New Graduation Awards Praise Anti-Racism Changemakers

New Graduation Awards Praise Anti-Racism Changemakers

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is proud to announce three new graduation awards beginning in the 2016–17 academic year. Starting with the Class of 2017, graduating medical students who have demonstrated a commitment to mitigating racism and bias in our school, community, and health care system, will have the opportunity to be conferred one of the following three awards:

Dr. David K. McDonogh Award for Diversity in Medical Education
This prize is awarded to the graduating medical student who has worked diligently to increase diversity in medicine and on our campus and has worked to create and support an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued.
Award for the Promotion of Social and Racial Justice
This prize is awarded to a graduating medical student who exemplifies the view of medicine as a socially responsible human service profession and has demonstrated engagement in and commitment to deconstructing and mitigating racism and bias in the our school, community, and health care system.
Patricia Levinson Award for the Advancement and Inclusion of Women in Medicine
This Award honors a medical student who has contributed significantly to the advancement of women leaders in medicine and science and has worked toward gender equity in academic medicine. The awardee has a track record of advocating for the development of women leaders as well as enhancing the professional environment for women in medicine.

A Sanctuary Campus

A Sanctuary Campus

The Mount Sinai Health System, which includes the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) and seven hospital campuses, is a safe haven where patients, students, and employees are free to receive care, learn, and work without fear of discrimination, harassment or intimidation.

In light of recent concerns about the status of persons who are undocumented and/or have DACA status, we want to affirm our full support for protecting their right to the best medical care, education, and other opportunities that our country has to offer. In keeping with this commitment:

  • We will neither allow immigration officials on our campuses nor provide them with information about the immigration status of our patients, students, or employees, without appropriate legal process, such as a warrant or subpoena.
  • Our Security Officers will not contact, detain, or question an individual solely on the basis of suspected undocumented immigration status or to discover their immigration status, except as required by law.
  • We will not treat medical or graduate school applications of undocumented students any differently than those of students who are United States citizens or permanent residents.
  • If the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is terminated or substantially curtailed, we pledge to continue providing financial aid and other support to undocumented students, regardless of their immigration status.

Mount Sinai policies offer extensive protections against discrimination and harassment based on race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other basis protected by law. These protections apply to all members of our community. This statement is consistent with the rich tradition of Mount Sinai’s “house of noble deeds,” which was established over 150 years ago to protect and care for our city’s neediest citizens, and continues to do so to this day.

These Times

These Times

The past few weeks have been intense. We continue to face the challenge of addressing mental health and well-being, while coping now with a national landscape that has increasingly normalized racist and biased rhetoric and behavior. We at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai do not tolerate or condone behavior that is discriminatory.

At times like these we must, more than ever before, rely on each other for the kind of tolerance, respect, and civil discourse that we wish we could see in every sphere of life. We want you to be the workforce that changes the lives of patients, advances science, offers our society the opportunity for health equity for all and to pave the way to eliminate the structural systems that have burdened our country and our medical school community.

This will continue to be an enormous challenge given how embattled many of us feel, and how raw emotions are at this time.

We will continue to do everything in our power to maintain a learning environment that is not only safe, but also nurturing and supportive of everyone’s personal growth. We are committed to the personal and professional success of each of you and we work hard to ensure that we do our best in this space. This work requires a full commitment from and participation of our student body, faculty and staff. Each and every one of us has to be fully invested in this endeavor. At this time of intense social uncertainty, our words and actions have an impact that cannot be underestimated.

We need to be mindful of how we engage, respect others’ ideas and points of view and lean in with curiosity, not debate. We need to care about each other and care for each other. Divisiveness will end up playing into the worst aspects of what we’re seeing happen around us. Our only strength is in solidarity.

In the coming weeks we plan to bring students together in venues that we hope will help us all process recent events and set a standard for how we want to move forward as a community.



In response to Dr. Tamika Cross’s encounter with bias and discrimination while aboard a Delta flight on October 9, over the past couple of weeks, we created a declaration to share solidarity with Dr. Cross and to acknowledge #WhatDoctorsLookLike.

Our statement is now published on Medium and this is an invitation for medical students and physicians around the country to co-sign. Please take a moment to stand up against intolerance, racism and bias by completing the form at the bottom of our letter so we can add your name.

Please share this petition widely.

Reena Karani, MD, MHPE
Ann-Gel Palermo, MPH, DrPH
Lisa Eiland, MD
Jessie Fields, MD
Michelle Sainté
MéLisa Best

Wellness Includes Equity

Wellness Includes Equity

As you know, a task force has been formed to explore wellness in our community and to reflect on the adequacy of well-being resources and mental health support for our trainees.

Directly impacting wellness in our learners is the larger community and country that we call home. We are living in a tense time; the media reports every day on escalating tension, more frequent bias-associated tragedies, and hate-filled rhetoric. The issues of bias, racism, xenophobia and misogyny directly impact our students, employees, faculty and patients as they impact everybody in our country.

We believe our work around wellness is intimately attached to our work around anti-racism, undoing bias, and promoting equity in our learning space and our clinical arenas. We write today to reaffirm our intent to address these intersecting issues.

We are committed to improving wellness in our profession and in our student body. We hope that you will join us in this effort and look forward to working closely with you as we move forward in this work.

David Muller
Shashi Anand
Peter Gliatto
Reena Karani
Ann-Gel Palermo
Valerie Parkas
Michelle Sainte
David Thomas

Top Picks—A Suggested Reading List

Top Picks—A Suggested Reading List

We would like to share a reading list that we believe can increase awareness and a different level of understanding of racism and bias. We are also interested in hearing from you. If you have suggestions of additional text, please feel free to send them our way.

The list will be available on the Levy Library’s Guides, and we will have a table set up in the library highlighting some of our top five books, and you will be able to borrow them at any time.

Dr. Muller’s Top 5:

  1. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness—Michelle Alexander
  2. The Souls of Black Folk— W.E.B. Dubois
  3. Fatal Invention—Dorothy Roberts, JD
  4. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present—Harriet A. Washington
  5. Americanah—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Dr. Karani’s Top 5:

  1. The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, And Reconciliation After The Genome—Alondra Nelson
  2. Body & Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination—Alondra Nelson
  3. The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Differences in West Africa— Duana Fulwiley
  4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks— Rebecca Skloot
  5. The Nature of Race: how scientists think and teach about human difference—Ann Morning

Dr. Palermo’s Top 5 (At the moment):

  1. The War Against All Puerto Ricans—Nelson Denis
  2. Dog Whistle Politics: How coded racial appeals have reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class—Ian Haney Lopez
  3. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present—Harriet A. Washington
  4. Speaking Treason Fluently, Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male—Tim Wise
  5. Seeing White: An Introduction to White Privilege and Race—Jean Halley, Amy Eshelman, and Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya


  1. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies—Jared Diamond
  2. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League—Jeff Hobbs
  3. The Mismeasure of Man—Stephen Jay Gould
  4. Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People—Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
  5. Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine—Damon Tweedy
  6. A People’s History of the United States—Howard Zinn
  7. Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America—David K. Shipler
  8. Breathing Race Into The Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics—Lundy Braun
  9. The Dignity of Difference—Jonathan Sacks
  10. White Like Me—Tim Wise
  11. Dear White America—Tim Wise
  12. Pedagogy of the Oppressed—Paulo Freire
  13. Dog Whistle Politics: How coded racial appeals have reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class—Ian Haney Lopez
  14. Between the World and Me—Ta-Nehisi Coates
  15. Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black and Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office—Frederick Douglass Opie


We encourage you join in the discussion. We look forward to working with students to continue our efforts to eliminate racism bias in our learning environment.