Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
In 1963, after being arrested during a civil rights protest in one of the most segregated cities in America, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” shedding light upon the disparities undergirding our institutions and calling for action. Dr. King was a visionary who devoted his life to combating injustice. In honor of Dr. King’s legacy and in the midst of recent events exposing the continued disenfranchisement of marginalized populations, we recognize that we must take a stand against injustice as current and future medical providers and scientists.
In December 2020, Progress Notes, the student magazine of Baylor College of Medicine, put out a call for narrative reflections on diversity in medicine and the biomedical sciences. This student-led project is co-sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. All submissions were subsequently reviewed by the DEI Awards Subcommittee of Baylor’s Inclusion and Excellence Council which decided upon categorical winners based on various criteria including consideration of originality, effectiveness, and construction.
The winning publications were published in Progress Notes on Jan. 15, 2021 in observance of MLK Day. Here are this year’s winning entries:
- Faculty Category: Dr. Sarvari Yellapragada, associate professor of Medicine-Hematology and Oncology - Reaching the ‘unreachable’: The final frontier in medicine
- Student Category: Jessica Watts, student in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences - Black excellence: Pursuing society’s view of exceptionalism at the expense of our humanity
- Trainee Category: Dr. Harsha Ayyala, resident physician in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - Bioethics in the COVID era: Physiatrists advocate for patients with disabilities
The editorial board of Progress Notes, including Jackie Olive, MS4, Claire Luo, MS2, Saira Alex, MS3, and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion wish to thank all the students, trainees, faculty and staff who submitted an essay for consideration, as well as the Inclusion and Excellence Council, Office of Communications and Community Outreach, and others who helped this project come to fruition.