While this message comes to you from the President of the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB), please allow me to take a point of personal privilege to share my individual perspective as I struggle with complex emotions in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

As a Black man and the father of two sons, Floyd’s senseless death feels personal and immediate. It should not be controversial for me to express sadness at the loss of life, or to note that our society still has much work to do to ensure equity in its criminal justice system.

Because I am a Black man, you may make certain assumptions about my views. But my race is not the only thing that defines me. I am a physician, a father, a leader in my hospital and a Medical Board member. These things shape who I am and what I think about the world. The same is true of every person, regardless of the color of their skin.

I would respectfully request that, as you continue to watch current events unfold, you pause to reflect and consider that you may not have all the information needed to form an educated opinion. Personally, I think we are all best served by observing, listening and doing our best to understand the underlying issues rather than rushing to judgment or acting based on emotion.  While the issues are complex, the underlying principles of justice and equality are indisputable and cannot be compromised, or we risk the collapse of our civilized society.  Most of you reading this message are physicians and physician assistants.  I hope that we can work together in all venues – practice settings, health care systems, our medical education and training programs, or the regulatory world – to seek that equality. 

Thank you for your attention. Feel free to share your own perspectives with me by emailing forum@ncmedboard.org. NCMB staff will make sure I personally see your message, and I will do my best to respond.

NCMB’s Chief Executive Officer recently sent a message to Board staff reaffirming the organization’s commitment to its core values. I invite you to read it here.

by Dr. Bryant A. Murphy

Dr. Bryant A. Murphy is President of the North Carolina Medical Board. Dr. Murphy practices medicine at UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill in the Department of Anesthesiology, where he is the Vice Chairman for Clinical Operations. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the UNC School of Medicine.

{Original article published on the NC Medical Board website.}