Dear patients of the Joslin's Asian Clinic and friends of the AADI,
I am writing regarding the rise of racism and hate crimes against Asian Americans in Massachusetts and throughout the U.S.
Having immigrated to the United States when I was in elementary school, and witnessing pivotal Civil Rights events in 1960's, I am not surprised by the recent surge of xenophobic activities. We have unfortunately experienced them over the years even in LMA and, yes, even at Joslin. To be reminded that anti-Asian-American prejudice persists and to face micro-aggressions such as being complimented on my ability to speak English so well, is as jarring today as when I was in high school.
Racism of any kind, whether it targets Black, Asian-American or other minority groups is never acceptable.
Having been at Joslin since 1981, I want to stress that Joslin's Administration has always been very open to addressing issues of racial inequity and insensitivity when they are made known.
Dr. Roberta Herman, Joslin's President and CEO also expressed this in a statement to Joslin employees:
"….., President Biden talked about the violence we have seen and are seeing against Asians and Asian Americans propagated by mistruths about the virus. I want to be clear that Joslin condemns such behavior and the false beliefs that lead to it. In the same spirit we have stood with our colleagues of color, we fully support our Asian and Asian American colleagues."
Some of Joslin's efforts to fight disparities, racism and inequity include:
1. At least two committees to take concrete steps to improve the structure of how we address racial inequities.
2. The presence of the Asian and Latino Diabetes Clinics, which were built 20 years ago, when we began publishing data to show that the addition of culturally-appropriate materials and medical treatments can significantly overcome health disparities.
3. The establishment of the Asian-American Diabetes Initiatives (AADI) for advocacy, education, clinical care and research to improve efforts to prevent and treat diabetes in Asian-Americans locally and nationally.
4. Fundraising events to support AADI, such as the annual A Taste of Ginger, held virtually this year in May during Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
5. Joslin is proud to have Asian American staff members working in every division of the organization.
I want you to know that Joslin leadership actively discusses safety and security issues on an ongoing basis, and this time is no different when we are considering taking additional steps and conferring with other LMA organizations on safety issues.
I am always optimistic and know that when we all try, we can individually and collectively improve our life experiences by fully embracing the richness of our diversity. Please take extra care to be safe and to look out for one another.
George L. King MD
Founder and Director of Asian American Diabetes Initiative (AADI)
Chief Scientific Officer
Joslin Diabetes Center
Professor of Medicine and Ophthalmology
Harvard Medical School