Our Response to the Events of 8/11 and 8/12/17

What does the “Unite the Right” rally that happened in 2017 say about Charlottesville?

While it’s true that Charlottesville shares a history of racism with many cities in the United States, the “Unite the Right” rally was organized by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in response to a decision by the Charlottesville City Council to move away from this legacy of racism by removing two statues of Confederate generals.

We in the UVA Department of Family Medicine embrace diversity – we know that diversity makes us stronger and better as humans and as physicians. We have long cared for vulnerable populations within our community, including the elderly, refugees and immigrants, transgender patients, and our homeless population. Our health equity curriculum examines issues of systemic racism within society and medicine that result in health disparities and how to better advocate for our patients and communities. We also embrace diversity in our resident and faculty recruitment processes and continue to strive towards diminishing implicit bias in all that we do.

Our goal as a program and as a department is to be actively antiracist. Part of our health equity curriculum is a monthly educational session dedicated toward antiracism. The resident subcommittee of the Diversity of Inclusion Committee (DIC) started and facilitates an Antiracism Book Club that provides opportunities to collectively review and discuss media that exposes racism in medicine and in ways that affects our community. The Housestaff Council on Diversity and Inclusion through the Office of Graduate Medical Education works to promote diversity among housestaff (resident physicians), to advocate for support of residents who identify as underrepresented minorities in medicine, and to connect with the Charlottesville Community to advance diversity in medicine. The UVA School of Medicine appointed its first Senior Associate Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, Dr. Tracy Downs who has connected the departments of the school of medicine through Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) strategists. Our associate program director serves as our department’s JEDI strategist and as a member of the Family Medicine DIC, works to promote antiracism education, policies, and activities within all levels of the department. Please see the Diversity and Inclusion section of our website for more about tangible ways we strive to be antiracist.


John Gazewood, MD, MSPH

Residency Program Director, Department of Family Medicine

Li Li, MD, PhD

Chair, Department of Family Medicine