This is Emma. She is a Resident Physician in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
“I’ve always felt that advocacy work is not something you choose. As healthcare providers we have the privilege of having advocacy find us. When COVID hit and everything started to unravel, this feeling couldn’t have been more true. I was worried about those already living on the margins.
One could see the social determinants of health in action with each passing day of the pandemic, creating more vulnerabilities for people with limited financial and social resources.
This concern echoed deeply across the UofT OBGYN resident body as we witnessed our most marginalized patients face insurmountable challenges: access to safe physical distancing away from intimate partner violence, food insecurity coinciding with financial loss, access to sexual and reproductive health care services, and reduced social supports and mental health resources during pregnancy. When elective surgeries were cancelled and our curriculum was re-structured amidst the uncertainty, over 25 ObGyn residents came together to fight health inequity. Our initiatives rolled forward while we took turns on the frontlines, quickly adapting to emerging evidence, policy changes and hospital redeployment.
As a resident lead for the UofT OBGYN advocacy committee, I’m grateful for and inspired by my colleagues and their commitment to patient care. Their thoughtfulness and work ethic has profoundly impacted those in need.
I think it’s fair to say that we all felt advocacy find us, and with that we found community, camaraderie and a sense of therapeutic connection in each other.
The work doesn’t stop with COVID, however, nor did it begin with it.
As healthcare providers, we must continue to address and dismantle health disparities, and mobilize our privilege to leverage the voices of marginalized communities through allyship and ongoing professional growth.”