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Reflections from the President - July 2020


Cruz Headshot

Since George Floyd’s violent death while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25, 2020, the world has responded with protests and demands for change in the established systems of oppression and racism that have allowed such vicious acts to occur. It has also caused many of us to reflect on our own biases and the systems of institutional racism in which we live and work.

As injury and violence prevention researchers, we know that people of color experience higher rates of injury and violence-related death. The observed health disparities are likely a direct result of racism and the persistent inequities not only in the criminal justice system, but also in access to healthcare, education, housing, transportation and employment. These systemic inequities are associated with increased risk for injuries, violence and a host of other negative health outcomes. As a field, we can improve our research by actively studying the effects of institutional racism on injury and violence and by presenting data in a manner that incorporates the environmental and structural context in which people live, work and play when discussing associations with race and ethnicity.

As an organization, we need to consider the under-representation of Black, Latino/a/x, and Native American researchers within the field of injury and violence in general, and within SAVIR. This speaks directly to the impact of systemic inequities within our systems, including academia, and needs to be better understood and comprehensively addressed.

SAVIR is currently taking steps to increase diversity, equity and inclusion, grounded in an anti-racism framework. We are also building on previous efforts to improve the science of injury and violence research, and we are developing a comprehensive anti-racism strategy for the organization. You will hear in the coming months about relevant research articles by SAVIR members, training opportunities, abstract submission criteria for conferences, recruitment efforts, and other strategies that SAVIR is implementing to address this critical issue. We have convened a SAVIR Anti-racism Interest Group to lead this effort – you can learn more about the interest group in the article below.

As we move forward, it is incumbent upon all of us to actively work to address these deep-seated, systemic injustices within our communities and institutions. We can do this through our positions as institutional leaders, as researchers, as mentors and as citizens. We encourage all of you to reflect on your work in the field of injury and violence research and to commit to taking steps to reduce racism and inequities and improve our research methods and dissemination. We also invite you to take an active role in SAVIR to ensure that we are an organization that welcomes, encourages, and mentors researchers of color.

Thank you for doing what you can to be part of the solution.

Stay safe and healthy,

Theresa H Cruz, PhD
President, SAVIR


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