Azeria Telesford believes there’s a significant lack of equity within the healthcare industry.
She’s the president and founder of the World Healthcare Equity Foundation (WHEF), a Canadian non-profit that’s been working towards making healthcare more equitable by partnering with communities and local organizations.
WHEF’s upcoming conference, Bridging the Gap, is a direct approach to doing just that.
According to Telesford, there are two main target goals for the conference. The first is to show people who are interested in the healthcare industry the different types of careers they can go into.
The second is to show ethnically diverse Canadians, while it may not seem like it from the surface, there are people that look like them within the industry.
“There’s a disproportionate ratio in terms of the types of people who are in healthcare fields,” said Telesford. “The networking that’s required, the information that’s required to know how to get started on these journeys can be disproportionately available and inaccessible.”
Throughout the conference, there will be information sessions, networking opportunities, panel discussions and presentations from local organizations.
Also in attendance will be individuals within healthcare fields including dieticians, physicians, pharmacists, doctors, nurses, psychologists and more.
” A lack of diversity ultimately affects healthcare
High-school and university students who attend the conference will learn how to apply for certain fields, what it takes to succeed, talk about barriers to access and listen to personal stories from professionals in the industry.
All of this was created with the goal of diversifying the industry and showing ethnically diverse individuals that they have a place in healthcare.
Beyond this goal, there’s a bigger picture in mind for the WHEF team.
Improving healthcare for ethnic minorities.
“[Lack of diversity] ultimately affects healthcare because when different types of people go to access healthcare, not having people who can understand their experience and understand perspectives that they might be coming from can lead to adverse outcomes,” said Telesford.
She added that things such as religion, culture and lived experiences as a person of colour are factors that may not always be considered if the doctor or practitioner does not understand where the patient may be coming from.
With Bridging the Gap, WHEF hopes to create a foundation where young people will be encouraged to enter the industry, build networks and eventually become practitioners that will diversify healthcare and ultimately improve the field.
The conference will be held on August 7, 2021, via Zoom. To register click here.