Interview: Shaianna Coleman, Manager of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

By Humber River Health

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Shaianna Coleman and I am the Manager of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. I joined Humber River Health in March 2023.

What is equity, diversity, and inclusion? What does your role entail?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are three closely linked values that work together to promote the fair treatment, full participation, and liberation of all – especially the populations that have been historically marginalized and underrepresented.

My role allows me to identify both tangible and intangible barriers to equity and inclusion among patients, staff, physicians, and volunteers, then work to develop sustainable ways to close those gaps and foster a culture of belongingness and diversity that is most reflective of the communities we serve.

I happened to join Humber River Health at an exciting time, where our 2023-2026 strategic direction is to embrace equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. We will do this by fostering meaningful relationships with our community, promoting education and awareness, and using evidence-based strategies to ensure our patients and families receive equitable, culturally informed care.

Part of leading EDI work requires having the language and in some cases, the lived experience to better understand the challenges faced by the communities surrounding us. In order to do this work effectively, we need to start by checking our biases, understanding what effective allyship looks like and continuously asking ourselves who else should be engaged in discussions about creating change. More than anything, we need to lead with an understanding that EDI is a continuous journey and a collective responsibility.

Why Humber?

A very diverse community surrounds Humber River Health. I was born and raised in the neighbouring communities of York South-Weston and Black Creek, so being able to do this work on behalf of the communities in which I lived, learned, and worked among makes it makes it much more rewarding.

When you are not working, what are you doing?

It is no secret that the type of work I do can take a toll. Sometimes I have to make space for difficult conversations that can be traumatic due to my identity. Because of this, it is important for me to regularly practice self-care.

When I am not working, you can catch me the yoga studio, going to a Ballroom event, or reading. My favorite book at the moment is So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. It is a great book for folks that are interested in understanding the complex realities of Black folks and how to facilitate productive conversations about race.