National unrest followed the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Enraged by yet another Black man wrongfully accused of a crime and killed at the hands of the police, protesters rallied in the streets across the US. The reinvigorated cry for social justice was heard by government officials, lawmakers, corporations, and academic institutions. With racism embedded in medicine’s practices norms, and representation, medical institutions occupy a critical position to shift the paradigm of inequality. As an initial step to heed the expansive call to action, medical school leadership send out messages to their respective student bodies in response to the social unrest. This study qualitatively examined messages collected from a convenience sample of 20 medical school across the US using Critical Race Theory (CRT), a theoretical model used to examine existing power structures based on racial hierarchy. The messages were free coded using Excel. The codes and codebook, informed by CRT, were reviewed and agreed upon by a CRT expert and were then organized into thematic categories: Directness, Lacking Supportiveness, Race Consciousness, Contemporary Orientation, Centering in the Margins, Praxis, and What Now. We observed that some medical schools offered messaging that demonstrated overt antiracist sentiment, in contrast to others which failed to explicitly address racism, offering more muted generic messaging. For purposes of this study, only the initial message sent was coded, follow-up messages were not included. Further considerations should be made to assess how the messages were received by the student body and what actionable items have been subsequently initiated.
Recommended CitationCampbell MS, OMS-II, MPH(C), Chanelle and Frasso, PhD, CPH, Rosemary, "Examining Medical School Leadership’s Response to the Killing of George Floyd Using Critical Race Theory" (2020). Master of Public Health Thesis and Capstone Presentations. Presentation 357.