Temerty Medicine Community Connection

A wordmark for the Temerty Medicine Community Connection series

Temerty Medicine Community Connection (TMCC), formerly known as Temerty Community Connection (TCC), is an event series developed by community and for community, with learners, faculty and staff at Temerty Medicine. The aim of the series is to host a safe space for attendees to (re)connect with each other as an introductory effort to building a culturally relevant community of support within the Faculty.

The TMCC gatherings also serve as an opportunity to share back relevant data from the “Voices of...” surveys. In 2018, the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto launched a series of “Voices of...” surveys to MD students, residents, graduate students, faculty, and staff.  The intent of the surveys was to take stock of people’s experiences in the learning and working environments, reflecting upon attitudes, behaviours, and treatment encountered, power dynamics, wellness and principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

To ensure cultural respect and safety of TMCC events, members of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity (OID) collaborated with working group members consisting of faculty, staff, and learners from Temerty Medicine and learners and staff from U of T tri-campuses, many of whom belong to the communities that TMCC highlighted this past year. The success of each TMCC event relies heavily on the essential role played by the working groups to guide the direction and design of the event. This collaborative method ensures that every event is tailored to revolve around each community’s specific and preferred ways of engagement.

2022 was TMCC’s inaugural year. Between 2022 to 2023, three TMCC events were held, highlighting the LatinX and Caribbean, Muslim, and Trans* communities respectively. In 2024, the OID and its partners aim to engage new working groups to support organizing future TMCC events, focusing on prioritized communities within Temerty Medicine.


Sociodemographic data from the ‘Voices of’ surveys and feedback from community members has highlighted the need for events that respect and reflect the diverse and intersectional identities within Asian communities. Two working groups are being formed to determine the focus and potentiality of TMCC events for Southeast Asian and South Asian Temerty Medicine community members. 


East Asian Community

February 13, 2024 6:00PM to 8:00PM ET
William Doo Auditorium, New College
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

A group photo of the working group members of the TMCC East Asian Community

Full photo album

The unique experiences of anti-East Asian hate have intensified over the last few years. Particular hostility towards East Asian community members was prominent after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Incidents of hate and violence occurred at the University of Toronto (these are detailed in the University of Toronto Anti-Asian Racism Working Group Final Report), and their impacts have been felt by members of Temerty Medicine. 

The Office of Inclusion & Diversity, the TMCC East-Asian Working Group and its partners acknowledge the importance of understanding the experiences of East Asian community members in the academy. East Asian learners, staff, and faculty members at Temerty Medicine and the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) hospital sites joined this event to be in community, network and participate in discussion on ways to address anti- East Asian hate and identify areas of support.

Attendees discussed the following at their roundtables:

  • How do you connect with the East Asian communit(ies) at Temerty?
  • Are you aware of the model minority myth? If so, what is your understanding of it
  • What does resilience mean to you? What strategies are effective to build emotional and mental resilience to cope with the impacts of racism?
  • How can we create safe spaces within our communities where individuals can share their experiences?
  • What can Temerty Medicine do to improve reporting incidents of anti-East Asian racism?

Each discussion table had a facilitator and scribe, who together generated de-identified notes that captured themes for action (no specific stories, names or identities were documented). Attendees were also given an opportunity to share additional feedback through an anonymous voluntary post-event survey. For more information see the infographic below.

Infographic: East Asian Community

Panelists:  Joan Cheng, Kenneth Fung, May Lui

Data presentation: David Rojas

Roundtable facilitators: May Lui, Nana Lee, Sydney Tam

Working group members: David Rojas, Hana Lee, Hillary Chan, Joan Cheng, Kitty Liu, Kunuk Rhee, Lisa Richardson, Marcus Law, Saba Khan,​​​​​​​ Shari Thompson-Ricci,​​​​​​​ ​Sydney Tam,​​​​​​​ Tibyan Ahmed.

Muslim Community

April 25, 2023 6:00PM to 8:00PM
William Doo Auditorium, New College
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Photograph of individuals sitting at round tables in an auditorium with a panel of speakers in the front of the room.

Experiences of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate have been increasing among Temerty Medicine learners, and across the world. This form of discrimination is not experienced by all in the same way; other aspects of identity, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and geography, intersect with how Muslim community members move through medical, academic, and personal environments. The TMCC event for the Muslim community was informed by a working group of individuals from the community, as well as feedback from previous TMCC events. The sense of cultural/religious safety and relevance was elevated with the contribution of spiritual support from Imam Yaseen Dyer, who supported the event from beginning to end. Providing opening and closing prayers, he also sat on the event panel alongside Umberin Najeeb, David Rojas, Duaa Yaha, and Roshan Jahangeer. This event adopted a hybrid panelists and roundtable style program, in addition to the data share back portion that was delivered by David Rojas. In contrast to previous TMCC events, the roundtable discussion format afforded table facilitators to support participants as they shared their reflections on the data share back.

For this event, data from the 2021 "Voices of..." surveys was shared, including MD students, residents, clinical fellows, and graduate learners. The experiences of MD students, residents and clinical fellows were relatable; therefore, these groups were analyzed as a single group called “clinical learners.” The experience of the graduate learner Muslim community was different; thus, they were treated as a separate group. Although the infographic focuses on comparisons between Muslim learners and all other respondent groups, during the event, data was presented on comparative experiences based on gender (male vs. female Muslims), and identifiability (identifiable vs. non-identifiable Muslims). Differences were noted among the experiences of male and female Muslims, as well as those who considered themselves as identifiable Muslims vs. those who did not.

Attendees were able to participate in one of the following roundtable discussions:

  • Being Muslim…and Black: Lived Experiences of Black identifying Muslim Learners
  • The Muslim Woman’s Perspective
  • Managing Expectations: Religious Practices in Medical Learnings Spaces

Each discussion table had a facilitator and scribe, who together generated de-identified notes that captured themes for action (no specific stories, names or identities were documented). Attendees were also given an opportunity to share additional feedback through an anonymous voluntary post-event survey. For more information see the infographic below.

Infographic: Muslim Community

Panelists:  Imam Yaseen Dyer, Zainab Furqan, Umberin Najeeb, David Rojas, Duaa Yaha

Roundtable facilitators: Tibyan Ahmed, Roshan Jahangeer, Entisar Yusuf

Working group members: Tibyan Ahmed, Dr. Roshan Jahangeer, Punita Lumb, Dr. Umberin Najeeb, Jerusha Retnakathan, Dr. David Rojas, Dr. Amel Taibi, Shari Thompson-Ricci

Trans* at Temerty

March 27, 2023  6:00PM to 8:00PM
Upper Library, Massey College
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Photograph of a screen in a library showing a slide that reads: "Trans* at Temerty Med. All members of the trans* community of Temerty Medicine and hospital sites are welcome to join in this important conversation. Mon Mar 27, 2022 6:00 - 8:00PM In-person at UTSG" with a link to the event.

Trans* individuals have traditionally been both under-represented and under-recognized in the community of medical learners, and have been subject to discrimination, microaggressions, and exclusion from opportunities for advancement and recognition. Temerty Medicine recognizes the importance of demonstrating support of the trans* community, creating opportunities for networking, amplifying advocacy efforts, and supporting the growth, development, and personal and professional fulfillment of Trans* members. 

One of the themes that arose from the discussion at the Trans* at Temerty TMCC event was the need for community and connection, with many folks sharing feelings of isolation. We recognize the important of community and the need to create safe spaces for trans and gender diverse (TGD) people to connect with each other. Based on this feedback, OID will work with the TGD committee to support regular gatherings.

Although one of the goals of the TMCC is to share back “Voices of…” survey data with the communities of interest, the Voices data is governed by a Research Ethics Board approval in which no variable that has received less than 10 responses can be reported. This is important to help maintain the confidentiality of the respondents. In the case of transgender and gender diverse community members at Temerty Medicine, the Voices data did not have enough responses to be able to share their experiences in a meaningful way. We continue to engage in data collection hoping that in the upcoming years we will have enough data to share back with this community.

Working group members: Kat Butler, June Lam, Gianni Lorello, Ike Okafor, Jerusha Retnakanthan, Lisa Richardson, Leighton Schreyer, Laura Targownik, Shari Thompson-Ricci

*We use the asterisk to open trans and transgender to a greater range of meanings, using it as an umbrella term to signal inclusivity of diverse gender identities and expressions that do not fall within the traditional cis-trans binary, including but not limited to individuals who identify as nonbinary, genderqueer, agender, gender fluid, two spirit, and intersex.

LatinX and Caribbean Community

October 12, 2022 – 5:00PM to 7:00PM
William Doo Auditorium, New College
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Photograph of individuals sitting in rows of chair in an auditorium

The inaugural TMCC event was held for LatinX and Caribbean faculty, learners and staff at Temerty Medicine. This event was the first of its kind to share back data from the “Voice of …” survey that was culturally responsive and relevant. Catering was provided by local LatinX and Caribbean small business vendors.  The event spotlighted speakers that identify with either the LatinX and/or Caribbean community. We had the privilege of Carmen Avila-Casado and Upton Allen to be the keynote speakers. They shared their insights and experiences on navigating the medical field as clinician-investigators of LatinX and Caribbean heritage.

This was followed by David Rojas, who provided a data-share back presentation of findings from the 2021 “Voices Of...” survey pertaining to LatinX and Caribbean learners, including MD students, residents, and clinical fellows. The data showed that the experiences of MD students and residents were relatable; therefore, these groups were analyzed together a single group. The Clinical Fellows experience was different as evidenced by the data and was reported separately. Comparisons were made between the LatinX community and all other respondents. Due to the reporting limitations that help protect respondents' confidentiality of the Voices surveys, there were not enough responses to represent the Caribbean community. The LatinX community represented <5% of the total survey responders in 2021.

The event concluded with a panel discussion featured Drs. Allen, Alvarez-Elias, Casado and Rojas. Historically, Latinx and Caribbean learners have faced unique challenges and once the data was shared, it was important to provide space for Q&A and an opportunity for dialogue amongst the panel and participants. Post-event feedback from attendees highlighted the need for an interactive portion to share their own respective stories and to shift to a later starting time. Overall, the event inspired a sense of belonging and community building, and also provided an opportunity to expand networks across Temerty Medicine.  For more information see the infographic below.

Infographic: LatinX and Caribbean Community

Panelists: Upton Allen, Carmen Avila-Casado, Catalina Alvarez Elias, David Rojas

Working group members:  Tibyan Ahmed, Catalina Alvarez Elias, Samuel Garcia-Feliz, Ike Okafor, Jerusha Retnakanthan, David Rojas, Selina Shi, Zheng Song, Shari Thompson-Ricci