A crucial step towards a better MUHC

This morning during the public meeting of the Board of Directors of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), the co-chairs of the Committee for Action on Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (C-AIDE) tabled the attached Executive Summary of their report. In addition, the full report will be posted on our Intranet and Web site once the French version is available, as required by law. It is also our intention to translate and make public the Executive Summary in Cree and Inuktitut as soon as possible. 

Wanting to do better and aware of the magnitude of racist issues that have come to light in recent years in Quebec and around the globe, our Board, with the support of senior management, asked C-AIDE to take a close look at the situation in our institution. We are proud of this proactive initiative, which is, to our knowledge, a first in the Quebec and Canadian healthcare sectors. Today, I am pleased to confirm that the Board carefully reviewed the final ten recommendations in the report and agreed unanimously to pursue them. Management will now determine next steps regarding implementation, under the usual oversight of the Board.

Let us recall that in 2021, the Board had already adopted five of C-AIDE’s preliminary recommendations, which the MUHC has been pursuing. These include offering implicit bias and cultural safety training, providing closed captioning at public meetings, adopting Joyce’s Principle, incorporating EDI principles, values and commitment within the MUHC’s Strategic Plan, and appointing an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Resolution Officer. 

I wish to thank all participants from the MUHC and the Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC) who completed the anonymous Web-based surveys and /or volunteered to share their perspectives and lived experiences during semi-structured interviews or written responses. We have heard their voices and we are taking them seriously.

Next, I want to thank C-AIDE and its co-chairs in particular, Board members Ms. Seeta Ramdass and Dr. Anita Brown-Johnson, for taking on this difficult mandate two years ago, which was made even more challenging by the pandemic and the limited access to computers and e-mails by many in our workforce.

Racism and discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, religion or disabilities have no place in society, let alone in. our healthcare system. This report describes deplorable incidents that are all unacceptable and robust measures will be taken to counter them. Every patient, caregiver, healthcare worker, physician and employee has the right to be cared for or work in an inclusive, welcoming and respectful environment.

This is what we strive to achieve every day at the MUHC.

We will continue to work with Indigenous communities in the Montreal area, as well as with our RUISSS McGill partners in Nunavik, the Cree Territory, Nord-du-Québec, and elsewhere to improve the care we provide to our patients and their families. We will also do more to ensure underrepresented groups have equal access to jobs and advancement opportunities, as well as a safe reporting system to address any issue of discrimination, racism and bias.

The MUHC and RI-MUHC includes more than 16,000 employees, doctors and students from all backgrounds, and serves hundreds of thousands of patients, caregivers and visitors yearly. C-AIDE's work represents a crucial step forward, as it has provided us with a roadmap to uphold these principles at every level of our institution. I look forward to updating you on the actions we are taking in the weeks and months to come.

Pierre Gfeller, MD, CM, MBA
President and Executive Director, MUHC 

Executive Summary: Report of the Committee for Action on Inclusion, Diversity and Equity of the Board of Directors of the McGill University Health Centre (September 2022)