Dean's Message and LCME update, July 2020
As we face an uptick in COVID caseslocally with concerns about K-12 reopening and getting ready for a very different opening of the university next month, we continue to be busy with our programs for students and residents here at the College of Medicine. A few updates:
- On Tuesday 30 June, we hosted the LCME Secretariat via teleconference from both the Washington and Chicago offices to review our Action Plan prepared in response to the October meeting of the LCME and their final determination. Our team did a great job describing our progress on each of the findings and we appreciated the questions and recommendations from the Secretariat for us to move to full compliance. We will likely have a Limited Site Visit this winter to fully address our progress and fully expect a positive report.
- We held our second “socially distanced” Retirement Parade this week, this time for Sharon Woodall, our Associate Dean for Finance and Administration, as we celebrated her 35 years of service to FSU and 12 with the College of Medicine. As one of my first hires here when I arrived, I have greatly appreciated Sharon’s expertise and wisdom and wish her and her husband Donnie great joy and relaxation in retirement.
- We discussed our annual Fall Clerkship Directors meeting in Orlando this week with our regional deans and have communicated with the hotel we were going to use. It looks like the hotel may not be fully open during that timeframe and many of our clerkship directors may not be able to travel due to restrictions from their employers. Based on that, we will move to a virtual meeting again this year and plan both small and large group meetings accordingly.
- The College of Medicine has begun its new leadership role in the COVID-19 testing program here on campus. This week, they tested over 120 football players and coaches and it went very smoothly. They will continue to do drive through and site-specific testing. I appreciate Drs. Zedaker and Van Durme for their hard work on getting this set up and all the staff at the COM who have already stepped up to support them. Volunteers are welcome!! There is very little risk to workers as we are having folks “self-swab” their noses to collect samples. PPE is readily available for volunteers. Please join us.
- Our PA and M3 students have started back (finally) on their clinical rotations and we are hopeful that the recent surge in cases does not interfere with their completing each required rotation.
Today (July 9), I attended a forum at the Bethel Family Community Center hosted by Rev. Dr. R.B. Holmes entitled “Race! Racism! Reconciliation!.” He hosted several panels including Law Enforcement, Banking, Health Disparities, and Voting. Dr. Van Durme was the moderator for the health panel and there were representatives from Bond, CHP, TMH, CRMC and our COM. It was a great opportunity to hear about the gaps and needs for the minority population and see how these groups could respond. Rev. Holmes’ clear agenda was to move from dialogues to action. He is working hard to bring the community together and believes that riots and throwing stones have no place in Tallahassee as long as we are talking to one another.
I hope you saw on the FSU Announcement page the story of Eliza Grier, an African American enslaved woman who become a doctor: https://news.wfsu.org/wfsu-local-news/2020-07-08/fsu-filmmaker-documents-drama-of-nineteenth-century-women-doctors-of-color. This story has its origins in nearby Thomasville, Georgia and is being shown nationwide all this month on PBS. It focuses on a heroic woman who was determined to make medical care available to those who might otherwise never see a doctor. The filmmaker was inspired by a story while visiting a small Black Museum in Thomasville.
We have so much history in this area that speaks directly to the black experience and the adverse consequences of slavery and racism. I would recommend that you visit Birmingham, Alabama, an active slave market in our terrible past. Bryan Stevenson, the author of Just Mercy (with a movie adaptation) and the Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, was a speaker at last year’s AAMC meeting. After hearing him, I bought and read his book and Diane and I visited the Slavery Museum, built at that prior slave market, and the Slavery Memorial in Birmingham that Thanksgiving. We also visited the Rosa Parks museum and I highly recommend these two amazing places for a weekend trip. You will be deeply moved.
I came across an email this week that I thought I would share. Dr. Plashan McCune is one of the senior advisors to the GlobalMindED Board and is a national and international expert on Trauma Informed Teaching and Coaching. She states:
If we are really serious about this time in history being different we need to address the root causes of how we got here. So many of us just want the quick fix. Let me say right now that there is no quick fix. There are things that can change faster than others but if we don't do the real heart and soul work the change will only be surface and won't last.
So, what can we do?
1. Everyone- take this time to gain knowledge and stay focused. As some things go back to normal, there is a danger of us getting distracted by entertainment and other things that will keep Black People oppressed, depressed, unemployed, underemployed, imprisoned and on the bottom. Let's stay focused!!
2. Students- Learn about historical/racial/institutional trauma and epigenetics and how it has impacted you and your learning and your success. Join groups that are making change, not just talking about it. Then educate your family, community and school leaders.
3. Parents/Community- Learn about historical/racial/institutional trauma and epigenetics and how it has impacted you, your children and family. Then hold your leaders accountable for learning and implementing real Trauma-Informed/Sensitive Practices Systemically. Our children can learn and be successful with the right skills, practices, mindsets and hearts to get the work done.
4. Allies- Learn about historical/racial/institutional trauma and epigenetics and how you can be a part of healing the sin of racism. Hold all systems, schools/districts accountable for implementing practices that heal our country but especially our Black Children.
This time is not about doing something but doing those things that matter to this generation and the next. Real change holds systems/people accountable for changing not just being busy.
All of her recommendations have to do with educating ourselves and others to confront the realities of racism. We continue to look at how best we can address the inequities and historical trauma here at the COM. You probably have seen President Thrasher’s announcement (https://diversity.fsu.edu/) on initiatives to be taken at FSU – we will work with them to include the College of Medicine in many of them. Our CODI team is addressing initiatives for students and curriculum to improve our education and our culture.
Have a great weekend. Be safe, be aware, take care of others, and stay well!
J. Fogarty, MD