A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) hosted the first discussion in the President’s Cultural Proficiency Speaker Series Open Forums on Thursday, presenting a place for dialogue on Mr. George Floyd’s tragic murder, needed reforms, and concerns from ATSU community members.
The discussion was hosted by Clinton Normore, MBA, associate vice president for diversity & inclusion, and Gary Cloud, PhD, MBA, vice president of university strategic partnerships and diversity. They reflected on the recent tragic murders, needed reforms, the role of healthcare providers and ATSU in moving cultural proficiency forward, and then opened up conversation to students, faculty, and staff.
“I think the question today is, for me, what am I going to do about it? It’s really a question for each of us,” Dr. Cloud said. “We are a privileged group. Employees and students in the health professions, in the richest country in the world, we are a privileged group, and the question I have to ask myself is, ‘With privilege comes responsibility, so what is my responsibility?’”
ATSU proudly opened the office of diversity & inclusion in 2013 to increase support to students who learn and serve in diverse, underserved, urban, and rural communities across America.
“The way in which we conduct ourselves as allies is important. Silence in these spaces is not golden. When I was in law enforcement, it was, ‘See something, say something.’ And that is true now,” Normore said. “If we hear something, we should say something. If you hear a comment being made that disenfranchises a population, speak against that comment, so that we create an environment that is demonstrating the unwelcomeness of how we treat people when we treat them inhumanely.”
In an email message announcing the forum, ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, ’84, noted the importance of working together to create change.
“ATSU will continue to use its influence and resources to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. There is no place in our University or society for racism, discrimination, or harassment of any kind. We have had enough. We must now work together toward meaningful solutions. This forum begins this process,” Dr. Phelps said.
Dr. Cloud echoed that sentiment.
“Universities have a choice. Are they going to follow society or lead society,” asked Dr. Cloud. “We want to be careful that we are not following society, but that we are setting the tone for what society ought to be.”