Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador


As the inaugural Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Ambassador for PaLM, it is hard to believe that it has only been 2 months since I accepted this role. During this time, I have had multiple consultations with PaLM researchers, learners, health care providers and instructors about how they are focused on making this world a better, safer and healthier place, and recognize that we all have a responsibility to actively engage in anti-racist work. PaLM has also established an EDI Working Group to ensure we stay the course and to convey the message that this work is a shared responsibility. Currently, the Working Group members are myself, Ana Cabrera, Subrata Chakrabarti, Angela DeCandido, David Driman, Rob Hammond, and Lloy Wylie.

My role arose in PaLM to align with Western’s commitment to actively take on racism and eliminate inequities where we see them and as well as a response to the President’s Anti-racism Working Group Final Report. Our department, as part of the community, has the opportunity and the responsibility to create a better future for each other. In the coming months, we will be developing a needs assessment survey so that I can better direct my efforts to serve your needs. Your input will be invaluable and will serve as the foundation of how we can eliminate inequities.

My goal for our department is that we demonstrate a collaborative and educational approach to eliminate inequities. One step towards education is offering opportunities for the PaLM community to engage in EDI-related learning and training. Our first event was on December 10, 2020 when we invited Dr. Nicole Kaniki to speak to us on "EDI and Anti-Racism in the Academy." The next step is to offer our instructors and faculty members the opportunity to enroll in the award winning San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training course. The Working Group will continue to explore other engagement and education vehicles that address the broad spectrum of EDI in academic, research and clinical settings.

Although, this will take time, I believe if each of us takes the time to be kind, to listen, to be a reflective learner, and to use our voices, this will lead to change in our own department and those around us each and every day.

Since this may feel new to you, there may be periods of discomfort, for those seeking equity, allies and those who have not had to seek equity. If you need support, or someone to talk to, I am always available or you can visit the following websites to learn about the resources available to you.

Rebekah Jacques