Why We All Belong
You may have noticed a new banner hanging on the side of the Medical Sciences Building. It proclaims: We All Belong. It is — or at least should be — a self-evident truth. Let’s face it, we are here following an extensive application process — whether you are a student or a member of the faculty or staff. It wasn’t an accident or an oversight that led us to the Faculty of Medicine. We’re here intentionally. Each of us decided this was the place for us — to study, teach, or work. And, in turn, others thought that was a good idea too.
So, why do we need to state the obvious? Firstly, it’s a reminder to ourselves. Impostor syndrome — that feeling you’re a fraud who doesn’t belong here — is real and it’s debilitating. It can lead people to feel unworthy and withdraw from our community, or become overly assertive to mask their true feelings, or worry about showing weakness and in so doing, not seek the help they need. None of these responses are healthy. Instead, let’s remember what brought us here and that we deserve to be here.
But secondly, it’s also a call to action; namely, to commit ourselves — both individually and collectively — to ensuring we are building and sustaining a community where everyone feels welcomed and respected. We must be a community where everyone can enjoy equal opportunities regardless of their gender, race, and sexual orientation; where disability is not an impediment. We must value professionalism and civility, while at the same time recognizing our privileges and be willing to use them to help those who have less.
We can take pride in the leadership our Faculty has shown on issues of inclusion and diversity, yet we can’t be complacent. I invite you to consider how you are helping to make this Faculty a place where we all belong. You can share your answer on our conversation wall near the MSB cafeteria. You can also show your personal commitment by downloading a We All Belong poster or wearing a button, which you can pick up from one of the following locations:
• Dean’s Office (Room 2109, MSB)
• MD Office (Room 3157, MSB)
• Post MD Office (Room 602, Rehabilitation Sciences Building)
• Graduate and Life Sciences Education Office (Room 2360, MSB)
• Office of Health Professions Student Affairs (Room 306, Naylor Building)
• Mississauga Academy of Medicine (Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Building, UTM)
The Faculty will also be hosting and promoting events, lectures and workshops throughout the year to build skills and awareness (keep an eye on the Inclusion and Diversity webpage and MedEmail for announcements).
I’m reminded of a quote from philosopher Lao Tzu: “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” As we begin a new academic year, let’s strive for excellence and kindness in equal measure. Why? Because we all belong.
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions