Allow me to share the story of the Scarborough Health Network (SHN).
The Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is a hospital network located in Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, overseeing the operations of three prominent community health hospitals: Scarborough General, Centenary, and Birchmount Hospitals. Scarborough is renowned as Canada's most diverse community, with 59% of its population being new Canadians and 74% representing visible minorities like Tamils. However, from 2010 to 2021, they received no capital funding, especially when it was needed the most during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a 2022 article, Perry Bhaskaran, a formerly registered ER nurse from Scarborough, made a poignant statement, saying, "It became glaringly obvious that our province's policies, which influence how hospital administration and management behave, signal a total lack of care and respect for healthcare workers." This statement exemplifies the insufficient recognition, resources, and funding that Scarborough Hospital receives. For reasons like this, the Love, Scarborough campaign was initiated. Medical professionals decided to take matters into their own hands, aiming to raise awareness by sharing the untold stories of healthcare practitioners to bridge the healthcare gap in Toronto.
In January 2022, the Love, Scarborough campaign was publicly launched to garner support and donations for the Scarborough Hospitals. Since its inception, the campaign has achieved remarkable success, raising an impressive $100 million in donations and securing $1.2 billion in funding from the Government of Ontario. This substantial financial support has enabled SHN to embark on a transformative journey, addressing critical needs such as acquiring essential equipment, enhancing facilities, and expanding its capacity to provide comprehensive care to an even larger population.
With the newfound resources and unwavering community support, the Scarborough Health Network is poised to make significant strides in advancing healthcare services and meeting the diverse needs of its community members. That said, there is still some catching up to do after years of being left behind.
The latest face of the Love, Scarborough campaign is Maenusha Raguvarnan, a professional dancer and registered nurse in Scarborough. Maenusha has shared her experiences as a Tamil nurse and how her cultural background equips her to bridge the communication gap between Tamil patients and healthcare professionals, mainly when language barriers are challenging. Since Scarborough is home to 74% of visible minorities, fostering diversity in the medical field facilitates seamless interactions between these two groups, ensuring that medical care is effectively and compassionately delivered.
There is an existing circle that connects hospitals, medical practitioners, patients, and the community, with each entity relying on the support of the others to contribute to one another's well-being. For this reason, SHN relies on donations to strengthen the healthcare workforce, which goes back into the Scarborough community, home to many Tamil professionals and other Canadian philanthropic initiatives.
An excellent example is the Koneswaran family. They immigrated to Canada from Sri Lanka and, through hard work and determination, have built a successful life in Scarborough. To commemorate their 20 years of manufacturing success, S&B Pallets and the Koneswaran family donated an exceptional $409,000 to acquire life-saving diagnostic equipment for SHN's Centenary Hospital. This remarkable contribution to the Love, Scarborough campaign will significantly enhance care for hundreds and thousands of patients and their families.
On September 26, 2023, the Scarborough Health Network (SHN) Foundation will host the Tamil Radiothon, bringing the community together for a day of education and awareness about SHN's exceptional care. This event aims to raise funds that will help equip physicians, nurses, and frontline staff with the tools and infrastructure they need to continue delivering exceptional care to the hundreds of thousands of patients they see each year.
Donate here to the Scarborough Health Network to strengthen the bond between the healthcare field and the community.
What is my Identity? It's a question that we all seek to answer in our own ways throughout our lives. Each episode of Identity spotlights a different creative, some from the Tamil community and some from outside it, who will be chatting about how we take ownership of our narratives, art, politics and of course who we are. Catch these episodes of 'Identity'!