June 18, 2020
Rush leaders shared the following message this week with staff members and students:
Rush University System for Health is always proud to stand with our LGBTQ+ patients, employees, students, faculty and community members alike. This holds true now more than ever. Rush has a longstanding history as a champion for the LGBTQ+ community, and we are committed to LGBTQ+ health care equality. That commitment is reflected in all three Rush system hospitals being designated as Leaders in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index.
We are writing to reaffirm that commitment given two major changes in the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community that occurred in the past week. Last Friday, the Trump Administration finalized a rule that removes transgender patients’ protection from discrimination by health care providers, hospitals and insurers. On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex, applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.
While two branches of the federal government made two very different decisions, one protecting LGBTQ+ individuals and one harmful to members of the community, we remain steadfast in keeping Rush a health care system where LGBTQ+ patients, employees, faculty and students are welcome, respected and treated equally. We support you, and we are committed to ensuring that you feel safe and welcome here.
At Rush, we are committed to everyone bringing their whole selves to work. Rush has affinity groups for our LGBTQ+ employees and students, participates in community hiring at the local WERQ LGBTQ+ Job Fair at the Center on Halsted and partners with organizations such as Chicago House.
As part of that commitment, we all will continue to follow our LGBTQ+ policy at Rush, which includes the following:
- Nondiscrimination and harassment policies to prohibit discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ patients, visitors, employees and students
- Visitation policies that include spouses and domestic or civil union partners of the same or different sex
- Transgender health care services for patients, employees and students
- Medical decision-making policies that extend to any agent appointed by a patient to make health care decisions, including a same-sex partner or family member
- Facilities that include both inclusive and gender-specific restrooms, allowing people to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity
- Respect for all patients’ wishes in matters of privacy and confidentiality, including our LGBTQ+ patients
Another important component of our commitment to LGBTQ+ health equality is Affirm: The Rush Center for Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Health. This comprehensive center provides safe, accessible, affirming and multidisciplinary wrap-around care from across the Rush University System for Health to those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Lately, the current state of the nation and our complicated history have prompted a great deal of overdue and necessary discussions about privilege and how it affects our lives differently. Receiving affirming care should not be a privilege for a select group, but all too often, it is not available to many in the LGBTQ+ community. Here at Rush, we recognize that it must be the norm, and we’re working to ensure that it is the norm.
This month, please join us in affirming our LGBTQ+ Rush community by helping to celebrate Pride Month, which recognizes and celebrates the positive impact that LGBTQ+ individuals and the LGBTQ+ community have made locally, nationally and internationally. Let us not forget to honor the beauty of this community, the incredible strength that exists within it and the ways in which we all can continue to join together to create community and support for one another.
Rush thrives within a culture of inclusion, which means all are welcome here. Excellence is for everyone.
Dr. Omar Lateef, CEO, Rush University Medical Center
Dr. Sherine Gabriel, President, Rush University, and Chief Academic Officer, Rush University System for Health
Dr. Ranga Krishnan, CEO, Rush University System for Health