Carol Soares, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at Michael Garron Hospital

#IamMGH – Meet Carol Soares

#IamMGH tells the stories of our people. Meet Carol Soares, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).

“I worked frontline as a clinical social worker for over 24 years. For the past seven years, I have worked in different capacities as an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) consultant at non-profit organizations and with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

I grew up in a small town, where we were one of three Black/African families, so I understand what the experience can be for underrepresented individuals who might lack a sense of belonging. I am passionate about issues that impact members of racialized and other equity-deserving communities.

As a social worker, I believe that I can see beyond an equity-related incident and understand the potential affects that it may have on a person and their personal and/or professional life trajectory. I think it’s important to integrate social work approaches into EDI because these topics are sensitive with longstanding implications that can result in significant repercussions for one’s life in addition to communities and workplace cultures. 

MGH is a community hospital and there’s a commitment across various levels and roles in the organization to ensure a safe and inclusive work environment. In September 2020, the MGH Inclusion Alliance was formed and is comprised of staff, leaders and physicians from the hospital and the MGH Foundation. There have also been Black History Month events and training opportunities in partnership with the 519 to foster a 2SLGBTQIA+-inclusive environment.

There’s still a lot more work to do because many people experience oppression, discrimination and racism, which may prevent them from living their lives and reaching their full potential. In my role at MGH, I take the lead to ensure there is clear direction around EDI practices and policies. Along with the MGH Inclusion Alliance, we collectively strive to address systemic and institutional racism, transcending into the experiences of patients, staff, physicians, volunteers, learners and the community at large.

EDI in the context of a healthcare setting is vital because individuals may be experiencing their most vulnerable moments when seeking healthcare services. As a community hospital, we want to make sure people have the best health experience, whether it’s for staff providing services, patients receiving care, family and caregivers providing support or members of the community visiting or supporting the hospital.”

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