In anticipation of the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) holiday on Monday, January 16, we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tireless efforts and courageous actions, which had a profound impact on creating a more just world. From a young age, it was obvious Dr. King was destined to be a bold thinker and visionary leader.
In 1947, while a student at Morehouse College, Martin Luther King Jr. published an essay in the student newspaper about the purpose of education. He wrote, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” Decades later, we couldn’t agree more with the then 18-year-old Dr. King.
At the UVA School of Medicine, across our four mission areas – education, research, patient care, and community – we strive to foster an environment where the strength of our character is as strong as our intellect; and where a culture of inclusivity resonates whether we are learning, teaching, providing care or supporting our community. A few recent examples that represent our school’s passion and commitment to diversity and inclusion include: the Housestaff Council Diversity and Inclusion’s 5th Annual Trainee Diversity and Inclusion Conference; the UVA Medical Alumni Association’s honorable mention award for excellence in DEI ; and UVA’s Student National Medical Association annual toy drive for kids in the Westhaven Community.
Dr. King proved to us that it takes only one voice or a collection of voices to spark change. We believe in the importance of having critical conversations with faculty, staff, and students to cultivate a community that embraces, values, and celebrates diversity. We work to create an engaging, equitable environment where our entire school community can prosper. That is our dream.
In the coming weeks, UVA Health and the University will be commemorating the MLK holiday with a series of events, both virtual and in person. We hope you enjoy your day off and are able to participate in one of the celebratory events to join your community in remembrance of all that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished in his fight for civil rights.
UVA Health Special MLK Holiday Events:
Monday, January 16
Celebrating the Dream…Continuing the Journey: Transforming Health and Inspiring Hope! Keynote guest speaker: Rev. Gerald Hudson, an internationally acclaimed scholar and leader whose work supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of life. Registration required.
12pm – 1pm
Join in this inaugural program and diversity dialogue with Dr. Tracy M. Downs featuring keynote guest speaker Rev. Gerald Hudson and hosted by Melody M. Pannell. Registration required.
Wednesday, January 25, 12pm
Medical Center Hour: Environmental Health Equity, a moderated discussion with Dr. Ebony Hilton Buchholz and Dr. Irène Mathieu.
Thursday, January 26, 6pm
2023 MLK Community Celebration Keynote: Celebrating the Dream, Continuing the Journey, with special guest Dr. Yaba Blay. Co-presented by the UVA Health Office of Diversity and Community. More details and free tickets here.
As we chart our own course in history, we look forward to working alongside all of you, our dedicated and passionate faculty, staff, and students, to proudly and resolutely continue the legacy and teachings of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Melina R. Kibbe, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
Tracy M. Downs, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, UVA School of Medicine
Chief Diversity and Community Engagement Officer, UVA Health
For more thoughts about diversity, equity and inclusion from Dean Melina Kibbe and Dr. Tracy Downs, watch this recent video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoPV7e1NHHA.