Employees call on health system to respond to Gaza conflict

Advocate Health employees protested the health system's response to the conflict in Gaza, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

About 90 people gathered May 17 in front of Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., for a silent demonstration to bring attention to what they called a "double standard" in how the Charlotte, N.C.-based health system has addressed the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza compared to other crises, according to the story. Nearly 3,000 people have signed a petition calling on the health system to craft a public statement on the conflict with community input and to provide aid to Gaza.

"People no longer feel they belong at Advocate," Yasser Said, MD, the Advocate Health internist who started the petition, told the newspaper. "We love Advocate. ... We want it to be what we thought it was with Black Lives Matter and Ukraine."

Employees told the news outlet that certain activities have been discouraged by bosses, including wearing a "Palestine" sweater, donating to the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund in lieu of holiday gifts to colleagues, and mentioning their affiliation with the health system while discussing the conflict.

"We stand with all those impacted by the war in Gaza and Israel, including our patients, teammates and communities," an Advocate spokesperson told Becker's. "As caregivers and healers, this violence weighs heavily on us all and we will continue to foster an environment that allows our teammates and patients to feel safe, affirmed, respected and heard."

The health system said it has hosted vigils, is holding an educational event about responding to global crises, and has extended resources about providing safe spaces at work and supporting colleagues. "We respect our teammates' right to share their personal opinions, and will continue to be a place where all can share their perspectives, learn from each other and express grief over this ongoing tragedy," the spokesperson said.

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