The Black Women’s Healthcare Summit 2023
On November 2, 2023, the historic Arcadian Court played host to over 300 guests gathering for an evening of connection, allyship and important discussions surrounding the health and wellness of Black women. Hosted by award-winning writer and broadcast journalist, Nam Kiwanuka, this year’s sold-out Black Women’s Healthcare Summit, presented by Scotiabank, addressed some of the unique challenges that members of the Black community face due to the intersectionality of race, gender and health.
Before diving into our two panel discussions, Dr. Modupe Tunde-Byass, OB/GYN, North York General Hospital, President of Black Physicians of Canada, and Co-Founder, Women’s Health Education Made Simple, grounded the room by sharing, “Thank you everyone for being here. I think it is such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Black excellence, and Black joy tonight.”
Black Women and Reproductive Justice
Guests shared in conversation with leading health experts from Women’s College Hospital (WCH), and the president of the Black Physicians of Canada during two informative panels.
Moderated by Elaine Goulbourne, the first panel “Black Women and Reproductive Justice” featured Dr. Cindy Maxwell, Vice President, Medical Affairs & System Transformation and Lead Medical Executive at WCH and Dr. Modupe Tunde-Byass. The panel explored the disproportionate racial disparities in obstetrics and reproductive care.
“There is evidence to show that Black people experience the healthcare environment differently,” said Dr. Maxwell, “and we have evidence to show that Black people frequently experience denial of their symptoms or minimizing of the concerns they’re bringing forth, [and] sometimes feel ignored in healthcare settings.”
Listen to the experts from “Black Women and Reproductive Justice” on our YouTube channel below.
Addressing the Stigma Around Black Women’s Mental Health
According to a 2021 report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, “historically, the Black community has been placed at a disadvantage when it comes to their mental health, given their subjection to trauma through enslavement, oppression, colonialism, racism and segregation, much of which extends to the experience of mental health care inequity today.”
During our second panel, “Addressing the Stigma Around Black Women’s Mental Health,” Dr. Crystal T. Clark and Bonilyn Hill Mohamed of WCH’s Department of Psychiatry discussed the historical links, specific barriers and unique experiences the Black community faces when addressing their mental health.
“When we are seen as less than and discriminated against for the colour of our skin due to societal stigma and self-stigma, systemic inequities, lack of Black therapists in Canada, as well as a lack of mental health resources and awareness and financial resources in the Black communities, it can prevent Black women from seeking help for their mental health,” said Hill Mohamed.
Moderator Nam Kiwanuka, discussed with our panelists the roles that allies and supporters can play to advocate for mental health care for Black women.
Listen to the experts from “Addressing the Stigma Around Black Women’s Mental Health” on our YouTube channel below.
Together, at the 2023 Black Women’s Healthcare Summit, we explored some of the important questions surrounding systematic inequities within healthcare and explored the realities many Black women face as they navigate the healthcare system. By attending the Black Women’s Healthcare Summit, you have shared in our collective commitment to creating a healthier, more equitable world for everyone. Thank you!
“Women have been left out of the healthcare conversation for too long and this issue only becomes more critical when we add the intersection of race. Everyone deserves a healthcare system that provides quality care, is culturally safe, accessible and equitable.”Leslie McCarley, President & CEO Women’s College Hospital Foundation
For more event photos, and to access resources and additional information about the Black Women’s Healthcare Summit, please visit our website: bwhs.ca
Thank you to our 2023 sponsors!
Women’s College Hospital’s Commitment to Equity
In Canada, there continues to be a lack of race-based data related to maternal health and mortality. Women’s College Hospital (WCH) has been increasing race-based data collection for the purpose of studying the impacts of racism on health and access to care. Proceeds raised from ticket sales and sponsorship for the Black Women’s Healthcare Summit will benefit the work being done at WCH to revolutionize the healthcare system and bring forth more equitable, accessible healthcare for everyone.
WCH is on a critical path to dismantle racism and oppression and, in particular, to address the distinct needs of Black communities. Read more about WCH’s commitment to equity, and their journey to dismantling anti-Black racism.