“We Stand in Solidarity Against Racism. And We are Commited to Equity in Health Care”
With a mission to serve and provide medical care to populations of New Yorkers who have historically been disenfranchised and underserved, our System is a collection of some of the finest medical and academic institutions in the world that date as far back as 1820. Since its inception, the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) has constantly strived to fulfill its unique role in serving the many communities of color across our city and state. From its base of 42,000 employees, staff, students, and faculty in hospitals, ambulatory sites, and research facilities, MSHS aims to provide the finest medical care without bias or prejudice to all our patients and seeks to overcome and resolve inherent institutional and societal racial inequities and failures, among others.
Throughout its history, Mount Sinai has been rooted in its firm commitment to racial equality, as well as equal opportunity. In recent years, MSHS has taken further steps in improving equity, diversity, and inclusion, setting a new standard of excellence for the industry. However, despite these vital steps forward, this work is not complete and we recognize that there is much more we can and must do.
This past year brought a renewed focus and an increased sense of urgency to recognize and address racial inequality, in particular, in our society and institutions. The events of the past year have shaken the consciousness of our country. Unfortunately, these kinds of events and their causes are not new and reflect a larger truth: discrimination has deep underpinnings in structural and systemic racism. These root causes must now be faced head on. In May 2020, staff across MSHS united in solidarity against racism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. It was a pivotal moment for our Mount Sinai community, a time of shared pain and anguish, but also of promise and hope as we came together to recommit ourselves against racism and the many injustices it spawns. While we remain committed to addressing inequities of all types, in this moment of opportunity the Task Force was intentionally charged with focusing its lens on racism toward Black people as a starting point. However, and importantly, the recommendations will be implemented with regard to all underrepresented minorities and will be in service of ending racism and inequity in all its forms.
Throughout the summer and into the fall and winter, the Black Lives Matter movement helped accelerate and intensify scrutiny of the roots of racism throughout the social, political, and economic fabric of the country. Mount Sinai was among several academic health systems across the country to look inward with renewed purpose, and reflect. While many of our existing programs and activities, such as the Institute for Health Equity Research, predated the current wave of attention to these issues, leadership recognized that much more needed to be done. One of these new initiatives was the creation of the Mount Sinai Health System Task Force to Address Racism.
The Task Force was convened in June 2020 by Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and chaired by Gary Butts, MD, Executive Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Its charge was to develop a Road Map to include a series of recommendations that could lead to a transformational and enduring response to
Over the past six months, 51 members of our Mount Sinai community volunteered, dedicating their time and passion to a process of social change called Collective Impact. The carefully constructed method helped create a path forward with the goal of establishing specific recommendations to help make MSHS an anti-racist health care and learning institution. The resulting Road Map contains recommendations for six principles and 11 key strategies and supporting initiatives to create authentic and sustainable change at MSHS. The Road Map also recommends a structured framework to implement and monitor the initiatives, as well as a system of shared measurement to track their progress.
Collectively, these strategic recommendations reach across the entire organization and touch all levels and disciplines. It is the Task Force’s hope and expectation that the Road Map will assist MSHS in effectively addressing manifestations of racism to create greater diversity, inclusion, and equity, and in helping to reaffirm and advance Mount Sinai’s mission as an anti-racist institution.