Georgetown medical student Jennifer Gyamfi Holiday (M’22) speaks to health care providers about anti-Black racism and implicit bias in medicine before a White Coats for Black Lives protest at the White House in June.
Category: Gut Health, Health Magazine

Title:Building Racial Justice at the Medical Center

At the first RJCC meeting, Stephen Kane (M’21), one of two student co-chairs of the RJCC steering committee, also recognized the contributions of the faculty and staff who have been working to promote racial justice at Georgetown for years. “Building upon that is going to be an honor for the RJCC,” he said. “I want to be involved as an ally to create anti-racist policies and an anti-racist community here
at Georgetown.”

Representing the Entire Medical Center

The RJCC subcommittees will address specific areas: underrepresented minority well-being, experience, and responsiveness; safety and campus police relations; recruitment, retention, and success of underrepresented minority students and faculty; and racial justice curriculum reform.

In addition to the School of Medicine, the subcommittees will address challenges that students, faculty, and staff have been working on at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, within Biomedical Graduate Education, and at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Healton said. “So I’m also including in the charge that you open up the lens of the work and the structure of this committee to be inclusive of a broader representation and participation in the work and the committee’s processes,” he said. “It will not dilute the work. It will enrich it.”

Members of the committee were nominated by the students in consultation with leadership and were appointed by the executive vice president. They are expected to meet twice a month with their subcommittees and once a month with the entire committee. Their recommendations will be presented to the medical center leadership by December 15, while encouraging earlier input.

Working for Necessary Change

The open letter has already led to changes at the Medical Center. In his letter announcing the RJCC on July 18, Healton outlined actions immediately implemented in the five weeks after the open letter was shared, including a planned workshop to review the medical school curriculum and the immediate diversifying of content for the dermatology section, the renaming of a learning society to represent more inclusivity, the diversification of portraiture across GUMC, and the addition of anti-racism prematriculation materials.

Working with her classmates to write the letter was a positive experience for Mariama Jallow (M’22), student co-chair of the RJCC subcommittee on underrepresented minority well-being, experience, and responsiveness.

“As a Black student, this process of standing in solidarity with my colleagues from various identities and backgrounds to write the open letter and the subsequent outpouring of support from faculty and staff that led to the formation of the RJCC, has been both comforting and empowering,” Jallow said.

“It has felt like history in the making and I have faith that this is just the beginning of sustainable institutional change.”

The desire for changes that will make Georgetown a better place for future students, faculty, and staff motivates members of the RJCC steering committee.

“I’ll just say I’m here because I’m extremely invested in Georgetown University, with 21 years as a student, resident, fellow, faculty, and now a department chair,” Roett said.

“Diversity, equity, inclusion, health equity, and community engagement are also important to me. And so this is one of the reasons that I wanted to be a part of this.”

“Georgetown has a very dear place in my heart,” said Tamika Auguste (M’00), MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Georgetown and faculty co-chair of the RJCC steering committee. “I truly feel a duty and responsibility to work together to make the situation better. Twenty-five years ago, when I was a GEMS student, we were talking about these same issues. So we have work to do. We will get the work done.”

“I was also a GEMS student,” said Jerome Murray (M’22), student co-chair of the RJCC steering committee. “The reason I’m invested and involved in this is, as a current student, current Black student, having been mentored by Black students and Black faculty that have gone through Georgetown and mentoring other Black students hopeful to come to Georgetown, I think there’s just been a need that’s been identified. And I’m hopeful that I can bring something to the table to bring some of that necessary change.”

For more information about the launch of the RJCC, check out the premiere episode of our new podcast, The Reservoir, and visit

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