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Executive Dean Cristy Page, MD, MPH, and Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Nathaniel Thomas III, PhD, share their thoughts on the challenges of our time as well as Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service.

Dear colleagues,

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King gave a speech at Stanford University about the challenges of racism, poverty and injustice in our country during the Vietnam War. Fifty-five years later, we start 2022 entering our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been challenged in so many areas of our lives–challenged by unprecedented demands on our health care system; challenged to navigate virtual work, teaching and learning environments both within the SOM and within our own families; and challenged by the constant second-guessing of the decisions that we’re making and the risks that we’re taking both at work and in our personal lives.

Amidst the challenges that we are all facing, it is important to remember that we have colleagues, teammates, students, trainees and patients of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages and socioeconomic statuses who are disproportionately impacted by COVID as well as the continued struggle to confront injustice.

In this moment of immense challenge, we look to the wisdom and the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who when faced what seemed like insurmountable challenges during the Civil Rights movement, used his voice and influence to emphasize the importance of justice, equity and service to others.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year, we call on each of you to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through acts of service. Service to your colleagues, teammates, trainees, students and your patients. Service to your community. Service to your family and your friends. And service to yourself and your well-being.

We also invite you to watch a recording of UNC Health’s Friday webinar, featuring Keynote speaker Dr. Tonya Armstrong, Founder and CEO of The Armstrong Center of Hope, Celebrating The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Cristy and Nate

Executive Dean Cristy Page, MD, MPH

Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion E. Nathan Thomas III, PhD