PCOM students, faculty and staff joined medical students and health professionals nationwide in solidarity with White Coats for Black Lives.
On Friday, June 5, students, faculty and staff from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) joined together along City Avenue to take a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Organized by PCOM alumna, Karla Curet, DO ’13, this event was one of hundreds of demonstrations happening worldwide in response to the killing on May 25, 2020, of George Floyd, a black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer. The length of time signified the amount of time Floyd was held to the ground by the officer. The gathering was specifically organized to demonstrate solidarity with White Coats for Black Lives, an organization that works to eliminate racism in medicine as a threat to the health and well-being of people of color, and Black Lives Matter, an organization whose central mission is eradicating white supremacy and building local power to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities.
One PCOM student, Chantel Thompson (DO ’22), joined her fellow students and shared her experience. Ms. Thompson, recently named President-Elect of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the nation's oldest and largest student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color, and a member of the PCOM chapter of SNMA, is a Philadelphia-native, growing up just a few minutes from campus.
“As PCOM medical students, we wanted to show solidarity with the healthcare workers who are currently practicing and advocate for White Coats for Black Lives,” shared Ms. Thompson. “We also wanted to make it known to our future patients that we will not ‘stay in our lane.’ We will be vocal about the systems in place that adversely affect communities of color and we will be supportive of changes that will improve their quality of care,” she continued.
Ms. Thompson also shared, “the most impactful moment [for me] was when everyone in attendance kneeled. Kneeling for more than eight minutes was overwhelming. We were mentally, physically and spiritually connecting with what we were doing and why we were there.”
In addition to this show of support, PCOM’s Office of Diversity joined SNMA to host an open forum for the PCOM community. This forum focused on healing and conversations about culture. The SNMA has also been in frequent conversations with senior leadership about incorporating curriculum that addresses these cultural changes.
Learn more about PCOM’s Office of Diversity and Community Relations and its programs.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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