On May 31, 2020, all employees received this important and timely communication from UF Health Jacksonville CEO and Dean of the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville, Leon L. Haley, Jr., M.D.
June 4 marks UF Health Jacksonville’s official 150th anniversary, an incredible milestone that unfortunately has taken a backseat to first, the COVID-19 pandemic and now, heartbreaking deaths of African-Americans, subsequent protests and riots across the country.
As we have done throughout a century and a half, UF Health has risen to meet even the most significant challenge, like these recent events. These past several months have shown just how talented and resourceful you are. I am honored to be leading this organization, and you should be proud of the work you and your co-workers do every day.
The pandemic has revealed what many experts predicted — some of the country’s most vulnerable populations are the ones most affected by COVID-19. UF Health strives to serve our entire community, including those who may not otherwise receive equitable care. Living up to our mission to heal, to comfort, to educate and to discover is what makes UF Health so special to the fabric of Northeast Florida.
Recent protests throughout the nation have also highlighted how much further we need to go to ensure equality, fairness and justice for all of our citizens. Last night, our city experienced some of the friction that has been going on in other areas throughout the country. We should all be passionate about peaceful protest, but we must also condemn violence, no matter who it is directed toward.
What has happened in Brunswick, New York City and Minneapolis is difficult to watch and serves as a painful — and powerful — reminder that there is much work to do toward bringing people together to create a more unified, diverse and inclusive culture. UF Health comprises people from many races and cultures that work together to solve problems for all patients, and I believe we are an example that others can follow.
The respect and compassion you show one other and the people we serve, no matter who they are or where they come from, is an incredible example of how we are better when we stand together. The hospital’s Diversity Council has done great work over the years to show how our different cultures, beliefs and backgrounds create a strong, vibrant organization. Additionally, we have established the UF Health Science Center’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Advisory Council. Please take advantage of our ongoing education offered through HealthStream courses, as well as upcoming opportunities to enhance understanding and support the work of both groups.
I encourage you to communicate respectfully with your colleagues and leaders on topics concerning diversity and inclusion. As you continue to fill the role of healers to our patients, please also reach out to one another to show appreciation of our differences, and most importantly how we can continue to work together to make our organization a leader in this city.— Sincerely,
Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA
CEO, UF Health Jacksonville
Dean, UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville