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Honoring MLK’s legacy

ARTHUR BREESE

Danville

On Jan. 20, Geisinger joins the nation in honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his courageous, inspiring crusade for civil rights and equality, including the right to accessible, quality healthcare for all.

While best remembered for his efforts to end discrimination in education, secure voting rights for disenfranchised people and promote economic justice, Dr. King considered fair and equitable access to healthcare crucial to the achievement of a truly compassionate, inclusive society.

Speaking at the 1966 Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, he told the audience, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

At Geisinger, we share Dr. King’s vision of a healthcare system that makes better health easier for everyone — dating back to 1915, when Abigail Geisinger founded a hospital to serve the residents of rural, underserved Pennsylvania communities.

And through the years, Geisinger has steadfastly maintained and expanded upon that commitment.

It’s why we still make house calls for patients who can’t come to us, through Geisinger at Home.

It’s why we created the Fresh Food Farmacy, which provides qualifying food-insecure families with healthy food and education to prevent diabetes.

And it’s why the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine offers a tuition-free medical education to students who agree to use their skills in our communities after graduation, so we keep great doctors right here at Geisinger

Respect for individual differences is also built into our core values of caring, excellence, safety, learning and innovation — words we put into action.

In 2019, seven Geisinger hospitals earned perfect scores on the Healthcare Equality Index, the national tool that evaluates healthcare providers’ policies and practices related to inclusion of our LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

As we reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, we at Geisinger are reminded of the need to continue innovating and expanding access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for everyone, in keeping with Dr. King’s goals.

That’s our legacy – and our pledge today and every day.

(Arthur Breese at director of Diversity and Inclusion at Geisinger Health.)

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