In September 2020, when Joyce Echaquan of the Atikamekw Nation of Manawan tragically died while in a hospital’s care, we were very painfully reminded of the ugly pervasiveness of systemic racism and discrimination in our society, including in our health care systems. The past year also saw the discovery of more than 5,000 graves of Indigenous children who were sent to residential or boarding schools in Canada and the United States. I would like to acknowledge that many of these children were victims of communicable diseases and other medical conditions related to the poor conditions in residential schools and the substandard care that they received. The health professions in Canada had a part in this tragedy, and the efforts in our Faculty described here are only the very beginnings of our own Truth and Reconciliation.
The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is deeply and humbly committed to do better, and at this juncture we will re-focus our energies with increased rigour on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action that speak to its mission, to identify the many gaps and to work with the Indigenous communities in our health network to close them.
David Eidelman, MDCM
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences