Dear SPPS Family,
As the Director of Diversity Initiatives at the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPPS), I am excited to start listening and learning with all of our SPPS family (faculty, staff, and students). This position interested me because I remembered when I was growing up, I was one of very few minorities in school and early on, I did not feel included. I felt I was an outsider because of my skin color and having been born in a different country. I want everyone at SPPS to feel they are welcome, respected and included.
I would like to foster an environment at SPPS where everyone feels that they can share their thoughts, feelings and ideas. Please watch for upcoming forums throughout the year for these opportunities. I believe a diverse population is essential; I hope that I can increase diversity in our students, staff and faculty. All of us can learn from each other’s varied experiences (good and bad) and become better human beings that are more equitable and inclusive. When we all act and respect each other better, our school and humanity benefits.
Below is our school’s Diversity and Inclusion Statement. This statement is the first step in our reflective process, where we will begin open dialogue regarding systemic racism with the goal of creating an inclusive and respectful environment within the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. We welcome your insights and participation as we begin this process.
Director of Diversity Initiatives
UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
The shocking and unnecessary death of George Floyd focused the attention of the nation on the injustice Black Americans and other Americans of color are often subjected to when interacting with the police. This is unfortunately not an isolated case; systemic racism must end. The killings of Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Stephon Clark, along with so many others, and, just this week, the felony murder ruling in the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, show yet more tragedies and examples of horrific cruelty captured on video. There are no adequate words that can properly express the anger, frustration, and despair felt by the Black community because of police brutality and resulting code of silence. We are outraged by all these senseless acts of violence and share the pain and grief felt by many in our nation.
We, as the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, find racism, racial injustice, inequity, and discrimination towards any group intolerable and unacceptable. It falls on every one of us (faculty, staff, students and community), regardless of our race, to work together to eliminate racism and discrimination.
Each of us needs to self-evaluate and reflect on how we can be better human beings and inclusive of all.
Upon self-reflection at a school level, we know we have far to go to be a truly diverse and inclusive community, but we are committed to being and doing better. We believe in ensuring mutual respect and equal opportunity for all.
To begin this self-reflective process, over the coming weeks we will initiate virtual town hall meetings, an important first step in our contemplative process. These meetings will provide a safe environment for open discussion, so we can begin to remove barriers to equity and bring forth a culture of inclusivity where respectful behaviors and ideas are nurtured and supported. We encourage the participation of all SPPS members as we begin this journey. As a community of health care professionals, it is our responsibility to help lead this reform.
We are eager to begin these new initiatives under the leadership of Dr. Kalpesh Desai, SPPS Director of Diversity Initiatives. Dr. Desai will be reaching out to our SPPS community with additional information. Until then, we would also like to reinforce the use of campus-based resources from the Office of Inclusive Excellence.
James O’Donnell, PhD
Professor and Dean
Kalpesh Desai, PharmD
Director of Diversity Initiatives