Diverse group of people outside in silent protest for George Floyd

Department of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

A Message from the Chief Equity Officer

Dear MUSC Family,

One year ago, March 2020, our community and hundreds of thousands across the world were about to embark on a journey unlike any we could remember in our lifetime.  Of course, our grandparents, their ancestors and even farther back than they had lived through pandemics, civil unrest, social awareness, racial and cultural injustice and renewed activism.  But this was going to different.  We were about to face the confluence of all of those things simultaneously intersecting in the course of months.  And they would continue to do so indefinitely. As we solemnly honor and remember over 500.000 lives lost in America alone, we pause to reflect on just how far we’ve come and what the next normal will be for us. And I ask you to give some serious time to reflect on what lessons you have learned about yourself and others during this unprecedented year?  

I will honestly tell you when my DEI/MUSC team said goodbye the afternoon of March 17, 2020, a mere week after the March 11th  US pandemic designation and restrictions began, we prepared for a temporary quarantine and took a few things that would allow us to continue to work efficiently from home for the next month or two at the most.  We wished each other health and safety and left our offices with a false (self-imposed) assurance and nonchalance -I’m still not sure which - about what we were about to experience.  Weeks of remote work, virtual meetings, strategically running back and forth to the office for more supplies so as not to run into a teammate and unknowingly be exposed to COVID 19 became a part of our routines.  Sometimes fearful and depressed due to our extended isolation from one another we “masked up” and keep going. 

Allow me to share the three most important lesson I have learned this past year.

1.     We were all impacted very disparately, and we became aware of that truth we leveraged opportunities to be more caring and giving communities.

2.     Relationships are precious and as hugs, handshakes and gatherings were diminished how we interact in new ways with each other became more thoughtful because we realized how much they matter.

3.     The resilience of the human spirit and tenacity to survive is amazing. Our ability to change in the moment reminded us of  who we are as members of an academic health science system: health care team members worked tirelessly never letting the communities down who needed us more than ever, remaining flexible in fast paced work environments became the norm and commitment and compassion sustained us.

In closing as we inhale and exhale, reflecting on the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 one of the important things to remember is you survived! Allow yourself the grace to feel whatever comes up for you in your moments of reflection.  Those are your first thoughts and feelings and you have a right to them.  And when that moment has passed reflect upon the amazing possibilities that are ahead of you and use the skills and determination that brought you to this anniversary moment to get you through every journey that is yours.

Be well and safe,  

Willette S. Burnham-Williams, PhD, Chief Equity Officer, MUSC

PS: All patients and all MUSC employees who are symptomatic (respiratory infection, fever, cough, flu-like symptoms) or asymptomatic (and have had a known exposure to COVID-19), should visit MUSC Health virtual urgent care for screening and medical advice from a trained MUSC Health care provider. When you access the virtual urgent care, please use the Chat Function to communicate directly with a provider.

If you experience or witness any form of Prohibited Conduct, please report it either by emailing titleix@musc.edu , diversity@musc.edu or by using the Prohibited Conduct Response Form. Our team will continue to investigate and adjudicate cases in accordance with the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct.

We are also working with other university offices which provide support services to our community, including CAPS, EAP, Public Safety, and the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity to ensure remote access to university resources. If you are having difficulty remotely accessing those services, please email us at titleix@musc.edu or diversity@musc.edu.

If you would like to report an incident relating to harassment or discrimination, please contact the Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or complete an online form. This form may be submitted anonymously.

Maintaining Equity in Virtual Learning Environments

Diversity Training Online Curriculum

Nondiscrimination Anti-Harassment and Equal Opportunity Policy and Procedures

Crime Reporting Policy

Crime Reporting Policy — Appendix A: Crime Definitions and Clery Geography (PDF)

Crime Reporting Policy — Appendix B: Campus Security Authorities (PDF)