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Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN's President and CEO, sent out this message to the UHN community earlier today:
This weekend, we shared feelings of profound pain and heartbreak in response to the violent and racist acts occurring in North America. I am writing to express loudly and clearly where UHN stands on this matter – which is that we denounce anti-black racism and all racism here. We are committed to building a diverse TeamUHN and stand in solidarity with the Black community.
I also write this message while mindful of my own privilege as a white male. We should be learning from those who endure racism every day, ranging from casual racism and harmful microaggressions to despicable acts of violence against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). But since I recognize the privilege that comes with serving as UHN's President & CEO, I believe it is not only my opportunity – but also my responsibility – to stand against racism.
Condemning these actions as an organization is a good start. But I ask you to join me in the difficult task of confronting our own role in the world. The truth is that racism exists everywhere, including Canadian healthcare. It is embedded deeply in many of our structures and policies. To deliver on our vision of A Healthier World, we must commit to challenging racism wherever we find it – including in ourselves, as uncomfortable as that may be. It is the only way forward.
In terms of action, we know diversity leads to better outcomes and we continue to work on increasing diversity across all levels of UHN. We have made some advancements – including with gender – but have more work to do across other domains including race. We also commit to delivering the highest quality care for our most disadvantaged patient populations. Please continue to hold us accountable.
UHN is Canada's leading academic health sciences centre and we commit to supporting diversity and inclusion for patients, communities and our colleagues. This is a time of grief, and we must stand united as Allies in support of all marginalized communities.