Family Medicine Announces New Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Lead

Feb 7, 2020
Dr. Onye Nnorom is now the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM)’s first-ever Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Lead. In her new position, Dr. Nnorom will play a key role in advancing EDI by providing advice and making recommendations to the DFCM Chair and Core Executive Leadership on matters of policy interpretation and practice concerning diversity, equity and inclusion for faculty, residents, students and staff.

“This role is a great alignment between my own expertise and passion for health equity, matched with the commitment of the DFCM to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in the department. Ultimately, this is a change that will benefit our diverse patient populations. I feel very lucky, and am delighted to take on this role,” says Dr. Nnorom, a family doctor and DFCM faculty member, Associate Program Director of the Public Health & Preventive Medicine Residency Program at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and a clinical consultant for the Nicotine Dependence Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Dr. Nnorom’s role will be falling under DFCM’s Family Doctor Leadership Portfolio, led by Vice-Chair Dr. David White.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that Dr. Nnorom agreed to take on this role,” says Dr. White. “Of course the work around EDI falls on all of us, particularly the leaders in this Department. So much great work is already occurring around EDI throughout our Department, Dr. Nnorom will help us bring a cohesive lens to this work and move us even more forward.”

Dr. Nnorom believes this position is an inspiring sign of change at DFCM and throughout the Faculty of Medicine.

“When I started as a resident at U of T, I knew that I wanted to address issues of discrimination that affect people working in healthcare and, in particular, how discrimination affects patients and communities. But the opportunities to do this kind of work did not exist or were not made very clear to me at the time.”

Although Dr. Nnorom may not have had the opportunity to act on this passion during her residency, she has since accumulated a comprehensive portfolio of work in different health equity roles. She is currently the Black Health Theme Lead in the MD Program at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, where she provides guidance and develops educational content around black population health. She is also the President of the Black Physicians Association of Ontario, an organization focused on equitable representation of black people in medicine and improving health outcomes for black Ontarians. Her new role as DFCM’s EDI Lead adds to this expanding portfolio and aligns with her own personal passion for increasing health equity in medicine.

“Ultimately as a department and family doctors, when we’re better equipped with knowledge around EDI, we are better positioned to care for the very diverse communities that we serve. When we embrace diversity, we make better choices, have more innovation, and have better ideas on how to provide respectful, culturally safe care. Ultimately, this will make us better clinicians and hopefully create even better relationships with our own patients.”

As the EDI Lead, Dr. Nnorom wants to establish a committee of people who are already engaged with EDI work within the department.

“There are a lot of people who are champions in this area who are already in the department, but they’re not necessarily coming together as one. So I want to create a committee with these champions and identify best practices in EDI, promote their work, and share them with leaders at different sites,” says Dr. Nnorom. “I’m also looking forward to working very closely with the Indigenous Health Lead, Dr. Suzanne Shoush, to address issues around Indigenous health and histories.”

Dr. Nnorom began her two-year term in February of 2020.