Statement from our Dean Responding to Current Events

Dear GUSOM Community:

The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd has just been rendered. Mr. Chauvin has been found guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd. According to prosecutors, Mr. Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds while Mr. Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe.

Today, justice has prevailed over racial bias and brutality. This conviction verdict is justice served today for the family of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Minnesota resident and father. As a society, we are impacted by this crucible moment of change. Systemic racism, inequity, and violence permeate every dimension of American life. While it has taken a long time for us to arrive at this decision day, we want to acknowledge the pain, grief and outrage sparked by Mr. Floyd’s murder and that of other Black and Brown people at the hands of police. The murder of George Floyd by police is an unspeakable tragedy. Sadly, police brutality and use of force against the Black community has been an ever-present circumstance. 

The jury made a declaration about the value of George Floyd’s life and the lives of all Black people with the conviction of Derek Chauvin. Though Chauvin’s conviction is an important step in justice for George Floyd and towards addressing police violence against people of color, the work for lasting structural change continues.

Earlier this evening, Dean Healton shared a video message reflecting on the verdict.  In his message, he reaffirmed his priority of leading culture change on our campus, and establishing an environment that is more equitable and inclusive of all its members. We join him in affirming clearly and unequivocally GUMC’s commitment to racial equity, anti-racism, and to justice. These principles are central to who we are as an institution, and who we are as individual members of the broader GUMC community. We are anchored in the belief that George Floyd’s life mattered and all Black lives matter. 

Since Mr. Floyd’s murder, we have taken a more robust approach to address centuries of anti-Black sentiment and other forms of systemic racism with urgency. We are indebted to our committed students, faculty and staff leaders of the Racial Justice Committee for Change, who have accelerated  our focus and deepened the work of culture change supporting underrepresented students’ wellbeing; recruiting and retaining underrepresented students and faculty; increasing equity and representation in our curriculum, and reforming safety and campus police relations.  As an institution, we still have much work to do and we are committed to live our mission and animate our values of “Faith that Does Justice” and “Community in Diversity.” 

For members of our community seeking opportunities to continue this great work, we recommend advocating for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will be the topic of discussion at an upcoming National Medical Association (NMA) sponsored symposium entitled, “Anti-Racism: A Call to Action for Health of the Public.

In acknowledgment of the range of emotions this verdict has raised and the process we have traversed to arrive at this point, we are sharing the ways we will continue to support each other as a campus community. Please visit the Racial Justice Committee for Change and learn where to seek wellness support and counseling here in this Post Trial Wellness and Safety Toolkit. In addition, visit the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for community spaces to connect in order to foster understanding, solidarity, and wellness.  

Specific GUMC upcoming activities for community connection: 

  • A Georgetown University Interfaith Moment of Reflection: Pursuing Justice Together

Wednesday, April 21 at 6:00 p.m. (click for Zoom link)

  • Healing Circle Town Hall for Black Students, Faculty & Staff hosted by the GUMC Racial Justice Committee for Change

Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. (click for Zoom link)

  • GUMC Peace Vigil open to all of Georgetown

Friday, April 23, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (click for Zoom link)

  • GUMC Healing Meditation with Nancy Harazduk open to all of Georgetown

Friday, April 30, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (click for Zoom link)

Counseling and Psychiatric Service (CAPS)

All GUMC students can access support through CAPS here or calling the general line at: 202-687-6985. Out of state students can also access mental health resources through HoyaWell.

Upcoming CAPS Drop-In Hours

Please take good care of yourselves and each other. The focus on our work of racial justice continues to amplify in our society, in our medical school, and throughout GUMC.

In solidarity,

Susan M. Cheng, Ed.L.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Assistant Professor, Family Medicine                                                                                      

Deputy Title IX Coordinator

David L. Taylor, M.Ed.

Senior Associate Dean for Student Learning

Director, Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) Program

Isela Melendez-Carpio, M.Ed. 

Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff:

We are devastated and heartbroken by last night’s shootings at three Atlanta-area spas. This senseless act of violence that took 8 precious lives, including 6 women of Asian descent, is a source of great pain and sorrow. These violent acts contradict every human value that we hold dear and we stand united with all of those impacted.

GUMC Open Spaces: We invite you to join for open spaces across the medical center to gather as a community and process. These spaces are open to everyone to share and listen and to feel seen and heard.

GUMC Peace Vigil:

Wellness Resources & Support

To support you all, we want you to know you are not alone.

If you need additional support, students please reach out to CAPS. Faculty, AAPs and staff can contact the Faculty & Staff Assistance Program and prioritize wellness. 

The Office of Campus Ministry offers virtual religious services and meditation. Please access the schedule here to support your wellness.

Support from the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – GChat us!

Additionally, please let us know if the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion can be of any assistance or support. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to listen and process this with you. Please also feel free to Google Chat us for anything:

  • Susan:
  • Isela: 
  • Sam:
  • Dave:


Susan M. Cheng, Ed.L.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Assistant Professor, Family Medicine 

Deputy Title IX Coordinator

David L. Taylor, M.Ed.

Senior Associate Dean for Student Learning

Director, Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) Program

Dear GUSOM Students, Faculty, Staff:

We are experiencing an unprecedented time of tragedy, sorrow, and rage as tensions around racial injustices during the backdrop of a pandemic are currently ravaging this country.

We want to acknowledge the additional pain and trauma that is coursing through our community right now as a result of the most recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among far too many others. 

We recognize that many in our community are processing these painful tragedies and confronting structural inequalities that exist in healthcare and beyond. The continual confrontation has been exhausting and emotionally draining for many members of our community. Many of you have asked for resources and support to engage in these difficult and necessary conversations across peer groups, teams, and departments. Others have asked for ways they can continue to partner as allies and upstanders during this time.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at GUSOM is strongly committed to building a supportive, compassionate, and informed community. In light of the current events happening in our country during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to affirm our GUSOM community that we do NOT stand with the systemic racism that continues to prevail in our society. 

At GUSOM, it is our highest priority to exemplify and promote a diverse community, inclusive of talents, interests, and backgrounds for the greater good of society, and respectful dialogue and points of commonality in areas of disagreement.

As we continue to engage in our value of dialogue, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion will host Open Dialogue Spaces on Zoom for our GUSOM community, which will be facilitated by faculty/staff, peer dialogue facilitators, and bias reduction improvement coaches. We will start the week of June 15 and continue throughout the summer and into the upcoming school year with open-ended topics addressing bias, allyship, social justice and all topics of concern to students, faculty, and staff. If you would like to be involved with these open space dialogues, please contact Dean Cheng at

In the interim, as part of our supportive plan of action to debrief overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger associated with these tragedies, we encourage opportunities to reach out for counseling support with CAPS and Campus Ministry. 

For Students:

  • To schedule an immediate appointment with CAPS please email Dr. Simoné Jalon directly at You may also schedule an appointment with CAPS by calling (202) 687-6985 from 9:00am -5:00 pm EST, Monday-Friday. In the event of an emergency after hours, please call (833) 960-3006 and you will be connected to a trained behavioral specialist.
  • The Office of Campus Ministry is available to all students during business hours by calling (202) 687-5259. In addition, chaplains in residence may be reached after hours by calling (202) 677-0361.

For Faculty and Staff:

  • The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) provides free confidential counseling and referral services to faculty, AAPs, and staff. For more information, visit or call (202) 687-2396.
  • More mental health and telehealth resources for students, faculty, and staff can be found here.

Beyond these counseling resources, for the GUSOM community, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is a source of support. Another is Aspen Ideas’ podcast How to Talk About Race and Racism which provides recommendations for having difficult discussions. Additionally, here’s a set of resources for talking with young people about race, racism, and racialized violence from the Center for Racial Justice in Education. 

Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other during this time. Empathy and care are crucial right now. Most importantly, seek support if you need it by reaching out.


Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, MBA, MACP, FAAP 

Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics 

Joseph J. Butenas Professor and Dean for Medical Education     

Susan M. Cheng, Ed.L.D., MPP

Senior Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion

David L. Taylor, M.Ed.

Senior Associate Dean for Student Learning

and the dedicated staff of the GUSOM Office of Diversity & Inclusion