February 6, 2017

GUEST ROOM | Braving the Storm Together

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With so much uncertainty in our world today, it is important that we create places at Cornell that foster a sense of safety.  Places may feel safe because of the people or because of the energy. Some may be places of reflection and some are places of healing.  A comfy common room.  A classroom.  A rally or protest.  A movie theatre.  A spot at the top of Libe Slope.  An advisor’s office.  Sage Chapel.  An office in Anabel Taylor Hall, the Women’s Resource Center, LGBT Resource Center, Cornell Minds Matter, or the Dean of Students office.

We at Gannett/Cornell Health strive to provide high quality care to everyone, and we hope you come to know us as a welcoming and safe resource, too.  Providing high quality care to everyone means understanding the specific needs and circumstances of each individual.  Age, race, sex, gender, religion, sexuality, spirituality, disability status, socioeconomic status, country of origin: we know from research and practice that these factors can subtly and profoundly impact a person’s health.  Unfortunately, recent events have caused many people to feel threatened on the basis of those very factors.

Gannett/Cornell Health stands against hatred, bias and violence of any kind, and we maintain our commitment to promoting health and fostering healing with openness, inclusion and care. In this time of uncertainty, we wish to be clear about the principles of our care for this community, which is based on our fundamental understanding of the most important determinants of health for each person.

Yes, we do ask you about yourself when you come to us. We recognize that answering may take courage. We aim to create the space to receive this information — information that simultaneously reflects the deepest aspects of your identity and the foundation of your health and wellbeing. We will not use this information to hurt or marginalize.  Instead, we seek to offer hope and healing.

We strive to provide high quality care to people of all nationalities, races, immigration statuses, citizenship, documentation status and country of origin. If we ask about recent travel, it is to understand whether communicable illnesses related to travel might be a cause of your symptoms, not to stereotype.

We strive to provide high quality care to people of all religions and spiritual beliefs.  If we ask about religion or spiritual beliefs, it is so that we can more fully understand what cultural considerations are important to you, not to push you away.

We strive to provide high quality care to people of all sexualities, sexual orientations and genders.  If we ask about sexual exposures, it is to determine what testing and treatment is appropriate for your situation, not to judge.

We strive to provide high quality care to people in our community with disabilities. We would seek to understand how a disability affects an individual in order to help that person fully engage with the Cornell community, not to assume or intrude.

We strive to provide high quality care to all people regardless of ability to pay.  Our health insurance plan and health fee cover the cost of testing and treating the many health conditions present in our community.  We aim to make high quality care accessible and equitable to all people, not to shut anyone out.

We care deeply about your safety and the safety of those around you. We may not be able to solve or correct the circumstances that lead to your difficulty, especially in these troubling times. Nevertheless, you have our commitment that we will hear them, hold them with you and help you strengthen your own capacity to brave the storm.  The truth is, you are helping us brave it, too.


Dr. Anne Jones is Interim Director of Medical Services at Gannett Health Services (soon to be Cornell Health).  She is a graduate of the Cornell University College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].