Dear Colleagues,

After several days of reflection, anger, sorrow, frustration and exhaustion, we reach out to the MGH community – devastated that we have to again – in response to the latest violence in Buffalo, New York. These communications, spurred on by national events, are far too common when instead they should be non-existent and unnecessary. The horrific and brutal act of violence driven by racism in Buffalo this past week reminds us of the fight we are in for basic human decency, respect, equity and civility. As a community, and as Americans, these are shared values we have yet to live as a nation and still battle here locally as racism rears its ugly head across our nation, including within our own walls.

Massachusetts General Hospital condemns racism in all forms, and we resolutely stand behind the words of our Diversity and Inclusion Statement: “Because of diversity we will excel. Through inclusion we will respect. Focused on equity we will serve, heal, educate and innovate.” We, as Mass General Brigham, remain United Against Racism, and are committed to eliminating racism and inequality within our organization. Rest assured we are working hard to make sure we are living these words, and these values, and bringing these efforts to life here at MGH and across the system.

Along those lines, we remind our community of our code of conduct policy – and accompanying scripting guideline – related to racist and discriminatory behavior, our reporting systems for when anyone experiences such behavior from a patient or an employee, and our ongoing work to ensure these situations are reconciled and managed in a timely and just way.

We are also proud that the MGH has taken tangible steps to address the troubling increase of gun violence in our nation. The MGH Center for Gun Violence Prevention, led by Peter Masiakos, MD, and Chana Sacks, MD, is a multidisciplinary initiative dedicated to preventing firearm-related violence and promoting safety in homes and communities  The group has collaborated closely with several state organizations since 2015 to develop guidance for clinicians to talk to patients about gun safety. This past winter, the center began a 3-year collaboration with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and Emerson College to transform the narratives around gun violence.

As we grieve and process yet another horrific event, should you need support or assistance, resources are available at the MGH and Mass General Brigham, and we encourage you – whether it be now or at any time – to take advantage of them.

Most important, we remember and honor the innocent people lost – the grandmother, the wife, the father, the son, the daughter – all of whom could have been our own relatives, neighbors or friends, who were grocery shopping and were murdered simply because the color of their skin. Our hearts go out to those in Buffalo who are grieving and supporting one another – and trying to make sense out of an act that was senseless and tragic.

Let this be yet another reminder that our work is far from done, but we must stay with it, together, better every day, and hold ourselves accountable for meaningful progress. To this we are committed, and this is our promise to you.

We encourage you to also take a moment to read the message below, which was shared by Mass General Brigham.

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

David F.M. Brown, MD
President, Massachusetts General Hospital
Executive Vice President, Mass General Brigham

Marcela del Carmen, MD
President, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization
Executive Vice President, Mass General Brigham

We are deeply saddened and angered by the racist mass shooting that killed 10 people and injured three more in Buffalo this past weekend. This act of extreme violence was conducted by a white supremacist who specifically targeted an African American neighborhood. We condemn this horrific act and the white supremacy rhetoric expressed by the assailant in his online postings. There is no place for racism in our society.

Gun violence is a public health crisis in this country. The killings in Buffalo on Saturday marked more than 200 mass shootings in the United States in 2022, and there have already been four additional mass shootings since then.

Mass General Brigham is United Against Racism. We denounce racism, bigotry and hatred in all of its forms and remain committed to eliminating racism and inequality in our organization. We are steadfast in our work to provide equitable, exceptional healthcare for all.