2023 Juneteenth Address from ID DEI Director Dr. Melendez

Dear Colleagues,

On June 19th, or Juneteenth as commonly known, we celebrate the anniversary of the official day of the end of slavery in the United States. While it is a day to remember the legacy of slavery, it is also a day to celebrate the resilience of Black Americans who have fought for generations to ensure equal rights. Despite ongoing efforts to eradicate racism and ensure equality and justice for all, racist policies and ideals persist. African Americans continue to have less access to educational and economic opportunities. African American men are incarcerated at a disproportionally higher rate than other ethnic groups.

As a leader in clinical care and biomedical research, the Division of Infectious Diseases plays a critical role in ensuring equity for the patients we care for and that our research addresses the needs of all, especially those with health disparities. As members of this exemplary medical institution, we should strive to enhance the lives of members of our division and the patients we care for, increase access to medical care to those who need it, and ensure that everyone has equal rights and opportunities. To help promote the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), the division has put together an advisory committee composed of faculty and staff members interested in fostering these values. Our DEI advisory committee will promote division-wide efforts focused on fostering diversity, establishing career development opportunities for individuals traditionally underrepresented in medicine, and promoting an inclusive environment. In order to promote these principles, the DEI advisory committee will:

  • Implement strategies to foster an inclusive environment in our division for all staff, trainees, faculty, and patients. These strategies will be designed to ensure that no one is left behind, especially those from traditionally minoritized groups.
  • Enhance recruitment strategies to ensure a more diverse divisional workforce, including throughout our training programs.
  • Host events to showcase accomplishments of faculty and trainees underrepresented in medicine and to provide career development networking opportunities.
  • Collaborate with other divisional DEI committees and Department of Medicine diversity councils/programs to co-lead diversity efforts and strategies.

The DEI advisory committee members in the Division of Infectious Diseases are Ms. Tracy Agee, Dr. Annie Antar, Dr. Joel Blankson, Dr. Natasha Chida, Dr. Andrea Cox, Dr. Valeria Fabre, Dr. Seun Falade-Nwulia, Dr. Erica Johnson, Dr. Khalil Ghanem, Dr. Michael Melia, Mr. Sean Manogue, Dr. Kathleen Page, Dr. Damani Pigott, and Dr. Stuart Ray.

Johan H. Melendez, PhD
Director, Division of Infectious Diseases DEI Advisory Committee