A Statement from Melissa Brouwers, Director of the School of Epidemiology and Public Health
Racism and social injustice are public health crises. The failure to have a fair and just society leads to disproportional negative physical and mental health consequences and safety threats for many of its members – Black people, Indigenous people, members of other racialized groups; women; people from LGBTQQIP2SAA communities; people with disabilities; people of certain faiths; people living in poverty; and other marginalized groups.
The persistent violence against Black people in Canada and around the world at the hands of police has been shocking and deplorable. I would like to personally express my deepest sympathy to, and solidarity with, our Black faculty, staff, students and alumni. SEPH stands with the Faculty of Medicine and the University in unequivocally denouncing these heinous acts as well as recognizing their birthplace in pervasive systemic racism.
I am proud of the SEPH students – and others - who have organized and who have put out a call for action – demanding greater accountability; demanding that the SEPH curriculum more fully integrates issues of race, social injustice, and social and health inequities; and demanding that SEPH ensures it does all it can to build a culture of inclusion.
Collectively, members of the SEPH community will continue to seek solutions to address these public health priorities through education, research and advocacy. The launch of the new MPH program in September is an opportunity to offer more robust learning opportunities related to health equity. In addition, and with the help of the Faculty of Medicine’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Office, a SEPH-specific EDI committee will be established comprised of students, staff and faculty. It will provide recommendations on how SEPH can more fully integrate equity, diversity, and inclusion into its educational and research mandates and how SEPH can ensure it is an accessible, inclusive and safe environment for everyone. I will make public its mandate and terms of reference. I look forward to working collaboratively with this committee, the university, and our community stakeholders on this critical agenda.
Melissa Brouwers, PhD
Professor and Director, School of Epidemiology and Public Health
Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa
600 Peter Morand (101F)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1G 5Z3
Tel : 613-562-5800, ext 8159