Yesterday afternoon a group opposed to gender-affirming health care began a social media campaign on Twitter that targets the UW Health Gender Services Program. Currently the most direct impact is on our colleagues who work in the involved clinics. We are working closely with our partners at the university, UW Health, and the UW Police Department to ensure their safety and wellbeing, as well as that of our patients.
We unequivocally support our health care professionals and staff in providing patient-centered, evidence-based gender-affirming care. And we fully support all in our SMPH community who identify as LBGTQ+.
Everyone deserves to be respected, and our school is completely committed to providing a sense of belonging for all. This shared commitment is a hallmark of our SMPH community.
Destructive campaigns such as this seek to spread misinformation and advance a damaging agenda. As a public institution of higher education, we must comply with legal requirements that protect the freedom of speech, even deeply offensive speech directed to institutional social media accounts. While we understand that our legal obligations to protect free speech can generate tension with our institutional goals of inclusion, we remain fully committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for everyone.
If any faculty, staff, or learner experiences or witnesses an act of hate, bias, or discrimination, I strongly encourage them to report it. Please make use of resources for employees and students that support emotional wellbeing. Anyone who receives a direct threat should send it to the UW Police Department at 608-262-2957 or UW Health Security Services at 608-890-5555 and, if applicable, local law enforcement. Anyone who feels like they are in immediate danger should call 911.
Thank you for coming together and caring for one another, as we advance our missions, guided by our core values.
Robert N. Golden, MD
Robert Turell Professor in Medical Leadership
Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health
Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs
University of Wisconsin–Madison