June 4th, 2020 – Please see below a message from IIDR Scientific Director, Dr. Gerry Wright.
Like all of you, I have watched with horror the events unfolding in the US and the carnage unleashed by centuries of institutionalized racism. Overlaid on these events is the pandemic, which unmercifully exposes inequity across the globe. As scientists and clinicians, we are members of highly diverse and international communities. Consequently, we often think we are less prone to the irrational beliefs that underpin racism and other forms of intolerance, but of course, this is folly. The long history of inequity toward racialized and other marginalized communities within science and medicine is felt systemically within our domains. This inequity reverberates through fewer opportunities for young people, implicit and unconscious bias within promotion, granting, and awards systems, and many others. I personally had my eyes opened when I undertook Diversity and Equity training before serving on the committee to select the new President for McMaster last year. I have also significantly benefited from discussing the challenges women face in the research communities with my female colleagues. I am very conscious of my status and its accompanying privilege.
The events of the past few weeks are an opportunity for pause, reflection, and commitment. I give you mine that as director of the IIDR and the DBCAD, I will support our institutional plan for Equity and Diversity and work hard to foster an infectious disease research community that is reflective of our diverse communities. I encourage you to help me achieve these goals.
I am particularly encouraged by the young people in the street who are peacefully resisting the status quo and making this moment one of reckoning for all of us. I note as well that it is the young researchers currently working tirelessly in the lab on solutions to the pandemic. You are our future and our hope and make me proud.
With great respect