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Hastings Center Report

Do Health Care Organizations Have Legitimate Responsibilities beyond the Delivery of Health Care? Insights from Citizenship Theory

Abstract: Many health care organizations made public commitments to become antiracist in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. These actions raise questions about the appropriateness of health care’s engagement in racial justice and social justice movements generally. We argue that health care organizations can be usefully thought of as having two roles: a functional role to care for the sick and a meta-role as an organizational citizen. Fulfilling the role of citizen may require participating in the pursuit of social justice, including efforts to achieve racial equity. The demands of these two roles will need to be balanced, but the role of organizational citizen has been largely ignored and merits serious attention.

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