To the Yale School of Medicine Community:
As our community comes together to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to acknowledge our clinicians who are selflessly caring for patients, our researchers who have stepped up their discovery around the virus’s pathology and ways to treat it, our staff who are tirelessly working to support our missions, and our students, who are finding creative ways to support patient care while continuing to learn.
In naming this virus, the World Health Organization purposely chose COVID-19 to signify the need to join forces to fight this threat. Such names as “China Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” or “Asian Virus” are not only inaccurate and unhelpful, but can actually be harmful by feeding into biases that inhibit patient care, undermine preventative measures, and cause undue risk to mental health. This language serves to create negative stereotypes at a time when our focus should be on coming together.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Office of Academic and Professional Development at YSM, as well as the Office of Institutional Equity and Access at the university, stand ready to support anyone who is feeling isolated or is a victim of xenophobia. I acknowledge that some members of our community who are Asian or of Asian descent are worried about being discriminated against. If you witness or are a victim of such behaviors, please reach out.
Now more than ever, we must rely on our values of diversity, inclusion, respect, and collaboration. Our diverse perspectives, skills, and abilities are precisely what will allow us to effectively handle this crisis. By acting together, we will be able to marshal our collective resources to overcome this global threat.
Darin Latimore, MD
Deputy Dean of Diversity and Inclusion