Biological Psychiatry President