Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Our Commitment to Building a Healthier Profession

The Saskatchewan Medical Association is committed to equity, diversity and inclusivity in our governance bodies to reflect the diverse physician population in Saskatchewan. Our physicians include people of different racial backgrounds, ages, genders, spiritual affiliations, and modes of practice. Our patients are equally diverse, with varying health care needs. The SMA is supporting physicians to ensure a culturally safe and inclusive health care environment for practitioners and their patients.

The SMA is striving for diversity in its Board of Directors, Representative Assembly, Committees and Sections, so that all members feel included, see themselves reflected in the decision-making bodies of the SMA, and have equal opportunity to serve. To meet this commitment, the SMA’s Board of Directors at the 2020 Spring Representative Assembly (RA) expressed a commitment to tackling the issue of systemic racism in the profession. In early 2021, the Board struck an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee, with a mandate and budget to carry out this work.  

At the May 2021 AGM, members were introduced to issues and terms related to racism in society and in workplaces — including medicine — by Dr. Manuela Valle-Castro, director of the Division of Social Accountability, with USask’s College of Medicine. Based on her presentation, the EDI Committee decided it was critical to hear from Saskatchewan physicians themselves, to gain a richer understanding of racism in this province’s medical community.

The SMA worked with Lorelei Nickel, an external consultant and EDI champion at the University of Saskatchewan, to conduct in-depth interviews with several Saskatchewan physicians, to gain a better understanding of the nature of the problem in this province’s medical community. At the 2021 Fall RA, Ms. Nickel shared what she heard from the doctors and introduced seven action steps to create a “cultural revolution” in the profession.

 

7 Recommendations

  1. Provide more physician, student, and resident supports and resources.

  2. Facilitate diversity and inclusion in the SMA and on committees while being cognizant of tokenism and the “saviour syndrome.”

  3. Equip, enable, and empower all physicians to call out racism and discrimination.

  4. Develop the system infrastructure to support this cultural shift.

  5. Share stories and highlight what is working but do your due diligence when it comes to who and what is being celebrated.

  6. Provide further mentorship, orientation, and integration support.

  7. Improve competency assessment and training.

The EDI Committee’s work was bolstered in 2022 with the appointment of Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka as Physician Advocate, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the SMA. The Prince Albert physician’s role is part time.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for me, recognizing that the SMA has shown through its leadership its commitment to address EDI matters among the membership,” he said. “I saw it as an opportunity to leverage existing partnerships and networks within and outside the province, to move the dial on EDI matters.”

Click on the link below for more information.

Also in 2022-23, the SMA, in collaboration with the Division of Social Accountability, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, offered four learning sessions intended to deepen awareness of EDI issues. They were delivered by Dr. Valle-Castro:

Session 1: Introduction to Racial Microaggressions: Why are they so offended anyway?

Thursday, Oct 20, 2022
Password to view the recording below is: RrmR8eMP

Session 2: Introduction to Intersectionality, Power, and Oppression: Unpacking our identities
Thursday, Nov 24, 2022
Password to view the recording below is: PzUf8m3u

Session 3: Introduction to Systemic Change: How to use your privilege in allyship
Thursday, Dec 8, 2022
Password to view the recording below is: Pf9jCJFm

Session 4: Introduction to Unconscious Racial Bias: No one is racist, yet we have racism
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023
Password to view the recording below is: aSukUyX5

The SMA invites all physicians to participate in EDI initiatives. If you have any comments, ideas or suggestions for the committee, or are interested in joining, please contact sma@sma.sk.ca.  

Resources

Source: College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

The goal of the college is to provide real equity of opportunity for all, deepen diversity across the full college membership, and enhance inclusivity in places of work and study.

Physician Leadership Toolkit for Encouraging and Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Source: Alberta Medical Association / Norquest College

While this toolkit provides resources to support inclusive practice when recruiting members to governance bodies, the overall goal is to diversify representation at leadership levels and in decision making roles so that the full potential of all physician members is realized, and no one is disadvantaged professionally for reasons of identity.

Source: Canadian Medical Association

The objective of this policy is to provide guidance to physicians and institutions by identifying a set of guiding principles and commitments to promote equity and diversity in medicine. The policy is also intended to foster a more collaborative and respectful professional culture.

CMA roundtables on equity, diversity and discrimination (summary report)

Source: Canadian Medical Association

This summary report outlines the key themes from a series of six roundtables (held between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5, 2020) with 33 physicians and medical learners who are affected by and committed to addressing discrimination in the profession. Building on the broad consultation with all members that informed the development of the CMA’s Equity and Diversity in Medicine (EDiM) policy in 2019, this engagement process focused on facilitating listening and learning, with the goal of informing the CMA’s work to advance the implementation of the policy. Additionally, this report outlines steps that the CMA has taken to address some of what the association heard from the roundtable participants, as well as how their feedback will inform its future work.

Sound Mind: Racism in medicine (podcast)

Source: Canadian Medical Association

Dr. Kenneth Fung, clinical director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health at Toronto Western Hospital, and Dr. Joseph Mpalirwa, family physician at Toronto’s Casey House and co-author of a recent study on Black physicians’ experiences of racism, talk about racism in medical culture, why it persists and how it affects physicians, residents and medical students.

The 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention (how-to resource)

Source: Hollaback

As bystanders, we need to be especially vigilant and aware of what disrespect, harassment, and hate violence look like in order to be able to stand up and intervene at a time when people need it most. The Five D’s are different methods you can use to support someone who’s being harassed, emphasize that harassment is not okay, and demonstrate to people in your life that they too have the power to make our communities and workplaces safer.

Reconciliation: A Starting Point (mobile app)

Source: Canada School of Public Service

The app is a reference tool for learning about First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including key historical events and examples of reconciliation initiatives. Users will learn why reconciliation matters and what public servants need to know and do to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action (report)

Source: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued 94 “calls to action” urging the federal, provincial, territorial, and aboriginal governments to work together to repair the harm caused by residential schools. The TRC documented in detail the physical and sexual abuse of Indigenous children who were removed from their families and forced to live in government boarding schools. 

Indigenous Ally Toolkit (how-to resource)

Source: Montreal Indigenous Community NETWORK

The Indigenous Ally Toolkit contains information about terminology and definitions, and is intended to guide individuals and organizations committed to becoming an ally to Indigenous people. It breaks down allyship into three steps: 1) Be critical of any motivations 2) Start learning and 3) Act accordingly. While the resource contains some references specific to Montreal, it is widely applicable and relevant to other parts of Canada. The toolkit is endorsed by the CMA board.

For Allies (website)

Source: Black Physicians of Canada

For Allies provides concrete examples of how you can help black physicians, learners, patients, colleagues, peers and trainees as an ally, through standing up when injustices occur, initiating dialogue and educating yourself. Endorsed by the CMA board, this resource provides further examples specifically for program directors of black residents and fellows on how to be an ally. These examples include erring on the side of your resident, promoting racial diversity and inclusion within the teaching faculty, and ensuring you and your staff are educated with regard to the role of systemic racism in both the medical profession and education. The guide concludes with examples of privilege, blatant discrimination, overt discrimination and subtle discrimination that can occur in the medical profession and education.

Doctors of BC Diversity and Inclusion Barrier Assessment - Final Report (document)

Source: Doctors of BC

In 2019 Doctors of BC undertook an assessment of barriers to diversity and inclusion. That work included roundtable discussions at a Representative Assembly, an online survey, and focus groups and one-on-one interviews. This report provides an in-depth description of the information and data gathered from the assessment, along with recommendations on ways the Association can improve inclusion and increase diversity on its governance bodies.

5 Tips For Being An Ally (video)

Cracking the Codes: Dr. Joy DeGruy "A Trip to the Grocery Store" (video)