(Presentation made by Nancy Evans, Chair, Quinte Health Care Board of Directors at the beginning of the November 23 meeting.)
Over the past couple years, despite the pressures of COVID, a group of individuals at Quinte Health Care has started a vital discussion around who we are as an organization and how we relate to one another, our patients and the communities we serve. They have ignited meaningful discussions around topics related to diversity, inclusion and equity, including helping formal and informal leaders to begin to recognize unconscious biases. It is my pleasure to welcome the members of QHC’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee – this month’s recipients of the Values in Action Award presented by the QHC Board of Directors.
Over the past year, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee at QHC has been responsible for leading initiatives to help us improve and grow as an organization - to be more mindful of our broader ethical commitments to our communities both inside and outside the hospital walls. Through educational opportunities and events this committee has helped to reinforce that diversity is less about what makes people different—their race, socioeconomic status, and so on—and more about understanding, accepting and valuing those differences. They are promoting fair and equitable treatment and opportunities at QHC and helping us create an environment of belonging.
They have provided education on unconscious bias to formal and informal leaders across QHC hospitals. They organized the first ever pride week at QHC hospitals, with opportunities for celebration, education and sharing experiences.
As one participant commented, “It was deeply moving to participate in the pride week zoom session. It allowed us to share what ‘pride’ means to each of us. It was an opportunity to reflect on the power and impact of the language we use and assumptions we make at times. I want everyone to be proud. I want everyone to be able to bring their ‘authentic selves’ to QHC knowing it’s a safe place for all.”
Organizational Development Manager Judy MacDougall and HR Manager Appel Maracle are co-leading the committee. I want to applaud their leadership. I also want to thank Judy for their willingness to share aspects of their own journey as a member of the LGBT2SQ community through a video interview shared on social media. The video prompted community members to engage, ask questions and share lived experience to help us learn and progress.
Most recently, the committee promoted participation in Orange Shirt Day, and held a virtual information session on Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. The session was open to all QHC team members and included guest speaker Susan Barberstock from the Wellness Centre in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. The event was well attended and extremely impactful.
As we head into the holiday season, the group wants to ensure we are inclusive in acknowledging celebrations this time of the year, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. The committee is also looking ahead to 2022 – planning to launch formal educational opportunities including a LGBT2SQ Foundations Course, and Cultural Safety Training focused on serving Indigenous patients. They are also continuing to recruit to the committee to ensure diverse voices and perspectives.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to recognize the members of QHC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee - Dr. Erin Falconer, Molly Flindall-Hanna, Riya George, Kristen Stewart, Judy MacDougall, Appel Maracle, Breighan Savage, Meghan Shanhan-Thain, Dr. Terri Skelton, Barbara Willard and Amy Quilty.
You are receiving the Values in Action award for living our QHC values of “Always Strive to Improve” and “Respect Everyone”. Thank you all and keep up the good work.