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An Update for the Tulane Medicine Community

February 18, 2021

Dear School of Medicine Community,

It has been a little under a week since I last wrote to the community about the leadership change in our Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program. I want to reach out to you to assure you that your voices are being heard. I recognize that we have much to learn and much to do before we can hope to achieve our goal of creating a truly equitable, diverse and inclusive community.

I am also writing to give you an update on the most recent developments.

Status of Dr. Dennar: Dr. Dennar remains the Medical Director of the Tulane Internal Medicine & PCAT Clinic at University Medical Center of New Orleans and Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. She also has the opportunity to respond to the recommendation of a change in program leadership for the Internal Medicine/Pediatric Residency Program. This afternoon, I extended the window for her response. As she noted in her public letter, she was only able to offer a partial reply in the time allotted her. I hope this extension will give her an opportunity to provide a thorough response, including addressing the various, substantive findings in the report provided by the Graduate Medical Education Committee, by Friday, March 5. No final decision has been made.

Meeting with Representatives of S.L.A.M. Coalition: I recognize the concerns this recommendation has raised and the pain it has caused members throughout our community. I look forward to meeting with leaders of the various student groups included in the S.L.A.M. Coalition who have questioned this process. I take their concerns seriously and wrote back shortly after receiving the letter and suggested a meeting. We proposed to schedule this meeting tomorrow.

Engagement of EDI Consultant: These recent developments have created an opportunity to discuss and discover the measure of equity, diversity and inclusion at Tulane SOM and how we can build the just, welcoming and supportive community we all want. I am pleased to report that the Office of the Provost and Chief Diversity Officer have already identified three potential outside organizations to facilitate this process, with the goals to:

  • Deepen recognition of the lived experiences of our residents, faculty, staff and other students relative to racism and sexism
  • Solicit suggestions and develop a series of targeted recommendations for consideration by Tulane’s leadership by the end of the school year

More information about this initiative will be shared from the Office of the Provost once a third-party firm is selected and plans are finalized.

In closing, I know the last several days have been a challenging time for us all. Please know that we are committed to fostering an environment where every single member of our community can learn and thrive. And to do that, we must all be willing to ask tough questions, challenge our assumptions, attentively listen to each other and work together to make the Tulane School of Medicine the place we all aspire it to be.

Lee Hamm, senior vice president and dean, School of Medicine