Selected Speeches

Interprofessional Forum on Ethics and Religion in Health Care

Nov. 7, 2019
Westminster Hall

Thank you, everyone. I thank Dr. Franklin for inviting me to this forum. It’s the third one I’ve been able to make, and it’s always so rewarding when I do. It’s gratifying to see so many people invested in providing ethical, compassionate care.

I know how committed you are to examining your practice. I know that you look for new ideas and different perspectives, so you can give your patients and clients and worshippers what they need from you. This continued learning is essential for all of us—and it’s essential that we do it together, across disciplines and professions. Because this sharing is central to our development as professionals, as people, and as allies.

And at this moment in time, we need allies more than ever. We’ve seen what the marginalization—the “other-ing”—of vulnerable communities does to the people who need us the most. We’ve seen benign neglect—that isn’t so benign at all. And we’ve seen behavior that’s far more malignant.

We’ve seen it with communities of color, and immigrant communities, and, yes, LGBTQ communities. We’ve seen the needs of LGBTQ individuals be ignored—or worse. We’ve seen them homogenized into a whole that doesn’t represent them. We’ve seen barriers—in policy and practice—that prevent or inhibit access to the kind of personalized care that all of our patients deserve. Most of all, we’ve seen the catastrophic consequences of all these things: health outcomes that are far worse for LGBTQ populations than for straight and cis-gendered populations.

That we want to do something about this is good. That we want to start a movement for true and thoughtful access, equity and inclusion is even better. Thank you for being part of this movement. Thank you for insisting upon high-quality health care—for all.

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