GW SMHS Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC)

GW SMHS Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC)

Racism is deeply embedded in the cultures, structures and processes of all U.S. organizations and institutions, including institutions of higher learning. Recognizing the ingrained systemic nature of inequitable, oppressive and racist practices, procedures and policies will be difficult, and will require systematic strategic planning, difficult discussions, bold action and the mobilization of key resources. We recognize that regardless of one’s own ethnic or racial identity, that individuals are at various stages of acknowledgement and development along an anti-racist pathway. Those involved do not necessarily automatically intend negative impact; perhaps lacking recognition or knowledge of unconscious and implicit biases that have been culturally learned throughout a lifetime of experiences.

The negative impact of racism serves to unjustly elevate the status of one group above another utilizing discriminatory means. The degradation, dehumanization and marginalization of the person upon whom the indignities are being perpetrated not only demoralize the victim but also limits the experiences and emotional/mental development of the perpetrator. Because racism hurts individuals, it subsequently negatively impacts institutions, organizations, and financial and political systems. Racism hurts us all, significantly hindering the intellectual and social advancement of our nation.


The success of the GW ARC initiative depends on the contributions of all members of the SMHS, GWUH, CNH and MFA communities. If you, your department or organization has an achievement or initiative that promotes the ideals of the Anti-Racism Coalition. Submit that information here.


In recognition of the ethnic and cultural diversity of the varied learners in our medical enterprise and their subsequent interaction with and care for an internationally heterogeneous patient population, we the faculty and staff of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University Hospital, Children’s National Hospital and the George Washington Medical Faculty Associates hereby commit to the development and active implementation of an antiracist academic community to identify and eradicate all forms of racism and ethnic oppression. We purposefully commit to identify, discuss and challenge the impact that race and ethnicity have on influencing our didactic training; subsequent patient interactions; institutional policies, culture and climate; and interactions with one another.

The intentional redirection of our academic environment will include strategies and best practices to dismantle racism and ethnic oppression as evidenced by our daily interactions with one another, patients, organizationally and to external institutions and partnerships.

Given the enormity of this task, we commit to:

  • Develop a multidisciplinary team of executives, faculty and staff who will be responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of this program.
  • Develop quantifiable outcomes in didactic and clinical courses of instruction and discussion groups, accountable on all levels of leadership, faculty, and staff.
  • Identify specific resources needed to accomplish not only the work of the coalition, but to effect downstream, meaningful and sustainable change throughout the GWU medical enterprise.
  • Commit to a continual process of self-examination and improvement of the program individually and organizationally.

Dr. Karen Stanley Williams serves as co-chair of the GW Anti-Racism Coalition. She is a retired Associate Professor of Anesthesiology from the SMHS and MFA. Her leadership experiences have included managing anesthesia departments at the National Institutes of Health and St. Agnes Healthcare, as well as many appointments within the nationally recognized American Society of Anesthesiology. As an African American native of Washington DC, she brings personal and professional narratives regarding the impact of racial biases on individuals, organizations and institutions.

Dr. Yolanda C. Haywood serves as co-chair of the GW Anti-Racism Coalition. She is the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity & Faculty Affairs (Interim), Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Haywood graduated from the GW physician assistant program and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine from The George Washington University. She is a proud native Washingtonian, and she too, brings personal and professional narratives regarding the impact of racial biases on individuals, organizations and institutions.

The ARC Educational Series