PRIDE Month and National Indigenous History Month among hospital celebrations
SARNIA & PETROLIA – June 1, 2021 – Bluewater Health is accelerating its commitment to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at its two hospitals, with a June 1 kick off of several activities aimed at awareness, education and inclusion. The most immediate activities centre on the Indigenous and LGBTQ+ communities, with June being National Indigenous History Month and PRIDE Month.
“Receiving healthcare can be an incredibly vulnerable and personal experience. Any barriers that hinder people from seeking or receiving medical care that is appropriate, safe and equitable, must be addressed urgently,” commented Mike Lapaine, President and CEO, Bluewater Health. “Several years ago we recognized our need to better focus on equity, diversity and inclusion and we will be increasing this work even more in the months to come. With the recent Black Lives Matter movement, PRIDE Month and National Indigenous History month, we have all been keen to revamp and reignite our EDI work. We know we must do more, be more, and learn more.
” Over the past five years Bluewater Health has intentionally increased its focus on inclusivity and diversity from the most senior positions to the front line. The organization has: introduced multiple internal learning opportunities focused on anti-racism and preventing bias; held a number of education sessions on LGBTQ2+, specifically gender identity and gender transition; created an LGBTQ2+ internal advisory committee; created two indigenous navigator positions; recruited several Board members of diverse backgrounds; instituted a Culture of Kindness; and currently creating the framework for an Equity and Diversity task force.
The hospital will mark PRIDE Month by flying the inclusive flag, with the raising occurring today. The flag incorporates the rainbow flag denoting the diversity of the LGBTQ community as well as a chevron along the hoist side that features pink, light blue and white stripes from the transgender flag and black and brown stripes to represent marginalized communities of colour. A PRIDE/BIPOC crosswalk will be painted at both the Sarnia and Petrolia hospitals, in summer (date and timing to be confirmed). Staff education events are planned virtually for the month of June and will leverage both provincial and community partners in this space.
To mark National Indigenous History Month the hospital is promoting an awareness event on June 1, two virtual Paint Night events for staff and Professional Staff with Indigenous artist Moses Lunham, and sharing Indigenous teachings from Elders Cecil Isaac and Liz Akiwenzie throughout the month. The teachings describe Indigenous approaches to health, through the Medicine Wheel and traditional healing. Bluewater Health will mark National indigenous Peoples Day, or Solidarity Day, on June 21 with a smudge and prayer and unveiling its Truth & Reconciliation commitment and future mural. The hospital recently announced it received funding for a new position to facilitate transitions of care for Indigenous patients, to complement the work of its Indigenous Patient Navigator. The hospital’s direction is guided by the Bluewater Health Indigenous Partnership, with membership from the three local First Nations. The hospital is flying its flag at half mast to recognize the 215 children from the Kamloops Residential School.
ABOUT BLUEWATER HEALTH Bluewater Health, with locations in Sarnia and Petrolia, cares for the residents of Sarnia-Lambton. With close to 2,500 staff, Professional Staff and volunteers, Bluewater Health provides an array of specialized acute, complex continuing care, allied health and ambulatory care services. Bluewater Health’s Mission is: We create exemplary healthcare experiences with patients and families every time. For more information about Bluewater Health, visit www.bluewaterhealth.ca or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.