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President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART)
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President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART)

Racism in health care is a large and complex problem and Sunnybrook recognizes it’s not something that will be solved easily or quickly. The President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) was established in 2020 to focus on producing tangible and visible results that will have a broad impact.

The taskforce includes members from the hospital, Sunnybrook Foundation and Sunnybrook Research Institute.

The input and efforts from these members as champions of anti-racism at Sunnybrook will be key to sparking change within our organization, and we thank them for their efforts as the taskforce gets underway.

The first step for PART will be to establish terms of reference that align with the Ontario Health Anti-Racism Framework and the Toronto Region Anti-Racism Framework, with its vision of ensuring structural and systemic change.

PART will develop and implement an action plan with specific measures to combat racism and ensure Sunnybrook is an inclusive organization for our staff and partners, our Black, Indigenous, and racialized clients, and all communities we serve.

Sunnybrook staff: You can find more information about PART on Sunnynet.




One Year of the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce

In the year since the inception of the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART), the membership has been working diligently to take tangible steps toward making Sunnybrook an anti-racist institution.

PART has five subcommittees:

Data

Achievements:

Demographic data collection was included in the Sunnybrook staff engagement survey for the first time. Space was included for staff to report and comment on their experiences with respect to racism.

Assisted in establishing demographic data collection in the Sunnybrook COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic and worked with clinic to implement provincial demographic data survey into their workflow.

Looking ahead:

Data from the staff survey is now being analyzed. With robust data, targeted interventions and improvements can be designed.

Long-term outlook:

Demographic data collection is also embedded into the Hospital’s Strategic Plan with specific targets measuring the % of patients with demographic data collected in new areas across the organization each year.

Policy

Achievements:

An inventory of EDI initiatives across the hospital was completed. Leaders were asked how they are addressing equity, diversity and inclusion for staff and patients in their local areas. This is a great resource of projects and initiatives that have the potential for broader implementation.

Looking ahead:

A new anti-racism policy is in development; the pre-policy development form has been submitted to the hospital’s Forms Committee.

Working with Quality and Patient Safety to develop an escalation process for the reporting of racism, discrimination and cultural safety incidents. A policy will be created to support this process.

The Policy Subcommittee is beginning to engage stakeholders and partners in the policy development.

Long-term outlook:

We will work to embed an anti-racism and anti-oppression lens into all new policies at Sunnybrook.

Education and Training

Achievements:

The San’yas Cultural Safety Training Program has now been embedded into all leadership programs within the Sunnybrook Leadership Institute.

All new hires at Sunnybrook are enrolled in an online Equity, Diversity and Inclusion module.

Hosted an Inclusive Leadership Workshop for Sunnybrook and health system partners.

Looking ahead:

All members of PART have been offered enrollment in the San’yas program this Fall.

A new, accredited Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certificate program is launching soon through Organizational Development & Leadership.

Long-term outlook:

We continue to explore how to roll out education & training initiatives more broadly across the organization. With new hires and leaders now undertaking required learning, how best can we expand the reach to other Sunnybrook staff? Education and Training targets and goals have been included in the Hospital’s 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.

Human Resources

Achievements:

An initial review of select HR policies related to racism, discrimination, recruitment, and hiring practices.

We researched the diversity hiring statements of TAHSN Hospitals and academic institutions

Black and Indigenous Mentorship Program to be aligned to the proposed organizational Sunnybrook Mentorship Program. Invitations will be designed and delivered to leaders within the organization desiring to build a mentor-mentee relationship with those from the black and indigenous community.

Looking ahead:

Make recommendations to update/revise Sunnybrook’s Diversity Hiring Statement with an anti-racism and anti-oppression lens.

Examine Sunnybrook’s recruitment and hiring practices and provide recommendations for improvement.

Long-term outlook:

Using an anti-racism lens, establish fair and equitable access to growth, development and career advancement that is free of barriers for all staff, volunteers, learners, researchers, and physicians.

Communication

Achievements:

Launched Days of Significance calendar on Sunnynet to recognize and celebrate cultural and religious holidays. Staff are also able to submit significant days.

Looking ahead:

Support quarterly updates to the Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute on PART’s achievements and projects.

Plan and support Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month and Indigenous History Month events and initiatives.

Long-term outlook:

Strive to ensure that staff, volunteers, physicians, donors, patients & families and the community at large are aware of PART projects and the impact the taskforce is having on the hospital.

Like Sunnybrook’s Commitment to Dismantling Racism, PART is using the LEAP framework to measure its action and success. The four components of the LEAP framework will help guide Sunnybrook’s commitment, transformation and vision.

Below and under each of the subcommittee links above, you can find some information about PART’s work over the past year. The highlights mentioned are the work of PART committees, members or allies, and by no means capture each and every equity, diversity and inclusion initiative taking place across the hospital’s campuses. Thank you to every member of Team Sunnybrook who is taking daily steps to make Sunnybrook a more inclusive space for all.

Thank you to the PART membership and partners for your leadership and your continued dedication toward anti-racism. 


Transformation through LEAP

Leadership and accountability »

  • Sunnybrook’s Commitment to Dismantling Racism was developed and has now been endorsed by the Hospital and Foundation boards as well as the Research Institute’s leadership. Leaders are accountable for the Framework for Action within the commitment.
  • The Hospital’s new Strategic Plan includes specific targets and goals for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in a number of areas (ie. Education and Human Resources).
  • A new anti-racism policy is in development; the pre-policy development form has been submitted to the hospital’s Forms Committee.
  • We are working with Quality and Patient Safety to develop an escalation process for the reporting of racism, discrimination and cultural safety incidents. A policy will be created to support this process.
  • The Policy Subcommittee is beginning to engage stakeholders and partners in the anti-racism policy development.

Education and training »

  • Education and Training targets and goals have been included in the Hospital’s 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.
  • The San’yas Cultural Safety Training Program has now been embedded into all leadership programs within the Sunnybrook Leadership Institute.
  • All new hires at Sunnybrook are enrolled in an online Equity, Diversity and Inclusion module.
  • Hosted an Inclusive Leadership Workshop for Sunnybrook and health system partners.
  • All members of PART have been offered enrollment in the San’yas program this fall.
  • A new, accredited Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certificate program is launching soon through Organizational Development & Leadership.
  • Planned and supported Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month and Indigenous History Month events and educational initiatives (more on these events below).

Actionable data »

  • Demographic data collection was included in the Sunnybrook staff engagement survey for the first time. Space was included for staff to report and comment on their experiences with respect to racism. Data from the staff survey is now being analyzed. With robust data, targeted interventions and improvements can be designed.
  • Assisted in establishing demographic data collection in the Sunnybrook COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, and worked with clinic to implement provincial demographic data survey into their workflow.
  • Demographic data collection is also embedded into the Hospital’s Strategic Plan with specific targets measuring the percentage of patients with demographic data collected in new areas across the organization each year.

People and teams »

  • An inventory of EDI initiatives across the hospital was completed. Leaders were asked how they are addressing equity, diversity and inclusion for staff and patients in their local areas. This is a great resource of projects and initiatives that have the potential for broader implementation.
  • “Nurturing a culture of wellness, equity and anti-racism for all Sunnybrookers” is a key objective of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. The Commitment to Dismantling Racism provides key indicators and objectives for this and PART will continue to support and further these objectives.
  • An initial review of select HR policies related to racism, discrimination, recruitment, and hiring practices has been conducted.
  • We researched the diversity hiring statements of TAHSN Hospitals and academic institutions
  • Black and Indigenous Mentorship Program to be aligned to the proposed organizational Sunnybrook Mentorship Program. Invitations will be designed and delivered to leaders within the organization desiring to build a mentor-mentee relationship with those from the black and indigenous community.
  • Make recommendations to update/revise Sunnybrook’s Diversity Hiring Statement with an anti-racism and anti-oppression lens.
  • Examine Sunnybrook’s recruitment and hiring practices and provide recommendations for improvement.


Other PART initiatives:

Black History Month

PART led Sunnybrook’s first corporate acknowledgement of Black History Month. Staff were invited to engage in celebration, learning and reflection by taking part in events and activities throughout the month. These events included Fireside Chat, COVID Conversation: Implications and Impact on Black Communities in Ontario, and Black History Month: A celebration of movement and culture.

A robust section on the staff intranet was created and remains available, with a fulsome resource list, information about the history of Black Veterans, Words of the Week (like equity and allyship) and more. Food services developed a Black History Month menu for Thursday specials at the M1 Food Emporium on the Bayview campus.

A photo series with images by Kevin Van Paassen “Staff Reflections: What Black History Month Means to Me” was well-received by staff and the community at large via social media.

Staff feedback throughout the month was extremely positive and also included ideas and support for addressing racism throughout the year. The Black History Month subcommittee has started meeting in preparation for Black History Month 2022. (Want to get involved? Email part@sunnybrook.ca).

Asian Heritage Month

The President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) hosted a virtual event on June 9 or Sunnybrook staff and volunteers in recognition of Asian Heritage Month (which was in May 2021. Scheduling conflicts pushed the event to June). PART Conversation: Anti-Asian Racism and the Impact of Racism on Mental Health featured Joanna Chiu, Toronto Star reporter and author, and Dr. Amy Cheung, youth psychiatrist, along with members of PART. The panel discussed the history of anti-Asian racism in Canada and the current state, the impact of racism on mental health, and how to be a better ally to Asian colleagues and patients. The virtual event was well-attended and well-received by participants. 

Two staff stories of PART members (Myrene Lychek and Carina Lam) reflecting on Asian Heritage Month were shared on Sunnybrook’s social media channels and on Sunnynet.

Indigenous History Month

PART Conversation: Knowing the Land Beneath Your Feet – Creating Land and Territorial Acknowledgements

“Know who lived and traveled on the land beneath your feet. Who raised their children here, hunted, fished and enjoyed life here. Recognize and acknowledge your privilege that you have as you walk, live and enjoy the land of someone who was here before you. How do we walk in reconciliation and acknowledge the original people of Turtle Island?”

PART hosted a two-part lunch and learn with Lorrie Gallant in honour of National Indigenous History Month. 

Staff reflections: Claire Dion Fletcher and Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons shared their personal reflections on Indigenous History Month.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30 was the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to acknowledge the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.

It was a time to reflect on the legacy of residential schools in Canada, particularly in light of recent discoveries of thousands of unmarked graves at former residential schools across the country.

Sunnybrook staff, physicians, volunteers and learners were asked to reflect and consider our individual and collective responsibility to Reconciliation. Commitment Cards were developed in partnership with the Indigenous Advisory Committee. The card invites staff to commit to an action toward reconciliation. Some leaders shared their own personal commitments via Sunnynet and on the digital screens throughout the hospital.

Staff were also invited to wear orange shirts and to tie an orange ribbon on a tree branch in a quiet moment of reflection.

New anti-racism, equity and inclusion digital screen at Bayview Campus

A large new digital screen on M1 on Bayview Campus will be dedicated to messages of anti-racism, equity and inclusion. It will replace the flags that are periodically hug in the M-wing atrium and provide a more permanent solution for sharing this content.


Meet the co-chairs

Alicia Stewart

Alicia is a Patient Care Manager in Nephrology – Integrated Community Program, and Sunnybrook employee for over 10 years. An active contributor to staff and student mentoring, Alicia is excited to serve as PART co-chair to address racism at Sunnybrook: increase awareness, and enhance experiences for all staff, patients and visitors, and learners that embody equity, diversity, and inclusivity.

 

Christopher Townsend

Christopher is the Manager, Organizational Development & Leadership (OD&L) and Sunnybrook Leadership Institute (SLI); and will co-chair the taskforce combining his lived and professional experience, as an advocate of change. In OD&L, our mandate and goal is to create a culture of engagement, respect and inclusivity, that attracts professionals to our organization. Christopher serves as committee member on Sunnybrook Education Advisory Council (SEAC) and serves as a facilitator for the Schwartz Centre Rounds. Christopher is a recent graduate of the Educator Scholars Program, Centre for Faculty Development, University of Toronto and is currently enrolled in the Rotman Leadership Program. Christopher is a published author and volunteers his time as a musician, teacher and mentor in several community-based initiatives.

 

Laurie Legere

Laurie is the Manager of Patient Engagement and Health Equity at Sunnybrook, where she leads the implementation and evolution of Sunnybrook’s engagement strategy with an aim to improve care, research and education, and inform organizational decision making by engaging patients, caregivers and communities. She has worked for 16 years in the health care and research sectors, both in Canada and Australia, with specialization in strategic communications and community engagement, and with a focus on health as a human right.