In 2009, The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) launched a new Vision: to be recognized as Canada’s leader in providing the best health care for a global community. It is a lofty Vision indeed. We aspire to be a national leader and exceed our patients’ expectations with the best health care. And, we recognize that we deliver our programs and services to an incredibly diverse and vulnerable population – our global community.
Since its introduction nearly seven years ago, our staff, physicians, and volunteers have taken this Vision to heart. Across our hospital, there has been a concerted effort to make diversity, equity, and inclusion fundamental in our workplace and in our efforts to provide outstanding patient care experiences and outcomes. On February 24, we received national recognition for this steadfast dedication when TSH was honoured as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2016.
Kristina Leung, Lead Editor on the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition and Senior Editor at Mediacorp Canada Inc., who manages the project, has noted that: “Organizations that promote diversity and inclusiveness attract people with new perspectives and solutions. We’ve always known that inclusive workplaces make organizations stronger; we see now that much of this strength comes from innovation.”
This is truly the case at TSH. Our staff and physicians come from all different parts of the world and bring with them varied experiences and perspectives of health care delivery. It’s led to an open-minded culture with people who are accepting of new ideas and exploring different ways of thinking and innovating.
The origin of this philosophy dates back more than 20 years when the hospital was one of the first in Ontario to dedicate a department and a director to meet the needs of our diverse community. Diversity, equity, and inclusion were made key priorities in our 2009 strategic plan, and we renewed this commitment when we launched our most recent strategic plan last summer.
There are many examples that demonstrate the benefits of our open-minded approach and that were integral in our selection as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. For instance, in 2014 we launched the pioneering Centre for Integrative Medicine in partnership with the University of Toronto. A first in Canada, the Centre is dedicated to research to provide evidence-based practices to ensure patients make informed choices about the safe and effective use of complementary therapies as part of their health care.
We also introduced Code: Career in 2014 – an extensive, first-of-its-kind program among Ontario hospitals – geared towards the career development of current and future employees, students, volunteers, and internationally educated professionals. In addition, staff have access to a dynamic curriculum around diversity, equity, and inclusion, including mandatory training for management on how to lead a diverse workforce.
Our Global Community Resource Centre is another example of this innovation in action. A partnership with community agencies in Scarborough, the Global Community Resource Centre supports patients and families with increased health literacy and better access to community services. And, we’ve led more than 1,000 community outreach and engagement activities since 2009 to help our community better understand their health care options, navigate services, and provide input on hospital programs and services.
Patients and families at TSH also have access to a comprehensive interpretation program, including full-time interpreters at the General and Birchmount campuses and telephone interpretation available 24/7 in all clinical areas in over 200 languages.
These initiatives, as well as our many other exceptional programs and services, are the result of a definition of diversity and equity that goes beyond the traditional scope of culture and ethnicity to include differences such as age, gender, sexual orientation, language, ability, socioeconomic status, and religion.
This is the second time in less than a year that TSH has received national recognition for our efforts to create and promote diversity and inclusion. Last June, our hospital was the recipient of the 2015 National Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
I am honoured to be a part this incredible team and dynamic community. The Scarborough Hospital is simply a remarkable place to be with people who are passionate about delivering exceptional care that is respectful and responsive to everyone at our hospital.