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Immigration and deportation - A message from SHS President and CEO to all employees

A message from Sinai Health System President and CEO, Karen Teitelbaum, to all Sinai Health System employees

Over the past several weeks, there have been a number of changes in federal actions and policies related to immigration, deportations, and refugees.  These policies have impacted many of our patients, the communities that we serve and our own caregivers.  I have asked our external affairs team to create a response for how Sinai will address these issues. Raul Garcia, Director of Community Relations at Sinai Community Institute, will be coordinating our efforts.   I want to share our plans with you today.

First, we know that many of our caregivers and their families are concerned over how these new policies may impact them.  We will be creating a network of resources for Sinai caregivers to provide information on legal rights and actions related to immigration raids, deportations, travel outside of the United States for non-citizens and other relevant issues. We will be providing both written information and offering in-person sessions with immigration specialists at both the north and south campuses.  In addition, we know that many families are experiencing a great deal of stress and anxiety related to this issue and we have already contacted our Employee Assistance Program to discuss the services they can provide.  We will be providing referrals to our own behavioral health services and will be providing you with additional information on accessing behavioral health support.

Second, we want to provide reassurance to our patients and the broader community that their rights and privacy will be respected if they seek care at any Sinai Health System facility.  We are in the process of establishing clear internal policies relating to protection of our patients and their clients. We will also train our caregivers on basic information and tools to protect, inform, and refer our patients and clients and their families regarding their rights.

Finally, Sinai has a long history of working in partnership with community organizations.  We will expand and deepen those partnerships to provide support to immigrant families.  One example of this will be in the area of citizenship. Last fall we partnered with several organizations to offer citizenship workshops on both the north and south campus.  Over 40 individuals and families completed their citizenship applications in those workshops.  We are planning on repeating these efforts this year.

Since Mount Sinai Hospital was founded close to 100 years ago, Sinai Health System has served numerous immigrant communities.  We are the largest provider of health services for refugees in Illinois. Our caregivers come from all over the world to serve our communities.  We celebrate our diversity and we condemn any discrimination, including recent actions that have targeted Jewish organizations, based on religion, race, nationality, immigration status, gender, or sexual orientation.  

We can all be proud of the inclusiveness that we each bring to Sinai Health System as caregivers.  I thank you all for your commitment to our patients, our community, and each other.