A family doctor and a community activist tackle the intersections between public health and necessary activism.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made many gross inequalities, globally, more apparent. Many of us became advocates by default, feeling we really had no other choice. Nili and Ariel interview women across Canada who work double or triple shifts as professionals, parents and activists, shining a light on the issues that keep us up at night. From the streets, to the waiting room, to the classroom, advocacy is often the only prescription for change.
Birgit Umaigba lived in a shelter, pregnant, when she arrived in Canada. Now she is an ICU nurse in Durham, Ontario, preparing to start a PhD. She talks to us about the toll of the pandemic and precarious employment on the mental health of healthcare “heroes.”
We’ve spoken at length about the importance of standing up against sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism. For International Women’s Day 2021, we speak with Fae Johnstone about trans women’s experiences of gender-based discrimination.
In our first episode of 2021, Ariel and Nili talk about widespread issues with Covid-19 vaccine rollout, healthcare worker and educator exhaustion, the latest provincial lockdown measures, and the global need for community advocacy.
Zena Sharman, PhD, is a writer, speaker, strategist, and LGTBQ+ health advocate. She's the editor of the award-winning anthology "The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care" and is currently the Director of Strategy for the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research in British Columbia.
Dr. Jessi Gold is a psychiatrist and an Assistant Professor at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She's the Director of Wellness, Engagement, and Outreach for the Department of Psychiatry in the university's School of Medicine. She writes frequently about mental health and stigma for publications including Forbes, Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.
Dr. Clover Hemans is a physician in Ontario. She was the 96th president of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, and the Co-Chair of the Ontario Medical Association’s Outreach to Women Physicians Committee.
Dr. Genevieve Eastabrook is an obstetrician/gynaecologist and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in London, Ontario. She's an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on placenta and maternal cardiometabolic health. Content warning: this episode discusses abortion, pregnancy loss, and reproductive rights and justice.
Dr. Lisa Richardson, a physician advocate for Indigenous health and medical education, is Anishinaabe. In her role as the Strategic Lead of Indigenous Health in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Women's College Hospital, and the Vice-Chair of Culture and Inclusion in the Department of Medicine, she talks to us about the structural change that is required to address institutionalized discrimination in Canadian healthcare.
Dr. Michelle Cohen is a rural family doctor, an Assistant Professor and preceptor with the Department of Family Medicine at Queen's University, and co-chair of the Advocacy Committee of Canadian Women in Medicine.
Dr. Melissa Holowaty is a family physician practicing in rural Ontario. She specializes in addiction medicine and substance use disorders. She talks to us about barriers to care for her clients, harm reduction, rural/urban life challenges during the pandemic.
Dr. Eugenie Waters and Dr. Sarah Sloan are both family physicians practicing in Ottawa. They're both part of a group of Canadian female physicians and mothers who are speaking up about the connections between climate change and health.
Emilie Coyle is a lawyer and is the Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. The organization works with and for female and gender-diverse people in the justice system, in particular those who are incarcerated in Canada's prisons for women. Since taking the helm of the organization in January, Emilie has become an advocate for prisoners' rights and wellbeing during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Jill Promoli was thrust into the world of advocacy after losing her two-year-old son, Jude, to influenza in 2016. She and her family launched the flu vaccination campaign, ForJudeForEveryone.com, later that year. Jill is now advocating for universal paid sick leave so that families don't have to choose between their health and their finances.
Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos is an Associate Teaching Professor at Ontario Tech University whose research specializes in family caregiving. Over the course of the pandemic, Dr. Stamatopoulos has become a leading advocate for long-term care residents and their families, with a particular focus on the dangers of prolonged and restrictive visitation bans. To that end, she has provided over 25 expert interviews (print, radio and television) and has written several editorials tracking the provinces pandemic response to long-term care and the harms of resident isolation. She also collaborated with Ontario NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky and team of family advocates to table a motion on July 20, 2020 urging the government to create a COVID-19 ‘Essential Caregiver Strategy’ that protects the rights of residents and their most trusted care partners across all congregate care settings.
Laura McCoy is an elementary school teacher and has been teaching in the Toronto District School Board for 21 years. She is a Regional Organizer for the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, and a founding member of Ontario Education Workers United, a rank-and-file group of education workers. She lives in Toronto with her partner, and has two teenage children.
Dr. Jennifer Kwan is a family physician from Burlington, Ontario. She is an advocate for Masks4Canada & creates daily graphs for Ontario’s COVID19 statistics on Twitter. During the COVID19 pandemic, Dr. Kwan has helped the public and physicians understand the virus’s impact in Ontario. She has also been advocating for PPE for frontline workers in hospitals, as well as outpatient clinics, creating a centralized list of Ontario hospitals accepting donations. As one of the Directors of the Halton Region Chinese Canadian Association, she has assisted in the donation of over 5000 masks to local physicians’ offices and care providers. She also contributed to the PPE subgroup of Covid19Resources.ca and worked with the data visualization team on howsmyflattening.ca
For more information, including links to interviews, articles and other media: https://jkwanmd.com/about and follow her on Twitter @jkwan_md
From the streets, to the waiting room, to the classroom, advocacy is often the only prescription for change. Subscribe to listen to co-hosts, Dr Nili Kaplan-Myrth and Ariel Troster, speak with women across Canada about their activism. Subscribe and follow us on @Rxadvocacy and RxAdvocacy.ca