The Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity and its Residency Fellowship in Policy stand
with our communities in grief and indignation at the tragic killing of George Floyd and the persistent
racism in our country. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is further heightening the urgency of change, as
it brutally exposes racial inequities, as well as other forms of systemic injustice in our society.
The late Fitzhugh Mullan described himself as a civil rights doctor, and our program honors his legacy.
We will continue to work tirelessly with others to enhance the capacity and courage of physicians in
training to address these, and other, structural and social determinates of health. Through education
and exposure, we aspire to inspire our course participants to become change agents in Dr. Mullan’s
Let us highlight the final words of the Residency Fellowship in Health Policy co-founder, Dr. Fitzhugh
Mullan, as he reflected on his life as a civil rights doctor and the need for medical schools – and all
health professions schools – to reform.
" The civil rights doctor and many others have spent careers in pursuit of what we now call health
equity, but the world has not moved as far as he would have wanted. Racism is still very much
with us, as are massive and growing disparities in health and wealth. These disheartening
realities account for tens of thousands of deaths and uncounted days of unnecessary pain and
suffering every year. The civil rights doctor’s mission turned out to be changing the culture of
medicine, making the idea of health equity central to the character of medicine, and positioning
medicine as an agent of social as well as individual healing. Choices physicians make about
where and how to practice can bring more compassion to the system but, ultimately, it is the
U.S. medical education community that can do the most. Large, resourceful, and distributed, the
nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals have early and strong leverage to change the
culture of medicine. The civil rights doctor may have worked hard and with purpose but it is only
with a forceful, enduring, and community-wide commitment to social mission that medical
education will realize its full 21st century capabilities to build a healing profession."
– Fitzhugh Mullan, MD
The Civil Rights Doctor Revisited (Dec. 17, 2019). Academic Medicine