Feb. 8, 2023

CSM Update: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility

A message to faculty, students, trainees and staff from the Cumming School of Medicine dean

I care deeply about cultivating a respectful, collaborative environment. As dean, a significant priority for me is to focus on advancing our anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) efforts and our commitments to ii' taa'poh'to'p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous strategy.

The Cumming School of Medicine’s (CSM) leadership team acknowledges that as a school there is a need to create positive change in our culture and, as key leadership roles are being filled, specific attention is being given to ensure EDIA and anti-racism. I look forward to sharing more with you about our new senior associate dean, Health Equity and Systems Transformation, a key role responsible for elevating issues around health equity, equity innovations, and equity systems transformation within CSM.

Part of that change is also cultivating a respectful, safe campus, fostering more open communication and explicit action around issues of belonging, harassment, racism and discrimination, safe reporting and accountability, and celebrating our growing diversity.

With the Office of Professionalism, Equity and Diversity (OPED) and the Indigenous, Local and Global Health (ILGH) Office, CSM is launching an awareness campaign about the importance of recognizing, building and maintaining an equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible environment at CSM; an environment that recognizes and values Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing, and connecting.

The campaign is an added commitment towards cultivating this change and I invite you to take action alongside me. During this campaign we will share resources, help build knowledge among our campus community, and offer ways to get involved. Additionally, we will spotlight some of the incredible work being done in the areas of EDIA, as well as Indigenous health and engagement, by members of our community.

I would also like to take this opportunity to note that this week marks the University of Calgary’s EDI Week 2023. I encourage you to celebrate by participating in one of the many events happening online and around campus. The university has also launched the Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (PTF-EDIA), and opportunities for engagement will be announced in the coming months.

We are currently embarking on a new era at CSM, one that is being guided by diverse perspectives and broad engagement from our CSM community. Diversity and inclusion are critical to excellence – to fueling innovation, better decision-making and greater engagement. As we move forward, I recognize that achieving excellence as a medical school requires a culture that celebrates and is proud of its EDIA, is a place where people want to learn and work with a sense of belonging and is reflective of the community we serve.

The campaign will roll out around Foothills campus in the weeks and months ahead, and I hope that you will find it a valuable resource as we work towards building a more welcoming and inclusive future for our school.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Week occurs annually at UCalgary in February

Todd Anderson, MD, is the dean of the Cumming School of Medicine.