Fred Hutch’s new initiative to foster inclusivity in science and health through art and dialogue

The project is also a way for the Hutch to help lead social and scientific change in the Pacific Northwest, he said.

“As a major Seattle employer, our support for social justice in our city is essential to our role as citizens of Seattle and [the] His Puget [region]“said Lynch.

Leaders of the initiative envision the public art and community dialogue program as a new way for Hutch to connect with people who may feel the doors of science are closed to them, and break down more the barriers that can cut science off from the wider community.

“Engaging in this dialogue is a way to support the change we need to make as a society as we work towards greater inclusion and equity,” Buckley said.

A concrete commitment

The Hutch raised its Black Lives Matter banner and flag in June 2020 in support of racial justice and equality, and the first commissioned piece to be displayed will feature a message of solidarity created by a black artist.

“We remain committed to this effort. We recognize that by increasing the [Black Lives Matter] flag is also to convey someone else’s message. This is an opportunity for us to explore our message and communicate our message with as much strength and power as the Black Lives Matter flag communicates, in solidarity with the black community and with thoughtful reflection on our mission and purpose. said Buckley.

The new initiative is a chance to send a message that will resonate within the Fred Hutch and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance communities, and beyond, said John Masembe, SCCA patient navigator, who works with black and African American patients. and is a member of the committee. should consider submissions from black artists.

“We want to let you know that we hear you and see you. We embrace your culture, embrace your background and respect your values,” said Masembe, who is the son of Ugandan immigrants, and envisions a message that embraces the interdependence of Black, African American and African immigrant communities.

Participating artists will draw inspiration from their own experiences, communities and exchanges with Hutch researchers. As part of their creative process, the selected artists will meet and dialogue with scientists and supporters of science in all areas of the center’s administration. Buckley, Masembe and other project leaders, including Nikkita McPherson, Hutch Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Educator and Learning Specialist, hope this exchange of views will inspire new ideas for all. people involved, enhancing both artistic and scientific goals. The effort will be a collaboration between the artist and the Hutch scientific community.

“The beautiful part of this is that we’re creating it together, aren’t we?” said McPherson, who will facilitate dialogues between the artist and Hutch employees. “And we’re not making any assumptions. We have no preconceived ideas about what will come out of it. It’s about putting into practice what we’ve been talking about for over a year in terms of our anti-racism work and doing it through a medium that I love, which is art.

McPherson, who is also a member of the committee responsible for reviewing submissions from black artists, noted that the program’s ideals have deep roots at the Hutch. The Fred Hutch/University of Washington Cancer Consortium Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, or OCOE, conducts and facilitates research that connects with underrepresented and underserved communities across Washington to reduce inequities in care and cancer research. The HIV Vaccine Trials Network, headquartered in Hutch, has helped pioneer inclusive HIV vaccine science and served as a model for inclusive COVID-19 vaccine studies. Several of Hutch’s high school and undergraduate internships are designed to nurture young scientists from underrepresented backgrounds.

“To say we’re anti-racist is to say we’re ready to be together in the community,” McPherson said. “We have to be willing to dialogue, which is different from debate, which is different from conversation, which is different from discussion. And being in dialogue with each other means that we say that we will approach [injustice] and also create something together to move forward. … [With this new project,] I am happy about what could happen and optimistic about what could happen.

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