Pandemics, Plural

Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, SCD, Dean, Emory School of Medicine; Chief Academic Officer, Emory Healthcare

COVID-19 is not the only pandemic we faced this year. Just as health disparities and inequities have resulted in disproportionate death rates among African Americans and other minorities from the virus, so too has systemic racism cost far too many lives. Black Lives Matter and White Coats for Black Lives protests that took place here, as well as in many other parts of the country, called attention to this additional threat to communities of color. We must commit to fighting prejudice and violence with the same energy we have focused on the global pandemic.

I invite you to read this issue’s cover story, “The Two Traumas,” about an Emory medical alumni couple in Minneapolis who are doing good work at the intersection of health and social justice.

Many of our alumni, faculty, students, and trainees are on the front lines of such battles. As our incoming first-year MD students began orientation in July—and were fitted for their N95 respirators—other medical students were already back at work in our hospitals and clinics. Plans for teaching and training were carefully made through consultation with experts in the Emory Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Disease, our hospital epidemiologists, and leaders across our medical school and university. Our patients and communities need the next generation of physicians.

As soon as the pandemic hit, many of our medical faculty quickly pivoted to COVID-19 research. Due to these efforts, the faculty have garnered more than $91 million in COVID-19-directed NIH funding in FY2020, the third highest of any academic medical center in the US.

Our clinical teams have worked tirelessly, caring for COVID-19 patients and ramping back up other medical services. And many of our faculty have embraced roles as public scholars and media sources. Never have I been more proud of our medical community. Blessings on them, and on us all.

Share This Story