Children's Minnesota in the News

Dr. Marc Gorelick and James Burroughs reflect on George Floyd’s impact on advancing health equity

May 25, 2023, will mark three years since George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. His death gave way to a national uprising for racial justice and equity. Earlier this year, the American Hospital Association (AHA) gathered leaders from Children’s Minnesota, Allina Health and M Health Fairview to discuss how Floyd’s murder and the racial reckoning that followed impacted the future of their work to advance health equity. The video of the discussion, Rebuilding a New Minneapolis: from Tragedy to Transformation: Part 1, was recently released by the AHA.

The discussion was moderated by Leon Caldwell, senior director health equity strategy and innovation within the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IFDHE) at the AHA. Discussion participants included:

  • Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and CEO, Children’s Minnesota.
  • James Burroughs, SVP, community and government relations, chief equity and inclusion officer.
  • Lisa Shannon, president and CEO, Allina Health.
  • Jacqueline Thomas-Hall, VP, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Allina Health.
  • Dr. Mark Welton, executive vice president, chief medical officer, M Health Fairview.
  • Dr. Taj Mustapha, chief equity strategy officer, M Health Fairview.

During the discussion, Dr. Gorelick explained how Floyd’s murder put renewed attention and urgency on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

“What happened on May 25th, 2020, was it became personal for everybody. Because [Children’s Minnesota] being right there down the block from where George Floyd was killed, attending the rallies, being there, seeing the video, talking to people, doing all that listening, it became personal for every single person in our health system in a way that I think it hadn’t been before,” described Dr. Gorelick.

James emphasized the importance of listening to the community, including employees, after Floyd was killed.

“When people said, ‘James, we want you to hire more people of color.’ They weren’t just talking about in entry-level positions. They wanted to see the C-suite look differently. They wanted to see our physicians and our nurses look differently. They wanted to see the contact with the patients look differently. So, I think we have to be mindful of – [and] I think we are – that the solution, once we listen, has to be tied to what the problem is,” describes James.

The full video is available on the AHA’s website and YouTube page.

Dr. Gorelick, James and Dr. Welton will be participating in a follow-up panel discussion on George Floyd’s impact at the AHA’s Leadership Summit in Seattle on July 17.

Watch Rebuilding a New Minneapolis: From Tragedy to Transformation: Part 1