Shining a Light on Black Health and Wellness: Where to From Here – Next Steps
By Sandra Sualim, President and CEO, Humber River Hospital Foundation and Barb Collins, President and CEO, Humber River Hospital
Toronto is one of the most marvelous cities in the world thanks to its diverse makeup. For Humber River Hospital this is key as we continue to improve on the healthcare we offer to our community.
As Black History Month comes to a close, we hope you’ve enjoyed our series where we highlighted what HRH is doing now and looking toward tomorrow:
- Fighting COVID-19: Vaccinating the Northwest (posted: Feb 10th)
- Research: Pioneering Research on the Impact of Long-COVID for Black People (posted: Feb 17th)
As February comes to an end, here are some of our thoughts for the future:
Being a black woman, CEO and President of the Humber River Hospital Foundation, I experience and am able to impact the change needed for our black community. HRH aims to improve black health and wellness especially coming out of COVID-19 into a post-pandemic world for Toronto.
I know that the colour of my skin will in fact always be noticed. I am glad about this. Take a good look because this colour is also leading to transformational change and growth in health and wellness for millions of Torontonians. During Black History Month, I am reminded that I am an advocate, an ally, and a champion.
We must not forget our past, but we must use the wisdom it gives us to be better. Our healthcare system should be defined by the people it serves. For the black community it is about having a platform to see our needs being observed, met, and not being forced into blanketed solutions.
I do not want to spend my time imagining what is possible and only inspiring through hope. I don’t want to hear, hey look there is a young black woman in a good position. Instead, I am a changemaker. Black History Month is a time for much more than reflection, it is a time that reminds me so clearly that each year is about action. I get up each day and I think about the mission of this Hospital and how it is about working together to deliver innovative, safe, and compassionate health care to our community.
The history of the black community acts as a guide and support toward what is ahead. How we change happens at many strategic levels. It happens with research and innovation, but it equally happens with governance and community voice. As our Hospital embraces a future that is brighter, we must do this with representation from our black community.
Reach out to us. Find out how you can get involved, how you can volunteer, connect at the systemic and board level, donate, and how you can contribute to a study like Long-COVID that is targeted at improving the lives of all racialized people in Toronto.
The time is now for applying the lessons we have learned from the pandemic towards improved care for all of our hardest hit communities. Let’s recognize that race, gender, and age are not what separates us but can be what brings us together. Forget the band aids – instead, we can learn from each other and drive forward solutions that are lasting and trustworthy.
Remember, the path ahead is full of possibility, and one in which our past will guide us as we move forward lighting new ways in healthcare together.