It is with great pleasure that we kick off the 2022 celebration of Black History Month at Massachusetts General Hospital. This year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness. With a wonderful set of partners, we have assembled activities that are equal parts thoughtful, thought-provoking, and joyous.

I want to begin by saying clearly, and loudly, that Black History IS American History. The history of our nation cannot be told without a full articulation of the Black experience—from the origin story of slavery to our most recent national reckoning on racism—and everything in between. The resilience, strength, and excellence of all of those around us from the African diaspora is the truest American story of courage and perseverance in the setting of unprecedented, persistent, and continued adversity.

We commemorate and celebrate Black History because this history has not been told — not comprehensively, and in most cases not at all — and if and when it is told, it has often been misrepresented. It is our responsibility to learn, to grow, and to walk together in our equity journey every day. This should not be political, nor a topic of dispute. We can only flourish together as a nation, united, when we truly understand each other, listen, and honor our history and our lived experiences in a truthful, open, and honest way.

We hope you will join us on this journey and enjoy Black History Month and the events we’ve put together as our collective steps forward towards a more equitable and just future.

Joseph R. Betancourt, MD, MPH
Senior Vice President for Equity & Community Health