Inside "The Green Room"
Like many of you, I was both angered and saddened to hear the reports from members of the Canadian Armed Forces about the state of affairs they encountered in their mission to provide support to some of the long-term homes most impacted by COVID-19 in Ontario. It’s also fair to say that these observations, as shocking as they were, were not that much of a surprise to many people.
As André Picard wrote in The Globe and Mail, many of these issues: staffing shortages, reliance on casual staff working multiple homes, poor pay and working conditions for key team members like personal support workers, limited government oversight, and a focus on profit or cost reduction have all taken their toll. Action is needed and is needed now to address these longstanding issues.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the department who has been working to support our long-term-care homes and other congregate-care settings in their home regions. In some areas, the burden of care and work has been tremendous, and I know that many of our community faculty members have played important roles in responding. Our incoming dean and department member, Dr. Jane Philpott, has even returned to clinical care in support of vulnerable residents with long-term disabilities.
We are also making important academic and administrative contributions to supporting vulnerable people and populations. Dr. Imaan Bayoumi and Dr. Eva Purkey are leading research on “The Cost of COVID: Social and Emotional Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” a project supported through the first Queen’s COVID-related research funding competition. As noted in the Dean’s Blog on May 12, Dr. Purkey is also lending her expertise to the FHS Global Health Working Group on the Impact of COVID-19 on Health Equity and Disparities.
Integrating social accountability and health equity throughout the work we do in the department is one of our priorities in our strategic plan. Our active participation in support for vulnerable populations during this pandemic is one concrete example of this, and I’d like to thank all of you for your ongoing commitment to this, even in these challenging times.
Dr. Michael Green