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Chancellor Washington Reiterates Support for LGBTQ+ Community

June 18, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

June is the month of Pride, when the world’s LGBTQ+ communities join together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves—and this year, there is one more reason to celebrate. In Monday’s landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, a major victory for the LGBTQ+ community and for all advocates of human rights.  

During this time of historic unrest, when the fight for equality has never been more visible, Duke Health reaffirms our commitment to eliminate discrimination, promote equality and stand alongside our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community.

The Supreme Court ruling is a positive step, but there is still more work to be done. Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rolled back Affordable Care Act protections for transgender patients and opened the door for health care providers to refuse to treat patients for a variety of reasons—a change that is especially dangerous in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and in an era when LGBTQ+ people are experiencing discrimination at disproportionately higher rates when seeking medical care. This will not happen at Duke Health.

In the Duke Health family, we value diversity, so we have taken many concrete steps to better care for one another. Named one of the “Best Employers for Diversity” by Forbes and recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as a Healthcare Equality Index Leader, Duke has sought to eliminate discrimination and promote equality for LGBTQ+ members of our community.

Duke Health aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds and experiences flourishes. As you know, diversity is one of our core values, and if you feel we are not living up to it, please speak up.

Sincerely,

A. Eugene Washington, M.D.
Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University
President and CEO, Duke University Health System

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