Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Our vision is to integrate best practices into all our operations and academic activities.
The Faculty’s mission is to “bring our combined expertise to promote wellbeing across the life span.” We value diversity, inclusivity and equity. The Faculty values and respects all members of its communities, each of whom makes an important contribution to enriching our Faculty. Equity, diversity and inclusion are necessary conditions of wellbeing as surely as other factors. On this site you will find resources on EDI for students, faculty, staff and others in the FHSD community. The steps we take together, though each perhaps small in itself, move us forward to fully living our values. We recognize that equity, diversity and inclusion are necessary conditions of our individual and community health and wellbeing.
We invite you to engage with the EDI Committee. With representatives from our faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, they are eager to listen and to foster ongoing conversations.
Access resources, reports and policies relating to equity, diversity and inclusion. We invite you to explore and make use of these resources – and let us know of other tools, resources or initiatives we can share.
Stay up to date on the most recent EDI news from the Faculty of Health and Social Development and UBCO, as well as information on upcoming events, workshops, info sessions and more.
Faculty Statement on EDI
We acknowledge that the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan is situated on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territories of the syilx Okanagan Nation.
The statement herein on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) stands as an individual and collective commitment by members of our Faculty community. This commitment – defined by actions past, present and future – is made in a context that is particular to our society, our academic setting, and our Faculty’s role in health and wellbeing research and learning.
Our Commitment in Context
Societally, Canada is characterized as a multicultural and diverse country. Nevertheless, in 2020, Canada experienced 2,669 police-reported hate crimes, the largest number recorded since comparable data became available in 2009 and an increase by 37%, or 718 more incidents, compared with the previous year. This included an increase in hate crimes against Black, East or Southeast Asian, Indigenous, South Asian, and Jewish people. The reasons for the rise in hate crimes are various. However, clearly we must contend with events and influences outside of Canada, perhaps most prominently the rise in hate crimes in the United States.
Moreover, Canada’s colonial past is very much present, as evidenced – to cite one example – by the discovery of unmarked graves in various locations in Canada, including 215 unmarked graves on the former grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Inequities persist, and many of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada are yet be answered in full or, in some cases, in part.
Regarding our academic context, UBC is a diverse institution with a stated purpose to pursue excellence in research and learning to advance a just society. Yet as the recent President’s Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) Final Report concludes, UBC “has not been immune to the scourge of racism.” The Report provides 54 steps on the “pathway to an anti-racist and inclusively excellent UBC.”
Through its research and learning, the Faculty of Health and Social Development is engaged with the health-care system, and many graduates of the three Schools will enter careers in this system. However, we know people experience unequal access to care due to social, economic, demographic, geographic, or environmental disadvantages. Specific to health inequities experienced by Indigenous people, the 2020 summary report In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care found evidence of “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous peoples.”
Our Commitment – Past, Present and Future
Equity, diversity and inclusion are necessary conditions of wellbeing as surely as other factors. Given the above context and our Faculty’s mission to “bring our combined expertise to promote wellbeing across the life span,” we are uniquely situated to advance EDI through research, learning, and engagement.
We encourage all members of our faculty community – students, staff, faculty and alumni – to download or bookmark the above cited reports, read and reflect on the recommendations, and return to them every so often.
Most importantly, let us act on them. You will note that the recommendations in the ARIE report are referred to as “steps on the pathway.” They are not boxes to be ticked. Rather each step along the path – integrated into our activities, operations and culture – moves us closer to realizing the UBC vision. We may apply the same analogy to other actions we take.
Even as we acknowledge the formidable work ahead of us, we should also recognize our progress to date on EDI. Specific to our Faculty, EDI are among the values we established in our 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, Reimagine Wellbeing:
We value diversity, inclusivity and equity. The Faculty values and respects all members of its communities, each of whom makes an important contribution to enriching our Faculty.
Over the past several years, we have made good progress in enacting EDI values. For example, the three Schools have further embedded them into their curricula, including in learning objectives and through field placements in Indigenous and diverse, international communities; faculty have advanced research in health equity in a number of subject areas; and we have evolved hiring practices to support equity-seeking groups.
Most recently, in late 2021, the Faculty established the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee to undertake a number of initiatives. This includes providing consultation and guidance on the breadth of Faculty and School activities as they relate to EDI, including how the ARIE, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, and In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care, and other report recommendations can be implemented.
Currently, the EDI Committee is reviewing the results of an EDI needs assessment survey. The survey findings will be available on the Faculty’s EDI webpages this summer, with resources to be added to address the Faculty’s needs. These will be living pages in the sense that our work is ongoing, and our goal is to make EDI resources and learnings as accessible as possible.
Please engage with the EDI Committee. With representatives from our faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, they are eager to listen and to foster ongoing conversations. You can find their membership contact information here.
As mentioned, our Faculty’s mission is to “bring our combined expertise to promote wellbeing across the life span.” Indeed, we have the expertise and leadership to advance EDI for the wellbeing of our Faculty community and beyond.
Thank you for your commitment to this work.