Supporting healthcare workers and learner safety
February 15, 2022
After nearly two years of responding in crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic, we again find ourselves battling several challenges. The Omicron surge in cases has pushed healthcare workers and hospitals to their limits of capacity and energy. Amid this, there is disruption and anxiety in navigating through protests, with targeted aggression towards healthcare workers, researchers, and advocates. Those who are tirelessly working to heal our communities are unjustly being exposed to symbols and words of hate in their places of work and healthcare environments. These racially and religiously charged acts are happening inside and outside of our buildings, and have intensified into our online spaces as well. These elements have been combined with anti-vaccine sentiments and the broader harassment of healthcare workers and learners.
The current political atmosphere of our city and country is overwhelming. We hear, see, and recognize that this is an extremely difficult time, particularly for those who are witnessing anti-Asian, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic hate along with misogyny and other forms of discrimination. We want to validate feelings of distress, and to unequivocally condemn all forms of hate and violence that are occurring. This indicates how much work there is to be done by all of us, both within and beyond the Temerty Medicine community, related to anti-oppression education, justice, and restorative dialogue.
We encourage all learners, staff and faculty to take care of your health and safety. Please see a list of resources and supports that may be of help:
- Physical security
- TravelSafer for those on campus
- Academy directors and staff contacts for MD learners
- Department chairs and program directors
- HR units of hospital sites
- U of T Community Safety Office, which can work with you to:
- Co-create a safety plan
- Refer and work in partnership with various offices and services in order to address the individual’s personal safety concerns
- U of T Campus Safety for those on campus
- Toronto Police Services
- Police services may not feel like a safe option for all, but can provide security guidance for specific circumstances. It can be helpful to have advocate or ally be present with you when engaging these services.
- Online security
- Mental health and wellness
We hope that in taking collective care, we can mobilize as a Faculty to denounce all forms of hate and to commit to the work of justice. We stand with you and are confident in our ability to unite as a community.
Dr. Lisa Richardson
Associate Dean, Inclusion & Diversity
Temerty Faculty of Medicine