Cura Personalis- care of the whole person, is a hallmark of Ignatian spirituality. It calls us to treat all persons with respect, honoring their worth- while appreciating their individual backgrounds and to prioritize maintaining one’s own spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical health. Despite this being a cornerstone of Seattle University’s holistic approach to educating their students, the recent decision by university leadership to remove particular healthcare resources to from the Seattle University website is wildly contradictory.
The United Nations Population Fund states that in order to adequately maintain one’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) it is imperative that people have access to accurate information and affordable care. Individuals who have access to both are more empowered to take control of their health and protect themselves from disease. By deliberately removing information and resources regarding SRH, the university is directly interfering with individual’s ability to make informed choices putting them at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unintended pregnancy, and various cancers.
Beyond the lack of access to information, lack of access to care is also a major concern. Despite being located on Seattle’s “Pill Hill”, easily accessible and affordable healthcare is difficult to find, even with a student specific clinic on campus. Although the Student Health Center (SHC) offers most women’s health services, STDs testing and treatment, and family planning consultations, the clinic does not have the capacity with their 7 person staff nor the adequate time to efficiently, effectively, and equitably treat the 7,500 students on campus. If the university is not going to promote accessible healthcare services off campus, then the students are owed a SHC which offers comprehensive and accessible services.
I fear that the rash decision to immediately remove Planned Parenthood resources from the website was done without consideration of the con- sequent health implications. As a public health professional, women’s health advocate, and alumna of Seattle University, I hope that university leaders take the time to discern what is truly best for the health and wellbeing of those in the university community. By respecting the right to health and health information, irrespective of their religion, sex, or culture Seattle University can foster a place where individuals learn to holistically care for themselves.
That’s the point of Cura Pesonalis, right?
Seattle University Class of 2016
Master of Public Health
Candidate, University of Michigan- Ann Arbor