Senate Position Statement on Anti-Racism
We, as faculty, staff and students at Baylor College of Medicine live in the most diverse city in the nation. Likewise, the BCM community proudly reflects the diversity of Houston. The recent deaths of George Floyd and others have forced each of us to confront the issue of racism and social inequality in our homes, communities, and work environment. It is important that we use this opportunity to engage in inter-cultural and inter-racial dialogue that will increase awareness and understanding of the issue, as well as inspire action that will result in meaningful change. As clinicians, educators, researchers, and scientists, we have an influential voice that can be used to advocate for groups that have been marginalized, oppressed and disenfranchised in our society. Given the national and global response to recent events in our country, we cannot remain quiet.
The strength of the BCM community lies in each of us, irrespective of race, age, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, or ethnicity. It is our individuality, unique talents and different perspectives that create an environment that cultivates new ideas, spurs collaboration, and enhances knowledge. Therefore, we join the collective efforts of our partnering institutions to promote a culture of anti-racism in health care, education, research, and science. Now more than ever, it is important that we reflect on our BCM values of respect, integrity, innovation, teamwork and excellence as we continue to lead during this challenging time with compassion, empathy and love.
The Faculty Senate
June 15, 2020
Senate Position Statement on Chinese Visa Restrictions
Recently, the White House released a Presidential Proclamation calling for the blocking of entry into the United States of certain Chinese post-graduate students and postdoctoral trainees engaged in research, as well as a review of comparable Chinese J and F visa holders already in the U.S. We, the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, cannot support these restrictions on access to education, patient care, and scientific discovery by qualified individuals. This proclamation is significantly antithetical to the BCM’s multiracial and multicultural environment. Our Chinese students, faculty and researchers are critical to the success of Baylor College of Medicine and are valued by us.
We are here to support you in this difficult time. If any faculty, student, researcher or staff member experiences xenophobia, racism or discrimination, please reach out to your chair, senate representative, program director, dean, or anonymously to the Integrity Hotline (855-764-7292), Center for Professionalism or Ombuds Office. In our response, we pledge to uphold the values of respect, integrity, innovation, teamwork, and excellence that define Baylor College of Medicine.
The Faculty Senate
June 15, 2020
Faculty Senate Meeting Notes
June 11, 2020
- In response to recent events of concern, Senate Chair Christie Lincoln introduced two position statements for discussion at the meeting. One strongly promotes a culture of anti-racism, the other commits support to Chinese trainees and researchers at risk of visa restrictions. Senators discussed the statements during the meeting. The Senate voted June 12-15 to endorse both statements, which have been disseminated to the Baylor College of Medicine community and posted above.
- The Senators heard updates on the mission areas’ coronavirus recovery efforts. Addressing concerns about the rise in local COVID-19 cases, Clinical Affairs Dean Jim McDeavitt detailed the ways the College and the TMC are better prepared for the surge than they were in April, including good supplies of PPE, readily available testing, a proven ability to protect employees and trainees, established protocols and effective treatments for patients, and the comfort of knowing that contingency plans exist if the health system becomes overwhelmed.
- Research Dean Mary Dickinson reported that the main campus will be open three more hours a day to accommodate researchers starting June 15. Weekend lab access will be expanded as soon as possible. All Advanced Technology Core labs are open and research requiring surgical procedures is resuming with a new scheduling tool.
- Provost Alicia Monroe said teaching faculty should prepare to conduct all courses and lectures virtually. The Education Innovation Core's Keep Teaching webpage provides resources to enhance online course design and teaching methods. She asked that grand rounds, faculty meetings and conferences continue to be virtual so that teaching facilities can be reserved for in-person courses following social distancing guidelines.
April 16, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic dominated discussions at the meeting:
- Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, predicted that coronavirus cases would peak in Texas on May 1 and cautioned that the virus could return in January and February. He expressed concern about re-opening the state for business, given the low rate of testing and the lack of a mechanism for contact tracing.
- Clinical Affairs Dean Jim McDeavitt described working with the institutions of the Texas Medical Center to increase the capacity of the healthcare workforce, intensive care beds, ventilators, PPE and testing, now detailed daily in TMC updates. The Incident Command Center has made arrangements for post-shift showers, food, hotel rooms and dorm space for Baylor frontline teams and is preparing for a potential surge in coronavirus cases. The ICC also has started planning for a post-COVID-19 staged re-opening of the campus for patient care, research and education activities.
- Research Dean Mary Dickinson detailed the College’s COVID-19-related projects, with the Office of Research recording 59 coronavirus pilot project applications, 16 new funding proposals and 42 IRB proposals. Teams of Baylor scientists are expanding virus testing, developing dependable serology testing and conducting clinical trials on convalescent plasma, remdesivir and tocilizumab. The orange badge system for campus access is generating data to inform plans for social distancing when labs are reintegrated.
- Provost Alicia Monroe said the ICC Education Subcommittee is considering how best to provide clinical experiences for learners and onboard new students, residents and fellows, within College and affiliate policies and accreditation standards. Wellness resources for faculty, staff, trainees and students have expanded to include telehealth counseling and support groups.
- Dr. Christie Lincoln, senate chair, and Dr. Jonnae Atkinson, senate secretary and chair of the elections committee, reminded senators that nominations for 37 Senate seats are open through Monday, April 27, with elections scheduled for May and June.
- In the past year, the Faculty Senate has approved resolutions on Defining Pathways & Possibilities staff leveling communications, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee guidance and Baylor Medicine compensation plan outcomes analysis, as well as endorsed the COVID-19 Tenure Clock Suspension policy. Senators also represent faculty interests on more than a dozen institutional committees.