June 18, 2020
Caring for over four million people who call Alberta home, Alberta Health Services (AHS) takes pride in being proactive, and as an ally for those who need help, supporting them to be well and safe.
That includes driving out racism and intolerance.
Last week we experienced a sobering reminder that racism and intolerance exist everywhere around the world and that no place is immune to it. We are investigating an act of racism that occurred at the Drumheller Health Centre, after a racial slur and threat was discovered in our facility.
There is no place for racism and intolerance in our healthcare system, and in society.
We are taking this extremely seriously. Alberta Health Services is investigating, with the full support of the RCMP, and we will take every possible step to ensure that the responsible person(s) are held accountable for their actions.
We stand with our staff and physicians who have been impacted by this senseless act. We are ensuring they and their families get the support they need.
We also stand with our community partners and any resident in Drumheller who faces racism, discrimination or intolerance. We are grateful for the messages and calls of support that have been expressed for our staff and physicians, including those from the Town and MLA Nate Horner.
Each of us has a role to play in ensuring our communities welcome and respect Albertans of all cultures, traditions and beliefs. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that all patients, families, staff, and physicians – regardless of their race or background – feel safe in our health facilities.
We have been made aware of unacceptable acts and language within AHS in the past and, as an organization, have taken steps to address, listen and educate and will continue to do so.
We have vowed to do better.
No one, whether they work at AHS, or are at AHS to receive care or to visit a loved one, should be made to feel unsafe.
Beginning last week, and moving forward we are working closely with the site to ensure the necessary safety and security measures are in place. As well, we will be coordinating opportunities to support coming together – with appropriate physical distancing and COVID-19 protocols in place – to show our solidarity with colleagues in Drumheller.
We ask our community partners to join with us as we support our colleagues impacted by this unacceptable act and we look forward to inviting the community to participate with us as details are finalized.
It will take all of us standing together to ensure everyone feels safe, included and respected.
Dr. Verna Yiu
AHS President and CEO
Chief Zone Officer AHS Central Zone
Dr. Jennifer Bestard
Zone Medical Director (Interim) AHS Central Zone