January 17, 2024
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is on a journey to transform healthcare to be more responsive to the needs of the many diverse communities we serve. In May 2023, LHSC launched the Black Health stream within the Office of Inclusion and Social Accountability (OISA), placing the hospital in a unique position to collaboratively improve care experiences and health outcomes for Black individuals.
The Black Health team works in conjunction with the Indigenous Health team and Health Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility team to advance equity-based initiatives that create safer and more inclusive spaces at LHSC. By engaging with members of Team LHSC, physicians, patients, and community members, the team works to create relationships built on trust to learn more about Black individuals’ experiences within the healthcare system.
“At LHSC, we are looking for ways to transform healthcare in a way that is responsive to the needs of the communities we serve,” says Kevin Chan, Acting President and CEO. “Our commitment to creating a healthcare environment where everyone feels safe and affirmed can only be achieved by addressing barriers and deconstructing systems of oppression, discrimination, racism, and bias.”
Aligned to Ontario Health’s equity priorities, having a team within LHSC dedicated to improving healthcare for Black individuals addresses many of the key components found in the Ontario Health EDI Anti-Racism Framework and Black Health Plan for Ontario.
“Our Black Health team acts as a catalyst in our efforts to identify and dismantle barriers that have historically prevented members of the Black community from accessing health services,” says Rumina Morris, Executive Director of OISA. “The education and consultation services provided by the Black Health team are instrumental in supporting hospital leaders, physicians and staff to build our capacity to provide care that is culturally relevant and sensitive to the needs of Black patients.”
Cathy Wood is leading this important work as LHSC’s Senior Director of Black Health. Cathy has demonstrated an unrelenting commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion over her 24-year career with LHSC. In her previous role as Senior Director within the Office of Capacity Management, she gained valuable insight into health inequities among certain communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cathy’s education and experience have also afforded her the necessary skills to lead system transformation through continuous quality improvement, safety, and service excellence.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead LHSC into the future of Black Health,’ Cathy shares. “We have much work to do to address the inequities and disparities faced by Black individuals in the healthcare system, and I am confident that we can achieve this transformational work through close collaboration with community organizations, patients, staff and members of the diverse Black communities we serve.”
To learn more, please visit the Black Health website.