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COVID-19 and the Future of Health Research and Innovation: Roundtable Report & Recording

Shift Health Publishes Commentary on COVID-19 and Health Data Ecosystem Challenges

LSO Releases 2020 Policy Forum Report: “Empowering the Life Sciences in Ontario’s Post-Pandemic Future”

Shift Health’s Dr. Anne Mullin and Dr. Ryan Wiley, in collaboration with Dr. Imogen Coe, Dr. Everton Gooden and Dr. Modupe Tunde-Byass, have published “Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA): From organizational responsibility to leadership competency” in Healthcare Management Forum. This original article stresses the importance of moving IDEA from an organizational imperative to a leadership competency to realize durable change within health research and care organizations.  

Integrating IDEA can elevate leadership competencies within health research and healthcare settings: 

  • An inclusive leader will share their personal IDEA beliefs, create a safe space for others to do the same, foster a common understanding of IDEA within their organization and approach decision-making in a way that demonstrates that IDEA is a core value. 
  • Leaders must demonstrate an ability to understand and incorporate diverse points of view, overcome resistance and, given the dynamic nature of current understanding of IDEA and the systems and structures that oppose progress, to identify, adapt and implement emerging best practices. Where leaders do not have the knowledge or lived experience, there is an expectation that they build a deeper understanding and recalibrate what is required to lead change. 
  • Inclusive leaders will help individuals and teams build their IDEA skill sets in the context of research, care, management and collaboration. They will also advocate for marginalized groups and design and implement recruitment, retention and professional development initiatives that create pathways for diverse candidates to succeed. 
  • Prevailing standards of excellence and merit are not universal and can propagate inequality and injustice. There is an opportunity to reduce bias and barriers by expanding and enriching excellence in research and care and diversifying metrics of success. 
  • Inclusive leaders will define and monitor near- and long-term goals related to IDEA, clarify roles and responsibilities for the activities/initiatives that advance IDEA goals, communicate progress, take responsibility for failures and share success. 

Through interviews with leaders with lived experience across Canada’s healthcare and research ecosystem, this study identifies three domains that are particularly challenging and complex in healthcare and research settings and where constructive disruption of the status quo can drive transformation: 

  • Governance. While IDEA leadership can originate at all levels of an organization, boards have a powerful opportunity and responsibility to make IDEA a key metric in the assessment of an institution’s organizational effectiveness and cultural well-being. As noted by Dr. Elizabeth Douville, Chair, Genome Canada and Founding and Managing Partner, AmorChem: “You must not take for granted that IDEA conversations are commonplace. They are not. Discussion, education, and preparation may be needed to bring a board to a place of readiness to act.” 
  • Mentorship. Mentorship may provide a mechanism for propagating IDEA as a mindset and competency, as mentors can educate and inspire diverse communities by ensuring that IDEA is a part of every agenda, conversation, decision and initiative; exploring people and perspectives that have been excluded; extending opportunities to equity-seeking groups; and uplifting communities. Dr. Notisha Massiquoi, Principal Consultant, Nyanda Consulting, calls for a shift in the mentorship mentality: “We need mentors who think about developing their own successors. We need proactive mentors who will create the conditions for advancement and guide their mentees through their career journey.” 
  • Employee Performance Measurement. Establishing a system of performance measurement using metrics for impact and change fosters accountability for IDEA. This is a significant cultural shift that must be met with patience, tenacity, leadership and courage. As Christopher Townsend, Manager, Organizational Development and Leadership, Sunnybrook Hospital, notes: “We have done a disservice when we say we are practicing IDEA, when we are not getting to the granular data needed to show we are impacting the culture of inclusion and transformational change with measurable outcomes.” 

To learn more about integrating IDEA into leadership competencies, read the full article HERE.