Measure for Measure

“Dishonor not your eye

By throwing it on any other object,

Till you have heard me in my true complaint,

And given me justice, justice, justice, justice!”

– Isabella, Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare

Over the past several months, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affect people of color. We witnessed the violent death of George Floyd while held in custody by Minneapolis Police Department members. In previous weeks, years and centuries we have witnessed and/or learned of countless numbers of individuals of color who have had fatal encounters with law enforcement in unsubstantiated circumstances.  Racism is a public health crisis. Racism causes economic calamity. Racism is an American tragedy.

These injustices deeply affect us, our colleagues, our patients and especially our communities of color. We extend our compassion and condolence to members of our DOVS family and community experiencing pain and grief. We acknowledge, however, that our words and good intentions are not enough.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences mission to save sight globally will never be realized without acknowledging and actively combatting racism and discrimination in all of its forms.

We have a shared responsibility to act now to dismantle individual and institutional racism. We encourage you to use the tools University of Wisconsin already offers, such as the Office of Human Resources online course, Bystander Intervention: Stepping In with Care and Confidence, and by sharing your DOVS-specific ideas for change with each other.  Additionally, we endorse the steps of action proposed by the Association of American Medical Colleges:

  • We must acknowledge and speak out against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias in our institutions and in our communities.
  • We must stand in solidarity with communities of color and speak out against unjust and inhumane pervasive acts of violence and oppression.
  • We must demonstrate empathy and compassion, and acknowledge the pain and grief that the families and communities of the victims are experiencing.
  • We must take the responsibility of educating ourselves with proven efforts such as anti-racist and unconscious bias training.
  • We must be deliberate and partner with local communities, public health agencies, and municipal governments to dismantle structural racism and end police brutality.
  • We must engage in interracial dialogue that leads to greater understanding of our shared humanity to help dispel misrepresentations that dehumanize marginalized groups.
  • We must move from rhetoric to action to eliminate inequities in our care, research, and in the education of tomorrow’s leaders in ophthalmology and vision science.

Our highest callings in life are that of human being, neighbor, and citizen.  Please join us in morally and intentionally creating a more just community and nation.


Terri Young, Linda Callow, Kimberly Stepien, Amy Walker, Curtis Brandt, Andy Thliveris, Marilyn Kay, Mark Lucarelli and Jessica Arendas