CATS Commitment 

CATS values equity, diversity, and inclusion in our committee membership, review committees, presentation opportunities, and events; we are committed to the inclusion of diverse perspectives. CATS EDI Taskforce, 2020

What is happening? 


EDI at CATS this Month: International Women's Day - March 2022

This month’s theme is based on International Women’s Day!

The theme for this year’s theme for IWD was #BreakTheBias.

The US and the UK celebrate Women’s History Month in March: “Our History is Our Strength” and “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope”.  

Here is a link looking at Canadian women who have made an impact on our Country as we celebrate part of our Canadian history.

Below is a link depicting a timeline in Canadian Women’s History.

With the first Canadian woman physician in 1867 (Emily Stowe) 

A century later, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1967 (“inquire into and report upon the status of women in Canada, and to recommend what steps might be taken by the federal government to ensure for women equal opportunities with men in all aspects of Canadian society.”)

In 1971, Amendments to the Canadian Labour Code included the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex and marital status, the strong reinforcement of the principle of equal pay for equal work and the provision of 17 weeks of maternity leave.

In 2001, a task force was appointed to address pay equity with 113 recommendations made for a new proactive pay equity system.

Despite years of progress made in advancing women’s rights, change happens slowly over time and there is still work to be done before we truly reach a state of equality in many professions including our own.  Please read the article below from the Globe and Mail updated January 19, 2022.  

It illustrates the complexity in issues of gender equality in medicine and sheds light on the ongoing efforts needed to bring on necessary changes.  

Here is a link from the AMA with an article looking at 4 ways to control your career trajectory:

  1. Don’t wait for an invitation

  2. Bring other women with you

  3. Value your voice

  4. Prioritize your well-being


Remember the weight that your words carry. 

Be kind to others.    


Madelaine Plourde (EDI Chair)

on behalf of the CATS EDI Committee (formerly the EDI Task Force)

Black History Month - February 2022

February is Black History Month! This year’s theme in Canada is: “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day”, which focuses on recognizing the daily contributions that Black Canadians make to Canada. Here is a link with information on Black History Month: 

It includes notable Black Canadians, historical figures, significant events in Black Canadian history and educational resources.

In Nova Scotia, the 2022 African Heritage Month theme is: “Through Our Eyes: The Voices of African Nova Scotians” recognizing the legacies of people of African descent through first voice, lived realities, and experiences.   

Nova Scotia has over 50 historic African Nova Scotian communities with a long, deep, and complex history dating back over 200 years. Here is a link for more information

The theme in the USA is: “Black Health and Wellness“.  This theme explores the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine and other ways of health care. It will also include panel discussions on health care disparities and health screenings. Here is a link from the National Museum of African American History and Culture / Smithsonian: 

Martin Luther King Day took place on January 17th, 2022 with the theme: “It Starts With Me: Shifting Priorities to Create the Beloved Community“. This holiday in the USA, celebrates Dr. King’s life and legacy as a civil rights leader.  It is described as  “A Day On, Not  A Day Off:  Remember, Celebrate and Act” where people are encouraged to volunteer and perform acts of community service.

Everyone is encouraged to visit the links above or do your own search into parts of Black history that interest you. Knowing the past is how we shape the future. We can all be part of the success of IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) by using our voices to point out and not tolerate bias; and take action by supporting members of the Black community within healthcare and beyond.  

We need to remain confident and know that our actions will bring about meaningful change and put an end to racism!

Madelaine Plourde (EDI Chair)

on behalf of the CATS EDI Committee (formerly the EDI Task Force)

CATS EDI Task Force is now a Standing Committee - January 2022

Our EDI Task Force is now formally a committee, as we recognize the importance of their leadership on this file going forward. Congratulations to Dr. Madelaine Plourde and the whole team on the work that they have done to bring these issues to the forefront. 

Gail Darling  (CATS President) on behalf of the CATS Executive Committee

Celebrate World Religion Day - January 2022

January 16th is World Religion Day.  This day was initiated in 1950. It celebrates the freedom and rights to celebrate religion, change of religion or not follow any religion at all.  It is an opportunity to listen and learn from each other to discover our commonalities.  

The ability to practice one’s religion in peace and security is a universal human right.  Discrimination against religious communities, as with all forms of discrimination, can cultivate a climate of fear, intolerance and stigmatization.

Here are 2 resources on religion in health care.

Remember to be kind and encourage a culture of mutual understanding.

Madelaine Plourde (EDI Chair)

on behalf of the CATS EDI Committee (formerly the EDI Task Force)

International Human Rights Day - December 2021

The EDI task theme for the month of December will be to celebrate International Human Rights Day which took place on December 10th.

The slogan this year is “All Human, All Equal”

The theme is EQUALITY – Reducing inequities, advancing human rights.  The principles of equality and nondiscrimination are at the heart of human rights.

As our communities grow with a more diverse population.  We need to promote acceptance of all those we work with and take care of.

Here is a link to the United Nations page

Happy Holidays!

CATS EDI Committee

Madelaine Plourde (Chair), Simon Turner, Laura Donahoe, Gail Darling, Andrew Seely, Biniam Kidane, Jennifer Artz

EDI in Research - November 2021

Every month, the CATS EDI Task Force will take on a theme. This month, it is EDI in Research. 

Achieve Diverse Research Teams and Promote Inclusion

Please visit this CIHR site to help you achieve diverse research teams and promote the inclusion of underrepresented groups in your research projects:


Identify EDI Opportunities

Please visit this website from the Government of Canada New Frontiers in Research Fund.

It includes guides for applicants to the New Frontiers in Research Fund and provides information to help overcome challenges and barriers, in addition to identifying opportunities related to EDI in research.

CATS EDI Committee

Madelaine Plourde (Chair), Simon Turner, Laura Donahoe, Gail Darling, Andrew Seely, Biniam Kidane, Jennifer Artz

Inclusive Leadership - October 2021

Every month, the CATS EDI Task Force will take on a theme. This month, it is inclusive leadership. Please find these toolkits and information to help include EDI in your leadership. Also, note that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  

Health Care, Health Sciences & Indigenous Health

The overall goal of Empowering Women Leaders initiative is to achieve transformative systemic change in health care, health sciences, and Indigenous health contexts through the increased participation, visibility, and advancement of women in leadership positions. Read more below.

Small Acts of Inclusive Leadership

Leaders and managers are critical agents in promoting an inclusive culture in the workplace. Managers’ behavior and communication, including those that happen unintentionally, tacitly convey and sustain organizational values and norms. Leaders’ inclusive behavior have powerful effects on office culture. Read more below:


This last article (Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility: From organizational responsibility to leadership competency) brings forward the addition of “Accessibility” to change EDI to IDEA ( Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility)

CATS EDI Committee

Madelaine Plourde (Chair), Simon Turner, Laura Donahoe, Gail Darling, Andrew Seely, Biniam Kidane, Jennifer Artz

Celebrate International Women's Day - March 8, 2021

On this International Women’s Day, we celebrate Women Leaders around the world and here at home. We welcome the opportunity to work alongside our male colleagues as equal partners contributing to the care of our patients and the growth of our specialty. We look forward to the time when  people of all cultures, race, religion, and sexual orientation can work alongside us with equal opportunities and without prejudice.

Together we are better!

International Women’s Day

*”The Women are Coming is an inspiring video featuring women leaders across the world. Credit to the owner – WWLI. 

Click below to see some of the many outstanding women worldwide that we celebrate:

*”The Women are Coming is an inspiring video featuring women leaders across the world. Credit to the owner – WWLI. 

Shoring up the pipeline: Increasing diversity in surgery... - February 21, 2021

Shoring up the pipeline: Increasing diversity in surgery by enhancing equity and inclusion in the surgical learning environment | The Bulletin

Unfortunately, the challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion continue. A 12-year review of URiMs with academic appointments at U.S. medical schools found both women and racial minorities were represented at lower rates than their proportion in the general population. 4 This disparity was most apparent at the highest levels of academic rank, including professor, chair, and dean positions …

Representation in Thoracic Surgery - February 16, 2021

CATS has taken a thorough review of its history of representation. It looks forward to sharing the results at an upcoming meeting. This honest look at CATS past and present is a necessary step to guiding the future of CATS.

Resources (Some Recommendations from The Ottawa Hospital) - July 24, 2020

The following includes a variety of resources including a talk, a commentary, and social media about inequality from the academic perspective.

Resources from University of Ottawa - July 22, 2020

This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.

To take immediate action to Fight for Breonna Taylor, please visit

Update on Anti-racism and Commitment to Equity and Diversity - June 26, 2020

As part of the CATS commitment, the CATS Executive has approved the formation of a Task Force on Equity and Diversity and invites participation from all CATS members. The following including the Harvard Implicit Bias test are recommended for further reading:

CATS Statement on Equity and Diversity - June 9, 2020

The world has seen irrefutable and repugnant acts of violence and police brutality against black, indigenous and racialized communities indicative of systematic institutionalized racism. Unfortunately, such acts of discrimination and violence continue to occur in our own Canadian cities.

Your CATS Executive wanted to reach out to you, our membership, to condemn such actions, and stand in solidarity with all Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. We call on us all, collectively and individually, to be overtly anti-racist to confront and eradicate racism in all its forms, support the reduction of egregious harmful social inequity especially when associated with race, and fully embrace cultural and ethnic diversity for the beautiful gift that it is.

Although our organization has informally made efforts in this direction, we propose a more formal overt institutionalization of commitment to equity and diversity within our CATS organization, and will work to make it happen. We will report back to our membership soon regarding specifics. Please feel free to contact us with your thoughts and suggestions.

Your CATS Executive Committee, Andrew Seely, Gail Darling, John Dickie, Sean Grondin, James Villeneuve, Shona Smith, Najib Safieddine, Basil Nasir, Jonathan Spicer, Simon Turner, Christian Finley, Biniam Kidane, Colin Schieman

Contact CATS at to share any concerns that you have or to become involved.