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Johns Hopkins Medicine's Commitment to the LGBT Community

October 7, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Johns Hopkins Medicine’s commitment to the LGBT community is strong and unambiguous.

In July, we wrote to you in support of the LGBT community and Baltimore Pride celebration. In that message, we highlighted the policies, practices and programs at Johns Hopkins Medicine that reflect our deep commitment to providing a welcoming and supportive environment—and the best possible care—for all LGBT individuals who work for or seek help from Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

In recent months, some have questioned our position, both inside and outside the institution, not because of any change in our practice or policy, but because of the varied individual opinions expressed publicly by members of the Johns Hopkins Medicine community. We have taken these concerns seriously. We want to reiterate our institutional support for LGBT individuals and update you on the work we are doing to further that commitment. 

We also restate that as an academic medical research institution, academic freedom is among our fundamental principles—essential to the self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry, and a privilege that we safeguard. When individuals associated with Johns Hopkins exercise the right of expression, they do not speak on behalf of the institution. As set forth in the Johns Hopkins University Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom, academic freedom “is designed to afford members of the community the broadest possible scope for unencumbered expression, investigation, analysis, and discourse.” 

Johns Hopkins Medicine highly values and is fully committed to supporting LGBT individuals. We have developed practices and policies consistent with this commitment, including:

  • All Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins University nondiscrimination policies now include gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
  • We promote culturally competent care for every person we are privileged to treat, including training our staff members, faculty members and students in issues related to LGBT health, and improving our capacity to deliver an extraordinary experience for every patient.
  • We have expanded our health care benefits to cover transgender health services, including surgical procedures, with no lifetime maximum benefit.
  • Johns Hopkins Children’s Center physicians helped lead an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that authored the 2013 policy statement that supports access to clinically and culturally competent health care for all LGBT and questioning youth.
  • In field and clinical research, Johns Hopkins University faculty members have advanced understanding of LGBT health and well-being, contributing to the important work of counteracting the negative effects of bias, discrimination and stigma that can hinder LGBT communities from seeking and receiving the best health care.
  • In the past year, two Johns Hopkins Medicine task forces on LGBT health care have been charged with developing new paths for our institutions to further approaches to evidence-based, patient-centered care for LGBT individuals.
  • We have committed to and will soon begin providing gender-affirming surgery as another important element of our overall care program, reflecting careful consideration over the past year of best practices and the appropriate provision of care for transgender individuals.

The Johns Hopkins Medicine commitment to the LGBT community is sincere, strong and unwavering. We are intent on creating an environment and approaches to health care that are in keeping with our commitment and are in the best interest of our entire community—patients, faculty members, students and employees.

Sincerely,

Paul B. Rothman, M.D.
Dean of the Medical Faculty
CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Ronald R. Peterson
President, Johns Hopkins Health System
EVP, Johns Hopkins Medicine

In support:

Michael J. Klag, M.D., M.P.H.
Dean
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Patricia M. Davidson, Ph.D., M.Ed., R.N.
Dean and Professor
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing