As part of its action plan to address systemic racism, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) is proud to announce the appointment of Aman Sium, director, client and family integrated care and Meenu Sikand, executive lead, equity, diversity and inclusion, as inaugural co-chairs of the new Holland Bloorview Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) task force. Aman and Meenu have been appointed to their roles by president and CEO, Julia Hanigsberg, to whom they will also report to in their co-chair roles.
The IDEA task force was identified as one of the key elements in Holland Bloorview’s action plan in its recent statement on anti-Black racism. The hospital released the statement and action plan following the murder of George Floyd as well as the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto and subsequent protests calling attention to anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism rampant in society.
“Whether Black Lives Matter protests or anti-Chinese racism experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, recent events have underscored the deep hurt being experienced by members of our community.” said Julia Hanigsberg, president and CEO of Holland Bloorview. “Marginalized populations have unequal access to healthcare and racism has been described as a public health crisis and a danger to children’s health. The time is now to address these issues head on, without delay. I am grateful that Aman and Meenu have committed their knowledge, experience and dedication to helping us find a way forward.”
Immediate next steps include developing the task force terms of reference and an open and transparent process for appointing members. Aman and Meenu will also be working with Dr. Sharon Smile, developmental paediatrician and Division of Developmental Paediatrics equity, diversity and inclusion champion.
Aman Sium is the director of client and family integrated care at Holland Bloorview. Aman and his team partner with the hospital’s community of children, youth and families to design meaningful programs and services, inform research and policy, and enhance direct care experiences. He will continue in this role while undertaking the new co-chair responsibilities. Aman is experienced in the intersections of client and family-centered care, health equity and human-centered design. He is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
Meenu Sikand joined Holland Bloorview in January 2019 as its inaugural executive lead, equity, diversity and inclusion. Meenu has been an equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility champion for more than three decades, dedicating her professional and personal life to advocating for the rights of people living with disabilities and those in marginalized communities at the local, national and international level. Her lived experiences, among other things, as a South Asian immigrant to Canada and a woman with a physical disability mean that Meenu has a critical eye on equity and intersectionality, imperative to the success of this role.