2020 has been a year like no other. Exacerbated by a merciless combination of health, financial and social crises, an already contentious presidential election has polarized parties and created new questions about the direction our country is headed.
With much at stake as a third wave of COVID-19 emerges throughout the nation and around the world, politics, to many, feels more personal than ever before. The uncertainty is unsettling, adding to the stress our community is already feeling. While the presidential candidate voted into office certainly can and will, both directly and indirectly, have an impact on OHSU, I want to take this opportunity to reassure our community that regardless of the outcome, OHSU stands resolute in its values, and will not waver from our duty and responsibility in supporting the health and well-being of all Oregonians.
Indeed, while many matters related to science, education, health care and social justice have become politicized, we, as an institution, must stay focused on the importance of our work.
We are a community of healers. We understand the power of scientific inquiry and discovery and their role in tackling the world’s most pressing health care problems. We know structural racism contributes to health disparities, and we are dedicated to achieving health equity for Black, Indigenous, Latinx/Hispanic, and other people of color. OHSU will continue to support transgender and gender-nonconforming communities, and will continue leading the way for equity and inclusivity for our LGBTQ patients and employees. Accordingly, these values will drive our goal to become an anti-racist, multi-cultural institution, whether we have President Trump at the helm, or we shift to a Biden administration.
The political party in power may or may not change, but our core values remain. To most effectively work toward our ideals and to best serve Oregonians, we must stay centered on our mission, working together as one university. I would also like to stress the importance of taking care of ourselves as we watch what unfolds today. This will likely be an emotional and stressful time for many, so please use OHSU’s wellness resources as needed, and continue to support each other in the days, weeks and months ahead.
I look forward to the future with hope, and I thank the OHSU community for living our institution’s values day in and day out.
Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS