Speak Up Against Xenophobia and Racism During COVID-19

A joint statement regarding xenophobia during COVID-19 from the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Learn more about Washington University’s response to coronavirus at coronavirus.wustl.edu.

As the Washington University Medical Campus navigates the many challenges and opportunities brought to us by COVID-19, we remain united with and committed to our community members, both institutionally and regionally. In order for us to emerge triumphant, we must do so with the knowledge that we are all connected and in this fight together.

However, fears and emotions around this virus have led to spaces of deep divisiveness along racial and ethnic lines. In the United States, over the last several weeks, there have been over 1000 reported incidents of violence or intimidation against individuals of East Asian descent. The Washington University Medical campus denounces these abhorrent acts. We stand in solidarity with our East Asian and Asian American community members, physicians, nurses, staff, faculty, trainees and students.

As healthcare institutions deeply committed to valuing diversity, achieving equity, and fostering inclusion, we encourage members of the Washington University Medical Campus community to not only avoid participating in these types of harmful actions, but to be active participants in interrupting and denouncing this behavior. We offer the following considerations and tools to support each of us in our work toward standing up against intolerance and discrimination.

Be mindful of associations between this virus and people of Chinese descent

Per direction from the World Health Organization (pdf), take care not to associate the virus with a particular group of people or culture. Refrain from using terms like “Chinese virus.” This terminology could trigger negative unconscious biases related to people from China, creating unintended microinequities in patient care, staff or student relations. Please utilize the precise term for this virus which is COVID-19.

When making recommendations for staying healthy and avoiding this virus, direct those recommendations to all staff, patients and families, avoiding focusing more heavily on people of East Asian descent.

Say something

Speak up when you hear or see harmful actions. Use these six techniques for speaking up (pdf) to call people in to a conversation about what you experienced/witnessed. See the resource list below for a way to make a report.

Take care of yourself

We are experiencing a very stressful time. It is increasingly critical that we respond from a place of calm, rather than fear.

Please visit Human Resource’s Employee Wellness page for health-related resources and opportunities to connect with others for support. See additional health related resources below for students.

Join the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion listserv to learn about upcoming dialogues & training to continue connecting with the School of Medicine community.

How to make a report if you have experienced or witnessed discrimination

Faculty & staff

Residents and postdocs

Medical students

  • Ombudsperson, Karen O’Malley, Karen.ombuds@gmail.com, 314-660-2089
  • Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, MedDEI@wustl.edu, 314-273-2809
  • CANVAS, utilize the direct link from the Student Commons > Mistreatment, Offensive Behavior, and Bias Reporting
  • Speak directly to:

DBBS students

Mental health resources for all students

  • Student Health Services: 314-362-3523, 4525 Scott Ave., Room 3420, East Building
  • Student Mental Health Counseling: 314-362-2404
  • Student Assistance Program (SAP) provides confidential, professional assistance to full-time students and their family members to help resolve problems affecting their personal life or school performance.