Let’s Talk about Inclusivity!

June 3, 2021
Anurika Onyenso, Third Year General Management Major, University of Alberta, Augustana Campus. 

Congress 2021 edition 

Social inclusion is context-dependent and calls forth a myriad of philosophical ideals. The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Nursing’s “Social Inclusion and Health Equity” webcast invited a panel of eloquent speakers and participants to discuss their views on the topic of social inclusion and its links to human rights discourses and health outcomes. Their discussions were centered around marginalization, disadvantage and exclusion.  

The webcast began with a discussion paper presentation by Edythe Andison, registered nurse with a background in geriatrics, Sherry Dahlke, Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, and Robin Coatsworth-Puspoky, a Nursing PhD candidate at the University of Alberta with a background in geriatric mental health. They looked at how, as nurses, they can transcend geographical age boundaries, race, gender and abilities to improve the healthcare they provide older persons. 

The panelists then dove into the topic of inclusion. Sherry Dahlke spoke on inclusion within healthcare, with her focus being on how older people are regularly socially excluded because of the social and health institutions that exist within our society. Tracy, an oncology and palliative care specialist, discussed social inclusion from a clinical standpoint. She stressed the need to be mindful of how exclusion can impact your health journey. Lastly, Sharif Haji, the executive director of the Africa Centre, applied his background in global health and issues of equity in his understanding of social inclusion. To him, inclusion is when no one in society has to fight for space in social or economic situations because of the colour of their skin, or who they love or who they are. 

Other noteworthy inputs during the webcast panel included Dr Carla Hilario’s eloquent speech on language and decolonization in Canada and Jordana Salma from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Nursing’s discussion of her work within immigrant communities and the value of language in connecting children to their family, culture and identity. 

Concluding the segment, Haji acknowledged the importance of social capital and the proximity of support services during the pandemic.