Our Consortium is a large, interdisciplinary community, linked by work on the ethical, legal, and social implications of biomedicine and the life sciences. Across our community, this is a time of deep mourning and challenge. We face a global pandemic that has already taken too many lives. At the same time, we face the brutal murder of George Floyd here in Minneapolis and the entrenched structural racism it revealed. To learn that Mr. Floyd was burdened by COVID-19 in the weeks before his killing makes it dramatically clear that the COVID pandemic and racism are intertwined. The pandemic is starkly illuminating the long-standing health disparities in this country and persistent failure of health care and governing institutions to advance health equity and justice. The results of that failure are horrific.
In the days since Mr. Floyd’s murder, the outpouring of grief, trauma, and pain has been overwhelming. I grew up in Washington, DC, moving to Minneapolis more than 25 years ago. The convulsions in both cities have had a profound impact. The call to listen, see, and act has never been clearer.
The Consortium has been partnering on issues of public health ethics, genomic medicine and health equity, and how precision medicine can transform the health of underserved populations. But that is only a start. As Consortium chair, I know that far more is needed. This is a time of careful listening, new learning, and decisive action. I will be joining with others in the Consortium community and beyond to challenge racism, work toward justice, and make genuine progress.
– Susan M. Wolf, JD, Chair, Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences, June 2020