In 2023, DalEM’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee embarked on a concerted effort to further its understanding of these vitally important issues within the department. Led by Dr. Connie LeBlanc, the committee designed and conducted a survey to shed light on the current situation and guide the department in its efforts to foster and support improvements in these key areas. The committee (composed of Dr. Connie LeBlanc, Dr. Kirk Magee, Dr. Paul Atkinson, Dr. Katrina Hurley, Dr. Janeske Vonkeman, Dr. Patrick Fok, Dr. Tara Dahn and Dr. Nicholas Humphries) surveyed Department of Emergency Medicine members across the Maritimes.

The survey identified areas of strength, as well as areas where opportunities for improvement persist. For example, there is an absence of representation from the Black community in the department, little representation from Indigenous people and people with disabilities, and little diversity in sexual orientation. Nearly 20 per cent of respondents reported discomfort caring for patients where generational trauma was a feature, and 25 per cent reported some discomfort caring for patients who live in poverty. On the other hand, the vast majority feel equipped to care for the LGBTQ2S population.

The survey revealed that 20 per cent of respondents have undertaken formal EDIA training, while 65 per cent have not had any EDIA bias training. In terms of discrimination at work, more than 60 per cent of respondents perceived discrimination against themselves in the workplace (from patients, colleagues, members of other departments), while 80 per cent said they have witnessed discrimination, a great deal of it originating from patients.

As the report concludes, “Reflection and critical consciousness are first steps in recognizing and addressing privilege. Strong evidence exists that leadership training to understand these issues more fully, and repeated exposure of the impact of our biases, is key to impacting the changes required for justice.”

For a detailed look at the findings, Download the DEM EDI Report.