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WellSpan physicians, providers express solidarity through White Coats For Black Lives

June 05, 2020

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WellSpan Medical Group physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, staff and medical students showed solidarity for their colleagues, patients and community members by uniting and kneeling in the grassroots movement #WhiteCoatsForBlackLives. WellSpan witnesses the impact inequality can have on the health and wellbeing of community members – from lack of access to affordable housing, food, and transportation to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black and brown people in our region.

"The sadness and frustration of racial injustice is felt by healthcare workers throughout WellSpan, but none more than the pain, anger and exhaustion felt by our black and brown physicians, advanced practice physicians, and team members," said Karen Jones, MD, senior vice president, WellSpan Health, and president, WellSpan Medical Group. "Today's demonstration was a symbol of unity – that we acknowledge the ever-growing list of senseless, racially motivated deaths in our country and we are committed to working together to eradicate the systemic inequities present in healthcare."

The WellSpan Medical Group is made up of a diverse group of caregivers that share equitably in the singular mission of providing the safest, highest-quality care to every member of our communities across central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.

Inspired by the coordinated kneeling demonstrations taking place in healthcare settings across the country today, members of WellSpan’s Medical Group posted photos on the company’s internal social media platform to show their support of eliminating discrimination, bias and tragedy stemming from racism.

Among the many who participated in the demonstration was WellSpan physiatrist Deborah Bernal, M.D.

"As an African American female physician, I am concerned with the wellbeing of the entire community, and in particular the racial disparities in medicine, medical care and the social determinants of health," said Bernal. "I am proud of my 12-year affiliation with WellSpan Medical Group, as well as the development of the Office of Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion that has promoted and supported a diverse workforce while highlighting cultural competence for diversity within the entire organization." 

WellSpan stands united in the calls to end racial injustice in all forms. Read a statement from our President and CEO Roxanna Gapstur, Ph.D., R.N.