University Health Services medical team acknowledges that the healthcare system in the United States has systems and processes built into it that disenfranchise, disadvantage, alienate, and oppress people and populations living without privilege.
Racism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, ableism, xenophobia, and sexism are not just patterns of thought and behavior that individual people can wield, but also patterns contained in systems that run automatically and create hurt and pain every day.
We are working to reduce harm and improve belonging by looking for oppression in our systems and removing it.
Here are examples of the work we’ve committed to so far to reduce oppression from our systems and processes:
- We will verify your pronouns and name at every visit. Your gender identity may change, and we want to make sure we address you correctly at every visit.
- All our medical intake forms will be gender neutral. Your risk factors for sexually transmitted infections, for example, have nothing to do with your gender identity or sexual orientation, but rather with your body parts and how you use them with other people’s body parts. So that’s how we’ll ask.
- We will weigh you “closed” (meaning you don’t see the number on the scale) at your visit as a default, unless you ask us to show you the number. Your weight is merely a reflection of your body’s relationship with gravity. Interpreting how your body size and shape support your health is something you and your provider can talk about together, if it is relevant. We will also respect your right to not be weighed if that is your choice.
- We will not use the national calculation for kidney function that includes a race-based correction with racist implications. We have other ways to accurately measure your kidney function. The National Kidney Foundation has more information.
- We will not use a pulmonary function measurement device called a spirometer that includes a race-based correction in the automatic calculation of lung function. We have other ways to assess your pulmonary function.
- We will ensure our patient education materials are free of harmful and oppressive messaging. We are removing gender references from our posters. We are removing references to rashes as “pink” or “red,” as this is often not the case for all skin tones. We are adding visuals that represent a fuller spectrum of bodies.
- We will expand our Transgender and Gender Diverse Care service so all UO students needing gender-affirming hormone therapy have access to the care they need, when they need it, without unnecessary barriers. As options for GAHT reduce in the United States, we are determined to expand.
- We are removing the term “walk-in” from our scheduling systems. Instead, we will use the term “drop-in.”
- We will have language interpretation service (from a real person) available through a telephone service in every exam room and point of contact for students who need to communicate in another language for their medical care.
We are also working to educate ourselves on our own implicit biases and our own privilege, and how this impacts our work as medical professionals. We are committed to regular training sessions for our medical and clinical staff to ensure we have a common understanding of implicit bias, privilege, and systemic oppression.
We are actively seeking to expand the diversity within our medical and clinical staff so UO students have access to clinicians with shared lived experiences.
We (like the medical system as a whole) have a long way to go. We will make mistakes. We will miss things. Let us know when this happens so we can apologize, correct, and do better next time.
We would welcome any feedback or suggestions for ways we can improve what we do and how we do it.
Your Medical Services team