Dear SNO Community,
As we approach the halfway point of the year, we must reflect on what has transpired over the past several months. We have collectively grappled with the global coronavirus pandemic - transforming our personal lives and challenging us to create new ways to care for patients, conduct research and interface with colleagues. While adjusting to this new way of life, we have also witnessed a different crisis: the continued epidemic of systemic racism, highlighted recently by the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. In this 24-hour news cycle, it is difficult to avoid the video footage capturing Mr. Floyd’s murder, as well as that of Mr. Arbery, who was jogging minutes prior to his death. Across the US and in cities worldwide, protests and riots are taking place to challenge the status quo and demand change. We recognize the impact this is having on our Society members and their families, our patients, and our communities.
Systemic racism is America’s original sin with long-reaching societal consequences that impact education, housing and health care, where bias leads to disparities in treatment and survival of Black, Latinx, and Native populations in the United States. We’ve seen this most recently with outcomes with the COVID pandemic, as well as differences in care across multiple medical subspecialties, including neuro-oncology. Earlier this year, the Women and Diversity Committee was formed to advance the careers of women and minority clinicians, investigators and trainees through education and mentorship, and develop strategies to ensure underrepresented and vulnerable populations receive equitable care and access to clinical trials.
While the formation of this committee is a necessary initial step, it is not enough. We need to do much more to fight against racism. Our mission “Advancing multidisciplinary brain tumor research, education, and collaboration to drive discovery and improve patient care” cannot be carried out without a commitment to real change. This time calls for uncomfortable conversations and grace with others and ourselves as we muddle through the complexity of emotions emerging from recent tragedies. SNO stands with all of those who experience daily discrimination and injustice, as well as those who are resolute and brave in the fight against it.
-- The Society for Neuro-Oncology