Well-being Word

February 4, 2022

The Well-being Word

February 4, 2022

Happy Black History Month and Happy Chinese New Year!

February marks the start of Black History Month, a month to celebrate and honor the many contributions, achievements, and legacies that Black people/African Americans have and continue to make, across society. In the Chinese New Year, we celebrate the beginning of this year of the Tiger with preparation for good fortune. Both of these moments bring inspiration through recognition of the beauty and strength in diversity, but acknowledge that there was struggle for freedom and equal opportunity. We acknowledge that there is a public health crisis in racism because it is a threat to social determinants of health. In this effort, we reflect on the plight, sacrifices and successes of Black people currently and throughout history. This allows us to be open to acknowledging signs of systemic racism which are deeply rooted, but can inspire us to seek Anti-Racism advocacy and education for our friends, colleagues, and patients. Washington University and the Department of Anesthesiology are committed to “inclusive excellence” and developing and sustaining a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all.

In this month, celebrate the new year with the diversity here at Washington University and in the Department of Anesthesiology but also challenge yourself to reflect and learn. Knowledge is power. Knowledge about the contributions of Black people is an important part of history. For Black History Month, we would like to provide space for dialogue and discussions to identify and address issues that affect not only Black/African American communities, but Washington University and the School of Medicine at large. We encourage you to attend events this month on campus including lectures, reflections, and wellness exercises, as well as to support local departmental efforts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and wellness.

Look through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s calendar, and choose something that sparks and inspires you! Be sure to follow @washumedodei on Twitter and @wusmmedschooldiversity on Facebook.

We are fortunate to work alongside and learn from many inspirational, impactful Black leaders and scholars here at Washington University and within the Department of Anesthesiology. Use this opportunity to listen to them, learn from them, and celebrate the abundance of knowledge, experience, and perspective they bring to our community. This month, and every month, we celebrate together the deep and rich history of Black culture, resilience, art, medicine, and excellence.

Erin Herrera

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice Chair for Well-Being

Enyo Ablordeppey, MD

Enyo Ablordeppey, MD, MPH, FACEP, FCCM
Associate Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Looking for Black-owned businesses to support in STL?

There are 30+ Black-owned businesses in the Delmar Loop. Businesses range from services to retail sales to restaurants and professional services. Learn more

Ladue News put together a list of diverse metro area restaurants, boutiques and other Black-owned businesses you can support. Read the article

February Wellness Walk

Come walk around one of the most historic and unique neighborhoods in St. Louis: The Hill! Great coffee, markets, and interesting architecture abound.

Black History Month Events

Brown School and Open Classroom have curated a series of lectures and panels during Black History Month.

Next up:

COVID-19 Variants & Vaccines: Where Are We Now?
Feb. 8 at 12:30 p.m.

Fact #1:
Why is Black History Month celebrated in February?

Black History Month is celebrated in February in the U.S. and Canada and was first established as “Negro History Week” in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Dr. Woodson chose February as it is the birth month of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, “both men being great American symbols of freedom.” Furthermore, Dr. Woodson’s vision was not to confine the contributions of Black/African Americans to one week; he believed that the initiative would become a tradition that celebrates and acknowledges Black/African American culture. 

Happy Physician Anesthesiologists Week!

Happy Physician Anesthesiologists Week! Thank you for contributing to the health and safety of our community.


Don’t forget that all members of our department now have access to Calm premium!

Follow this link to create an account and verify your WUSTL email address, then download the app and log in to enjoy unlimited access to your favorite resources.

Messages of Support

Departments, labs, and clinics from WUSM and BJH thank you for everything you are doing to care for the community, both inside and outside WashU, during the COVID pandemic. 

Click each image to view in high resolution.

Fact #2:
Who is the first Black physician to practice in the United States?

James McCune Smith, MD. James Smith was an American physician, abolitionist and author. He earned his medical degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and returned to the U.S. as the first black man to hold and practice with a medical degree. He was also the first black physician to establish and run a pharmacy. He used his training in medicine and statistics to refute common misconceptions about race, intelligence, medicine, and society in general.

Submit your photos – win a gift card!

We want to see your photos! Submit your photos with a short description via this form. Everyone who submits a photo will be entered into a monthly drawing for a Kaldi’s gift card!