At the IU Center for Global Health, our mission is to improve health and human flourishing in underserved areas worldwide.
This does not and cannot mean that we focus only on inequities between high and low-income countries, but also on the inequities that exist in our own country, the state of Indiana and our own neighborhoods. Too often, where an individual is born or their ethnic heritage determines their opportunities, health status and life expectancy. Social, economic and health equity is a key value of our Center, not only as we look outward to the global community, but also as we look inward to our own country, state and community.
Over the past few months we have seen COVID-19 disproportionately ravage communities of color. Police brutality and systemic racism resulted in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other Black men and women. Additionally, racial injustice contributes to higher infant and maternal mortality rates, higher rates of diabetes and hypertension, increased danger for LGBTQ people, more deaths from violence and other health inequities for Black people in America.
We support the initiatives presented by Indiana University and the IU School of Medicine to be more inclusive and aspire to use our unique expertise and experience to contribute to the needed societal evolution underway.
In our global partnerships, we focus on improving the social factors that impact health such as employment, education, access to healthy food and safe transportation.
We must improve these social determinants of health in our own communities to make them stronger and healthier.
In our research and clinical activities we emphasize the need for reciprocal innovations, or taking new and better ways of improving health in underserved communities and sharing them between high and low-income countries for continuous local adaptation and improvement. For example, the WeCare program to reduce infant mortality, especially for our highest risk Black infants, in Marion County successfully builds on the community health worker model used in Kenya.
We must find more ways to adapt these innovations from our global partners to improve Black lives here.
Our partners in Kenya and around the world reflect the diversity of humanity.
We must actively bring new voices and perspectives to our work by ensuring that our Center staff, faculty and trainees reflect this beautiful diversity as well.
We know that successful partnerships require authentic relationships, mutual respect and personal and cultural humility.
We are here and know our neighbors and community members are hurting. We are listening and learning so we can do better.