The Hill We Must Climb: Eliminating Inequalities in Our Midst

Jul 12, 2021

We are pleased to announce the start of a new virtual Summer Seminar Series - The Hill We Must Climb: Eliminating Inequalities in Our Midst. This series is a collaboration between UTDRO and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and will focus on issues related to equity, discrimination, and professional culture – issues that have come into sharp focus over the last year.

COVID, political events, and social justice movements have demonstrated deeply troubling disparities within our communities and within our patient population. But delivering excellence in cancer care also requires acknowledging the biases that exist in our own workplace and developing an organization culture that takes a proactive stance against harassment, explicit and implicit biases, cultural sensitivity, organizational wellbeing, and workforce equity (including gender equity). Within this in mind, the Summer Seminar Series will feature national and international experts and who will guide us through interactive sessions on these issues, which we hope will spark a broad discussion on how we can foster and support a diverse oncology workforce within UTDRO.

We look forward to seeing you online on July 15th to kick off the series!




Speaker: Laura Williams 

Date and Time: August 5, 2021, 8-9 am EST

Talk Title: Addressing Inequalities in the New World of Work

The workplace has profoundly shifted in terms of demands for equity, inclusion, professionalism, respect and psychological safety. This has caused many environments to assess whether they have effectively communicated expectations related to acceptable behaviours and has created a need to assess how to ensure issues, that are escalating at an unprecedented rate, are properly addressed and resolved. 

Join Laura Williams, LLB, who will share her insights, key considerations, and “view from the ground” gleaned from dealing with hundreds of organizations across industries, in the past year an a half, as they have grappled to “level up” their organizations to address the realities of the New World of Work, and how it has impacted workplace culture, employee experience and behavioural expectations, which have been significantly impacted by our current social climate.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how the New World of Work has impacted workplace culture, employee experience and behavioural expectations
  • Respond to and resolve escalating workplace issues relating to equity, inclusion and professionalism

Speaker Biography: 

Laura Williams has built two highly respected firms which respectively provide proactive HR law and HR consulting advice designed to minimize workplace law challenges, maximize employee engagement and boost bottom line performance. Laura is also a seasoned workplace investigator, routinely engaged to conduct complex workplace investigations, and is recognized for specific expertise in investigations related to equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Laura has recently launched a podcast for business leaders and HR Professionals called, We Thrive Forward – Conversations with Laura Williams which is available on all major platforms.  

Technological Requirements: Teams App account

How to Join: On August 5 at 8am click the button below to login to the Seminar. Should you run into any access issues, please email the Department at


More seminars coming soon! 




Speaker: Dr. Gillian Hawker, MD, FRCPC

Date and Time: July 15, 2021, 8-9 am EST

Talk Title: Mind the Gap: Disparities in Academic Medicine

Dr. Gillian Hawker is the Sir John and Lady Eaton Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute. She is a rheumatologist and health services researcher whose research has focused on advancing care for people with osteoarthritis (OA) along three broad themes: 1. Elucidating the determinants and consequences of care for people with painful hip and knee OA, with a particular interest in appropriateness of use of total joint arthroplasty; 2. Understanding – and improving the measurement of - the OA patient experience, including the downstream effects of OA pain on sleep, mood, fatigue, activity limitations, and quality of care; and more recently; 3. The inter-relationship of OA with other common chronic conditions which commonly co-occur in people with OA, e.g. diabetes and cardiovascular disease, on OA care and outcomes. She is also a passionate advocate for advancing the academic careers of women in medicine. She has published almost 300 peer-reviewed articles and in 2020 was the recipient of the OARSI Award for Clinical Research.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review Sources of bias in academic medicine
  • Discuss how biases may impact career fulfillment and work experiences
  • Understand strategies that may be helpful in addressing disparities

Speaker: Deanna Matzanke

Date and Time: July 22, 2021, 8-9 am EST

Talk Title: Recognizing and Addressing Microaggressions 

Deanna Matzanke is a bilingual Strategic HR and Diversity Professional and employment lawyer with over 25 years’ experience in all aspects of minority inclusion and employment systems and practices. She is a certified Global Professional in Human Resources (from the Human Resources Certification Institute) and holds her Human Capital Strategist designation (with the Human Capital Institute). She also specializes in Human Resources Policy and Compliance Frameworks. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, panelist and workshop facilitator on all aspects of diversity, inclusion and human resources. Deanna holds a B.A. (Hons) in Romance Languages from University of Alberta, both her common law and civil law degrees from McGill University and is the recipient of the Nathan Cotler Human Rights Award. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize examples of microaggressions
  • Understand the lasting impact of microaggressions
  • Respond and address microaggressions from different perspectives