Through a generous grant from the Quick Start Public Engagement Fund at Memorial University, the aim of this project is to improve equity, diversity and inclusivity in the rural and urban emergency departments in the Eastern Health Region. Recent media reports and lived experiences of people in minority groups in Canada highlight the need for more education and intervention to improve both access and the quality of healthcare for these populations. The first part of this project is a series of lectures to educate support staff, personal care attendants, paramedics, nurses and physicians in the emergency department about the perspectives and barriers faced by indigenous groups, immigrants, and persons in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community when they access healthcare in the emergency departments. We hope to expand this lecture series in the future to include other minoritized groups for example sex workers, persons with addictions, people of colour, people with disabilites and women. We plan to gather feedback from our community partners and from those who attend the lecture series and ask them for practical solutions to address the barriers that exist for our patients. The second part of this project will aim to implement these solutions and determine whether or not they are effective and sustainable.
Several members of the Faculty of Medicine are on the planning committee along with nurse educators from Eastern Health. The committee will recruit a wide cross-section of participants from Eastern Health’s emergency departments. Memorial will provide technology, administrative and all other support for the project. The external partners will provide content expertise, as this project would not be able to be delivered without them. The Quick Start Fund will not cover the full cost of the training and these organizations will offer in-kind training time to the initiative.
We have established connections with several community organizations that are interested in participating in this equity, diversity and inclusivity initiative. These organizations include:
1) First Light - a non-profit organization that serves the urban Indigenous and non-Indigenous community by providing programs and services rooted in the revitalization, strengthening and celebration of Indigenous cultures and languages in the spirit of trust, respect, and friendship.
2) Quadrangle: a community organization that advances education and raises awareness about specific problems faced by the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
3) The Association for New Canadians: A community organization supporting immigrants that strives for the highest quality of service and fosters community awareness on the benefits of immigration, multiculturalism and cultural diversity.