Bassett Healthcare Network works to acquire affirming, inclusive artwork


ONEONTA — Bassett Healthcare Network’s Gender Wellness Center recently joined with SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program in a medical-artistic partnership to make their patient spaces more welcoming and inclusive.

Graduate museum studies students in Professor Cynthia Falk’s “Gender-Taste-Space” class identified recent artwork depicting subjects of different racial, ethnic, gender and religious backgrounds. The Gender Wellness Center team, led by Family Nurse Practitioner Jaqueline Kelchlin and Dr. Carolyn Wolf-Gould, then selected pieces to purchase and display in their practice.

“The principles of diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to good health care,” Dr. Wolf-Gould explained. “Now we have images on our walls that reflect racial and ethnic diversity. If you’re a person of color, or if you use a wheelchair, or if you’re in the LGBTQ community, you’re going to see images that celebrate these groups of people. This artwork is one way to express our aspiration to be inclusive and to make everyone feel welcome.”

“The way we design and furnish and display art in our spaces influences who uses them and how they use them,” said Falk. “That’s an important element in museum work, but it takes on extra weight and meaning in a doctor’s waiting room where people are waiting during what could be a very tense time. This project has pushed my students to think about art differently — by considering its effects on space and by exploring the work of up-and-coming artists.”

The Gender Wellness Center is part of Susquehanna Family Practice at FoxCare Center. Being embedded in a family practice allows the center to provide transgender-specific mental health, legal advocacy, research, education, and surgical services within a primary care setting.

“Our goal is to bring transgender health from the margins into the mainstream,” Wolf-Gould said.

Founded in 1964, the Cooperstown Graduate Program is the oldest museum studies graduate program in the country. CGP trains creative, entrepreneurial museum leaders committed to generating programs and services for the public good.

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