2020 will be known not just as the year of the pandemic but as the global call to action against systemic bias and racism.

In response, Sinai Health escalated work in this area by asking people across the organization to join a Community of Interest and share their experiences and insights. More than 70 people came forward as partners and ambassadors for change. Guiding this group are four co-leads: Pamela Cromwell, Monique Lyn, Dr. Hedieh Molla Ghanbari and Avijeet Parmar.

A health care worker wearing scrubs and a lanyard with an identification badge stands outside a hospital looking at the camera smiling

Pamela Cromwell, Laboratory Technician III, Mount Sinai

Starting at Mount Sinai in November 2020, Pamela Cromwell, Laboratory Technician III, wanted to be part of a community that expects change and equality. “My purpose is to be a positive role model within the Black community to offer hope, give strength and empower those who are afraid to stand up against racism within the workplace.”

For Avijeet (Avi) Parmar, Senior Financial Planning Analyst, he joined to be a driver of positive change. “This opportunity allows me to create safe and welcoming spaces for discussions and encourage participation. As a data driven finance partner, I’m excited to develop an action plan, set success metrics, processes and outcomes across Sinai Health.”

Avijeet Parmar

Avijeet Parmar, Senior Financial Planning Analyst, Sinai Health

Avi has worked at Sinai Health for seven years and would like to leverage department meetings and the social activities he participates in to initiate conversations and lead with Sinai Health’s values.

“I want to share my voice for people of colour,” says Monique Lyn, Occupational Therapist who has worked at Bridgepoint since 2000, providing therapy to patients on the Stroke and Neurological Rehab Unit.  “Being involved at the start of a project is such an opportunity because you can see what change can happen. I can bring attention to bias and racism and give context to my colleagues about the disproportioned experiences we face.”

A woman standing facing the camera and smiling

Dr. Hedieh Molla Ghanbari, Hospital Medicine Director, Mount Sinai

Allyship is an important part of being a supportive community for Dr. Hedieh Molla Ghanbari, Hospital Medicine Director at Mount Sinai. “I want to be an ally so I can share ideas from our community and address the inequality that can exist in medicine. I hope to see allyship, mentoring and growth of individuals from all different backgrounds and create an inclusive environment for our patients, learners, and employees.”

When asked what advice she gives to colleagues, Pamela says, “If you’re in the position to help, please don’t stand by and watch. When an opportunity rises, I encourage you to find out how you can make a difference.”

Monique adds, “We know fear of saying the wrong thing makes it hard to engage in these conversations, but saying something is better than saying nothing.  Having more open dialogue is the only way we can move forward.”

Sinai Health’s purpose is to care, create possibilities and offer hope to each other. The Community of Interest is a first step of many to foster an inclusive environment where everyone matters and belongs.