Providence St. Joseph Health CEO calls for 'greater accountability' to combat institutional racism

Rod Hochman, MD, president and CEO of Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health, is among the hospital leaders speaking out in the wake of mass protests nationwide over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Memorial Day in the custody of Minneapolis police.

In a memo sent June 1, Dr. Hochman told employees the video of Mr. Floyd's arrest "is seared in my mind. It's impossible to witness the brutal murder of a defenseless man and remain silent."

"In fact," he wrote. "At Providence St. Joseph Health, our values explicitly call us to 'speak the truth with courage' and 'stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable, working to remove the causes of oppression and promoting justice for all.'"

Dr. Hochman called for "greater accountability, for those who committed the crime, as well as the larger system that allows senseless tragedies like this one to occur over and over again."

He also pointed to the economic and health disparities in the U.S., which "are on full display" amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanked employees "for continuing to live our values and being a beacon of hope and healing at a time when our communities so desperately need it."

Dr. Hochman is not the first hospital leader to speak out since Mr. Floyd's death. Joseph R. Impicciche, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Ascension, also urged justice and peace May 30 in the wake of the weekend's mass protests. 

 

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Ascension CEO calls for 'renewed commitment to justice and peace'

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