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An important message to AHS faculty and staff

Dear AHS faculty and staff,

Last week, George Floyd, a black man, was brutally killed by a white police officer. This came on the heels of the brutal killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Joel Acevedo and many other underrepresented people who have lost their lives because of the color of their skin.

What initially began as a coming together of a diverse community of people in peaceful protest for the racist killing of George Floyd, quickly became a firestorm of mass violence, chaotic rioting and purposeless destruction in many U.S. cities. The root cause of these events is racism, which, as we all know, is still very much alive in our country.

Keep in mind that, with this brutality, exist the climbing racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 case rates and deaths, the disproportionately high unemployment rates among underrepresented and undocumented people, the economic inequalities, and the continued lack of access to health care that also result from systemic racism and continue to ravage our underserved communities.

All of this has been taking place while our faculty and staff continue educating our students, engaging in research-related activities and, in some cases, continue to provide clinical care. While we continue to do our best to positively affect all people’s lives, we cannot avoid being deeply disturbed by these consequences of structural racism. There are no simple words of comfort to offer you at this tragic and unprecedented time in history.

We want to acknowledge the growing pain, concern and grief that inevitably accompany these tragedies. Please know that the AHS Office of the Dean supports your continued perseverance during these difficult times.

At the same time, we acknowledge the stress that all of these events has caused. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your friends, family and colleagues for support. Also be reminded of the UIC Employee Assistance Program. Contact Geri Biamonte at should you feel you need further support.

We have the opportunity to act as role models, setting an example for our students and for others around us through our personal and professional endeavors. Please have no reservations in giving us feedback or suggestions about how we may support you as you continue to pave a just, valorous and virtuous way forward through your service.  Hate and racism have no place in our college. We desperately do envision a world where every person can live a healthy and self-determined life.

Gratefully and respectfully, Black Lives Matter!

Bo Fernhall
Dean and Professor

Renee Taylor
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor