Inspiring inclusion and accelerating women’s equity

illustration of women standing standing together

International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8, is a global day to celebrate the social, cultural and political achievements of women, and serves as a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. At VCH, this includes celebrating cisgender women, transwomen and gender diverse people.

We are showcasing a few staff and medical staff who, in both big and small ways, advocate for and empower others, and seek out inclusion in ways that improve the delivery of health care to all those in our communities.

We asked them to share in their own words what it means to inspire inclusion and support gender equity.

Click on the link to read the full profile.

Vera Berard, Registered Midwife, Lions Gate Hospital

“My commitment to inspiring inclusion and supporting gender inclusion revolves around fostering collaboration, accountability and nurturing mutual respect by listening, educating, advocating and dismantling access barriers.”

Learn more about Vera Berard

Emina Dervisevic, Manager, Community Engagement

“Taking positive steps and encouraging others to support inclusion and gender equity gives me hope for  safer health care, more welcoming communities and overall, a better future for our planet.”

Learn more about Emina Dervisevic

Dr. Annie Gornall, Family Physician, Squamish

“Each initiative and each interaction presents an opportunity to inspire inclusivity and equity within the framework of our health care system. It seems like an overwhelming responsibility, but I think it can be simple: be the change you want to see.”

Learn more about Dr. Annie Gornall

Angela J. Gray, Facilitator, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

“The stories of many folks I’ve come across on my journey pushes me to continue supporting these efforts. It is a gift to learn about the experience of others.”

Learn more about Angela J. Gray

Dr. Nicola Hahn, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician, Lions Gate Hospital

“My mentors have shown me that inspiring inclusion and promoting women leaders is done through showing up in leadership roles to champion others. I try to live up to the example they have set.”

Learn more about Dr. Nicola Hahn

Dr. Diane Lacaille, Rheumatologist, Vancouver General Hospital

“We need to advocate for changes to the systems that maintain the status quo of power dynamics, and rethink systems that are not equitable, rather than raising reasons why they are hard to change.”

Learn more about Dr. Diane Lacaille

Kwákwaýel Simia Wendy Nahanee, Indigenous Strategic Lead, Indigenous Cultural Safety

“My work is deeply rooting in my teachings as a Host Nation Matriarch and focuses on giving safe care, equal access and removing the barriers of discrimination towards Indigenous Peoples as marginalized and vulnerable populations.”

Learn more about Kwákwaýel Simia Wendy Nahanee

Lori Quinn, Operations Director, Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care, Regional Director, Emergency Services Program

When women are successful, we not only need to celebrate their courage and talents but ensure that they are supported and have the resources they need to continue to lead and mentor the next generation of change leaders.”

Learn more about Lori Quinn

Dr. L. Rebeca Rivera, General Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Richmond

“To me, supporting gender equity means taking this responsibility seriously and advocating to ensure women’s health care continues to be a priority within VCH.”

Learn more about Dr. L. Rebeca Rivera

Parveen Sangha, Nurse Practitioner, Regional

“As a South Asian woman assuming various leadership roles, I strongly believe that to inspire inclusion and support gender equity one must ensure that every person, regardless of their gender identity, feels involved and empowered.”

Learn more about Parveen Sangha

Dr. Amy Singleton-Polster, Hospitalist, Richmond

“Our strengths come from working together and learning from diverse experiences. Together through advocacy, education and practical initiatives, I believe we can create a more inclusive and equitable environment.”

Learn more about Dr. Amy Singleton-Polster

Dr. Karina Zeidler, Family Physician, Vancouver Community

“Inclusivity is not passive. It means redistributing power and standing in solidarity, even at personal expense. It is a commitment to giving those who have been historically marginalized a platform and creating environments where all individuals can thrive.”

Learn more about Dr. Karina Zeidler

We encourage you to take a moment to celebrate the incredible women and change makers around you – reflect on our collective journey towards equity, diversity and inclusion as we work to empower women in health care and achieve health care equity for all.

International Women's Day originated out of grassroots activism, and the desire for equal rights. Its formal structure originated in North America and Europe in the early 1900s, eventually becoming recognized by the United Nations in 1975. Learn more.