Equity, diversity and inclusion: An update on our commitment
Two weeks ago, we heard the devastating news from Atlanta, Ga. that six women of Asian descent were gunned down in their places of work. We are also hearing media reports on how the COVID-19 pandemic has increased overt racism focused on the Asian community. The Royal College condemns these violent attacks and shares the sadness and anger expressed by the Asian community who are living this reality in their daily lives. We have an individual and collective responsibility to protect the human rights and dignity of every person, always.
To that end, the Royal College recognizes the importance of fostering a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and we’ve taken important steps to help inform a long-term anti-racism strategy and action plan. I’d like to share our approach with you and provide an update on our commitment.
Meaningful change to promote EDI starts from within the Royal College and 2021 promises to be a busy year to make it happen. Our overall approach is comprehensive but starts by first looking internally in order to better serve our members, volunteers and stakeholders by:
- Evaluating internal business systems and processes for bias and improvement opportunities;
- Assessing and reflecting on personal behaviours;
- Understanding the diversity of staff and volunteer complements to track progress;
- Developing an inward and outward facing EDI strategy that addresses inequities; and
- Creating new processes and supports for employees, committees, residents and Fellow volunteers to promote an EDI culture in postgraduate medical education and the health care system.
Important work is underway
Through the incredible leadership and support of many volunteer committees, national specialty associations and Fellows, work is already underway to address gaps in EDI at the Royal College. Here’s an update on our activities:
- A Royal College EDI Working Group, comprising 20 volunteer staff members, is looking at ways to build a more inclusive organization;
- Volunteer recruitment, retention practices and organizational culture are being reviewed for continuous improvement;
- An EDI Steering Committee has been established and a Fellow Advisory Group is in development;
- EDI is the 2021 theme for the McLaughlin-Gallie Visiting Professorship and the Strategic Initiative Grant program;
- We’re adding two full-time positions at the Royal College: a diversity officer and an Indigenous program manager;
- A diversity monitor was appointed for nominating and recruitment processes so to support our commitment to building diverse and inclusive representation; and
- We’re launching an Indigenous Research Grant this year in support of our commitment to prioritize Indigenous-led research and partnerships with communities.
Fostering partnerships to create change
EDI is not only a set of positive outcomes but a continuous mindset for building relationships and a new culture in health care and education. To influence change in Canada’s health care system, partnerships are invaluable; it’s important that we work together and share our knowledge and experience.
Over the past decade, we have been working with the Indigenous Health Committee (IHC), an independent body that comprises Indigenous physicians, scholars and other health care professionals, to take steps to focus on Indigenous health education across all residency training programs and throughout professional practice. In partnership with the IHC, we are participating in the federal government’s meetings on addressing racism in the health care system.
Here are some other partnerships that are enabling us to make progress in our EDI work.
- The Royal College is participating in the newly created National Consortium on Indigenous Medical Education to implement Indigenous-led work streams that will reform Indigenous medical education and contribute to the delivery of culturally safe care.
- A partnership arrangement with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion is offering EDI courses;
- The Royal College is exchanging knowledge with the chief public health officer and the Public Health Agency of Canada, through the Indigenous Health Sub-group, to address anti-Indigenous racism;
- Together with members of the Canadian Medical Forum, we have formed several working groups to address gaps in EDI in health care and education;
- In collaboration with the Medical Council of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, we co-hosted a three-part webinar series on anti-Black racism, led by the Black Health Collaborative, which explored a number of themes, including the role of white and racialized people in addressing racism in medicine and health care; and
- The Royal College’s group of educators and leaders, led by myself and senior staff, will continue to meet with Black physician associations and resident-health organizations to discuss priorities for the delivery of training and health care that is free from anti-Black racism.
We know this is only the beginning, but equity, diversity and inclusion must, and will, remain a priority for the Royal College. Throughout 2021, we will continue to build upon this momentum and I will continue to update you on our progress. This is a journey.
Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, FRCSC, PhD, MBA, FACS
Chief Executive Officer / Directrice générale