Commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion
Lawson Health Research Institute is a research community committed to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in everything we do. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s), this is reinforced within the strategic plans of each hospital organization as they prioritize the creation of inclusive and safe spaces for all by addressing systems of oppression, discrimination, racism and bias.
Innovative, impactful and transformational research thrives when guided by equity, incorporating diverse worldviews, methods and perspectives. To achieve our goal of embedding EDI in all that we do, we must first acknowledge that research spaces, participation and practices have included, and still include, numerous barriers that limit the full participation of equity-denied groups and partners in the research environment. The Canadian Tri-Agency Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)1 has acknowledged such barriers and formulated The Canadian Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan (2018-2025)2 outlining steps to address these in Canada’s research ecosystem. As a health research institute, we are also guided by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) Strategic Plan (2022-2027)3, which prioritizes safe and progressive practices that will benefit its members, system, and organization.
In accordance with the OHA Strategic Plan, we believe that the key to a thriving research enterprise is to embed the values of humility, discovery and passion in our work. We want to foster the resiliency, well-being, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging of all members of our research community and thus enhance a thriving research culture where wellness, diversity and a sense of belonging are fostered, and the potential and capacity of everyone is supported. We understand that leading research through an EDI lens is necessary to achieve research relevance, success and excellence, and this will benefit everyone in the Canadian and the global research environment4,5,6,7.
Lawson Health Research Institute commits to:
- Reviewing and improving our EDI specific strategies, policies and procedures (1) to support equitable research practice, and (2) to promote inclusive hiring and retention of diverse talent at Lawson.
- Providing the training and resources for our researchers to embed EDI principles and best practices in their research design and implementation.
- Incorporating EDI accountabilities into research design and practice competencies to ensure that our research responds to the health gaps experienced by diverse communities.
- Convening a community of expert practitioners to learn best EDI practices to advance equity in research design and practice.
It is equally vital to acknowledge, honour and include Indigenous Knowledge, which long precede Euro-western centred approaches brought to these lands. In accordance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 18-24 on Health8, it is crucial to make space for and emphasize the importance of conducting health research in culturally sensitive ways as part of our collective responsibility in working towards reconciliation. We will work in collaboration with key units at Western University, such as the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, the Associate Vice-President Research (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization), and Western Research to ensure The Four R's – Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, Responsibility9 – are at the core of our research ecosystems. In partnership with Western, we will: 1) ensure ethical research engagement with Indigenous communities; 2) recognize colonial practices in, and adopt anti-colonial approaches to, research; and 3) work with partners to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization in all joint programs and services, and funding initiatives we support.
As the research institute of LHSC and St. Joseph’s, Lawson works closely with our hospitals and in collaboration with Western University to advance health research. This includes a deep shared commitment to advancing EDI.
- Tri-Agency Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI): https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/InterAgency-Interorganismes/EDI-EDI/index_eng.asp
- Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan for 2018–2025: https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/_doc/EDI/EDI-ActionPlan-EN.pdf
- Ontario Hospitals Association Strategic Plan 2022-2027 https://www.oha.com/strategicplan
- Hong, L. and Page, S. E. Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. 2004;101:16385-89.
- Hofstra B. et al. The diversity-innovation paradox in science. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2020;117:9284-91.
- Nielsen, M. W. et al. Opinion: gender diversity leads to better science. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. 2017;114: 1740-2.
- Herring, C. Does diversity pay?: race, gender, and the business case for diversity. Am. Sociol. Rev. 2009;74: 208–224.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 2012: Calls to Action
- Kirkness, V. J. and R. Barnhardt (2001). First Nations and Higher Education: The Four R's - Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, Responsibility. Knowledge Across Cultures: A Contribution to Dialogue Among Civilizations. R. Hayoe and J. Pan. Hong Kong, Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong.
- https://www.edi.uwo.ca, Vision, Purpose and Values | LHSC, Our Foundational Approach | St. Joseph's Strategic Plan (reach-connect-innovate.care)