A Message From Dean Wilmott
School of Medicine Graduates,
These months have been trying, for our faculty, staff, students, trainees, and graduates. We have faced a pandemic of infectious disease, and we altered the course of our daily activities to respond quickly and appropriately. While we still have much work to do, we have navigated this crisis. Additionally, we are currently facing financial challenges to our SLUCare practice because of the pandemic. We have made the tough decisions to furlough employees and to make salary and benefits adjustments to others while our volumes return to pre-pandemic levels. We are experiencing some recovery, and I applaud the hard work and dedication our team has put forth.
We are also experiencing a community crisis. We see the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and the social injustices toward the African American population and stand with our community to shine a spotlight on those wrongs that exist in our country. In consonance with the AAMC, we recognize, “the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the racial health inequities harming our black communities, exposing the structures, systems, and policies that create social and economic conditions that lead to health disparities, poor health outcomes, and lower life expectancy.”
The events that surround the shocking death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and countless other persons of color, impact our St. Louis and SLU community deeply. We recognize and acknowledge the anguish and pain that these recent incidents are causing for our faculty, students, staff, trainees, and alumni across the School of Medicine family. As a School of Medicine community, we always need to be helpers and healers to humankind, no matter the turmoil. Now is the time to share not only our pain and grief but also our strength and resolve. What we are witnessing is unfathomable, but we can provide support to those who are hurting. We stand in solidarity with our SLU and St. Louis community and acknowledge the need for open and honest communication and the call for action. The AAMC recognizes that “the people of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals bear the responsibility to ameliorate factors that negatively affect the health of our patients and communities: poverty, education, access to transportation, healthy food, and health care,” and so do we.
Our traditions and practices have been turned upside down, but we have adjusted and made sure our SLU community not only knows but feels just how important the issues we face are. I am exceptionally proud of our faculty, staff, and students for understanding the decisions that were made and responding professionally and positively.
I invite you to watch the online Match Day Ceremony and the Saint Louis University School of Medicine Class of 2020 graduation. Celebrating our students and their successes has been a beacon of hope during this trying time.
I also wish you, your family, and your community health, happiness, and strength as we all reflect on the issues we have been through and the issues we have yet to face. I know our Saint Louis University School of Medicine graduates, all around the world, are accomplishing extraordinary things and making a united difference for the future.
Robert Wilmott, M.D.
Dean, School of Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs