News and Announcements

Black History Month February 2023

Februrary is Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. It honors the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape the nation. Black History Month celebrates the rich cultural heritage, triumphs and adversities that are an indelible part of our country's history.

Learn about the Origins of Black History Month from The Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Watch a video for Black History Month:

ASALH 2023 Black History Month Theme: Black Resistance

African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings since our arrival upon these shores. These efforts have been to advocate for a dignified self-determined life in a just democratic society in the United States and beyond the United States political jurisdiction. The 1950s and 1970s in the United States was defined by actions such as sit-ins, boycotts, walk outs, strikes by Black people and white allies in the fight for justice against discrimination in all sectors of society from employment to education to housing. Black people have had to consistently push the United States to live up to its ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Systematic oppression has sought to negate much of the dreams of our griots, like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and our freedom fighters, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Septima Clark, and Fannie Lou Hamer fought to realize. Black people have sought ways to nurture and protect Black lives, and for autonomy of their physical and intellectual bodies through armed resistance, voluntary emigration, nonviolence, education, literature, sports, media, and legislation/politics. Black led institutions and affiliations have lobbied, litigated, legislated, protested, and achieved success.
Continue reading about this year's theme here

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Often referred to as "The Black National Anthem," Lift Every Voice and Sing was a hymn written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900. His brother, John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), composed the music for the lyrics. A choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal,  first performed the song in public in Jacksonville, Florida to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

At the turn of the 20th century, Johnson's lyrics eloquently captured the solemn yet hopeful appeal for the liberty of Black Americans. Set against the religious invocation of God and the promise of freedom, the song was later adopted by NAACP and prominently used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. 

Explore Black History With These Podcasts:

Witness History: Black History
Launched by BBC as an extension of its Witness History podcast series, Witness Black History features interviews with people who were actually present for, or have close ties to key moments in Black and civil rights history.
Historically Black
As part of The Washington Post's coverage of the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture, people submitted dozens of objects that make up their own lived experiences of black history, creating a "people's museum" of personal objects, family photos and more. The Historically Black podcast brings those objects and their stories to life through interviews, archival sound and music.

Honoring Betsey, Lucy, and Anarcha Days of Recognition

Read more about Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha here
From the Dean's Desk

Dear Faculty, Staff, Residents and Students,

I am pleased to announce that Patricia Whitley-Williams, MD, has been appointed to senior associate dean for inclusion and equity. Dr. Whitley-Williams’ appointment is an essential first step in enhancing DEI priorities and support throughout all of our medical school missions.

Dr. Whitley-Williams, professor and director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Disease in the Department of Pediatrics, has served as the associate dean for inclusion and diversity since 2017. As a thought leader and chief strategist for educating and raising awareness toward a more inclusive workplace, she fosters a welcoming and safe environment where all faculty, staff, and trainees can excel and achieve their goals.

As senior associate dean, Dr. Whitley-Williams will advance the vision of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and lead programs that promote our medical school’s commitment to equitable learning, teaching, and working; will foster an inclusive and diverse culture and environment; and collaborate with our partners at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers University and RWJBarnabas Health to address disparities and promote health equity, and implement a new strategic plan for diversity.

Dr. Whitley-Williams, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, has dedicated her career to medical education, improving access to medical care for all children, and advocating for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She served as chair of the Department of Pediatrics for 10 years before her appointment as associate dean. Under her leadership, the department developed and conducted statewide and nationally recognized clinical programs in HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, rheumatology, genetics, neonatology, and pediatric cardiology, among others, as well as a designated pediatric trauma center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and advocacy and education programs conducted by the Boggs Center, New Jersey's federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She also is the immediate past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, where she led national advocacy efforts for promoting the use of immunizations across the life spectrum to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Whitley-Williams and providing her your support as we continue to build an environment that is all-inclusive and equitable for our patients, faculty, staff and trainees.


Amy P. Murtha, MD