Dear Spring Attendee,
On behalf of The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), we want to take a moment to reach out to our valued community. SHEA would like to acknowledge concerns that have been raised about hosting SHEA Spring 2024 in Texas considering recent legislation affecting reproductive and LGBTQA+ rights. We understand that some individuals may be grappling with the decision to attend the conference as a result and respect the range of opinions on this matter.
While boycotting a conference is a valid form of protest, we would like to propose an alternative strategy that can help make a tangible difference. We encourage you to attend the conference and, additionally, utilize this platform as an opportunity to raise awareness and mobilize support for these important and timely issues. Additionally, SHEA is actively exploring the possibility of hosting a volunteer service project as part of the Conference. Stay tuned for further details as plans are finalized and seize the opportunity to contribute to meaningful initiatives that align with SHEA’s mission and values.
The program planning committee is working to identify opportunities to formally explore these issues during the conference. In addition to this, here are a few suggestions for actions you can take:
Raise Awareness within the Conference: By attending the conference, you can utilize various platforms such as panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities to raise awareness about the intersection of reproductive rights, individual rights, and patient safety as they relate to our role as healthcare epidemiologists, public health officers, infection preventionists and antimicrobial stewards.
Collaborate with Like-Minded Individuals: Seek out fellow attendees who share your concerns and collaborate on joint initiatives to support social justice goals. Use this as an opportunity to form alliances and create a united front with colleagues to foster partnerships that you can incorporate in your work and research efforts after the conference to help address these critical issues.
Engage with Texas Politicians: Writing personalized letters to Texas politicians expressing your concerns about legislation can have a meaningful impact. SHEA will be looking for opportunities to engage with Texas politicians around issues critical to our members in the months leading up to the conference.
Donate to Local Reproductive Freedom Organizations: By making a financial contribution to local organizations that advocate for reproductive rights and provide support to individuals in need, you can directly impact the lives of those affected by restrictive legislation. These organizations play a crucial role in providing resources, education, and access to reproductive healthcare.
Donate to Local LGBTQA Organizations: By donating to these organizations, you can directly contribute to initiatives that promote inclusivity, fight discrimination, and provide critical resources and services to the LGBTQA+ community. Your support can help empower individuals, foster education and awareness, and advocate for positive change.
We understand that your decision is a personal one, and respect whichever path you choose. Our commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming conference environment remains steadfast. We are dedicated towards providing a safe and respectful space for meaningful dialogue, knowledge sharing, and collective action.
Thank you for your support, engagement, and commitment to promoting equality and inclusion. We look forward to your participation in the conference and the positive impact we can make together.
On a personal note, we want to share with you our enthusiasm for leading this conference next year for what promises to be an inspiring week of learning, networking and collaborating.
Julie Trivedi, MD
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Mike Stevens, MD, MPH, FIDSA
West Virginia University