June 2020
Message from the Director
The tragic violence perpetrated against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery – and countless other black people – has led to deep emotions and outrage among hundreds of millions of people across the world. The way we process these events – and the injustices they represent – speaks to what it means to be a human being. Emotions evoked by these events are, by their very nature, personal and are shaped by our own lived experiences. For some, it is being the subject of racism, something those of us with privilege can never fully understand.    

For five decades, Sheps Center fellows and staff have engaged in health services research on the systems and structures that determine individual and population health. These efforts represent hundreds of millions of dollars in private and public funding. It is our responsibility to exercise and deploy these investments and our scientific expertise to engage in concrete action to dismantle structural racism in health and society. Equity is a core element of health services research, but we haven’t always made this element as visible – or, admittedly, as central to many of our individual projects -- as we should. 

Over the past week, members of the Sheps community recorded their views of how structural racism manifests in their own research. The video below is a compilation of how our collective efforts are informing structural racism in health. Of course, simply identifying the drivers, outcomes and solutions is insufficient; we need sustained and increased action to tackle this wicked problem. But understanding and addressing the various pathways by which structural racism affects health is one way that we can, and must, contribute to solutions every day. 

Thank you for what you have done, are doing now, and -- most importantly -- will do in the future to tackle this issue. I am proud to work in a place like the Sheps Center where health equity is so central to our research.  We have to do more. I have made a  commitment  to evaluating our progress in six months. I look forward to doing my part, and hope we can work together.

Mark Holmes