Jay Jacobson, MD, MACP, is a Professor Emeritus at the University Of Utah School of Medicine. Trained at the U. of Florida, the CDC, and the U of Utah, he joined the Division of Infectious Disease in 1978. The disturbing professional reaction to the groups affected by the AIDS epidemic made him seek deeper understanding of medical ethics at the U of Chicago. There, unexpectedly, he discovered the power of narrative to enable self-reflection and expand limited knowledge of others. He returned and with multi- disciplinary colleagues established a Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities. He has taught medical students in Africa, and worked with Rotary International to eradicate polio in India. He served on ethics committees for the AMA and the American College of Physicians. He was on the Governor’s Commission for Pandemic Preparedness and the Utah Hospital Association’s Crisis Standards of Care Committee. He authored or coauthored many articles and the book, The Patient as Victim and Vector: Ethics and Infectious Diseases. In 2018, while President of the United Jewish Federation of Utah, he grew concerned about a growing epidemic of hatred and violence directed at Jews and other minorities. He launched a Task force on Antisemitism and Community Relations and invited leaders of all vulnerable groups to become Partners against Hate. In 2019, the horrific hate crime in Pittsburgh and a near fatal attack on a presumed Mexican youth in Salt Lake City and impelled them to enlist clergy of many faiths and to advocate successfully for a long delayed Hate Crimes Law in Utah. Dr. Jacobson organized community forums with local and national experts to raise public awareness. He urged School Boards and Principals to support targeted students and engage all students in programs that help them recognize and manage bias and prevent its progression to hate incidents and crimes. In 2022, The Utah Jewish Federation invited Its Partners against Hate and elected and appointed city, county, and state officials to join Dr. Jacobson as a Utah delegation to the Eradicate Hate Summit. That experience was informative and transformative. It led to closer, more engaged collaboration, more committed leaders, and to slow but steady progress.
The effort to eradicate hate requires the active participation of every component of our society, to include governments, the private sector, communities of faith and indeed every aspect of civil society. There is no more urgent task in front of us. The organizers of the Eradicate Hate Global Summit are doing the United States and the world an enormous service by tackling hatred and extremism with a focus on honest dialogue and conversation, genuine learning and practical solutions. This will not happen overnight, but the Pittsburgh community’s leadership in this effort is genuinely inspiring and motivating.