Content Writing About People
Be compassionate, inclusive, respectful, and conscious of the impact of our words. Exemplify our values.
- Avoid using words and phrases that needlessly identify gender.
For example, instead of saying, “Patient and the lady doctor,” say, “patient and the doctor.”
- Use gender neutral job titles and terms.
For example, a police officer not policeman, mail carrier not mailman, businessperson not businessman or businesswoman.
- The use of Mrs. or Miss should not be used unless a woman specifically asks to be addressed that way. Instead, the more neutral title “Ms.” should be used, or just write out the entire name, i.e., “Jenny Johnson”.
Race and Ethnicity
- References to identify race, religion, culture, etc. should be avoided in MEDHOST content unless absolutely necessary in the context of the content.
- Terms such as “crippled victim and “handicapped” should not be used. Instead, “person or persons with a disability” should be used if a disability must be mentioned in the content. “Handicapped parking” is fine to use.
- Age should not be referenced unless it is absolutely relevant to your content. Age-related descriptors like “young,” “old,” or “elderly” should be avoided.
Heritage and Nationality
- Hyphens should not be used when referring someone with dual heritage or nationality. For example, use “Asian American” instead of “Asian-American”.
Mental and Cognitive Conditions
- Don’t refer to a person’s medical condition unless it’s relevant to what you’re writing.
- Don’t describe a person as “mentally ill.” If you must refer to a person’s mental or cognitive condition, apply the same rules as writing about people with physical disabilities or medical conditions and highlight the person first.
Rev. date 06/10/2020