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Honouring and Celebrating Black History Month

We're thrilled to recognize Black History Month alongside two of Lakeridge Health Foundation’s esteemed board members: Celina Caesar-Chavannes and Russel White. Read on to learn more about their personal inspirations and support for local health care initiatives in Durham Region. We spoke with Celina and Russel about how their dedication stems from an understanding of the health inequalities faced by marginalized communities, particularly the Black community, and their firm belief in the importance of celebrating and acknowledging the contributions of Black Canadians.

celina-bhm.pngCelina Caesar-Chavannes, board member and Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, spoke passionately about her reasons for supporting Lakeridge Health Foundation and local health care initiatives. Drawing from her background in health care, Celina highlighted the alarming dissimilarities brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Black and racialized communities bearing a disproportionate burden of sickness and mortality. 

"This alarming disparity underscores the urgent need to address health care equity and access for marginalized communities," Celina emphasized. "By supporting local health care initiatives, I aim to contribute to positive change and advocate for more equitable health care outcomes."

For Celina, Black History Month holds profound significance and is a time for reflection, celebration, and action. "It represents not only an opportunity to celebrate the social, political, and economic contributions of Black communities in Canada but also a critical moment for reflection and introspection," she remarked. "It serves as a reminder to examine the comprehensiveness of our education systems and our willingness to understand and appreciate the diverse contributions of all individuals."

On top of being a local health care champion, Celina is a Canadian politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Whitby from 2015 to 2019, and published the best-selling book "Can You Hear Me Now?", detailing her upbringing, journey as a young Black woman entrepreneur, former politician and the adversity that she overcame. Russell White is the Vice President of Fieldgate Developments, a Board Member and Co-Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, and part of Our Cancer Campaign's Cabinet. He hopes to utilize his education and experiences as part of the collective efforts of the community to achieve the goals and objectives of the Foundation.

russel-bhm.pngRussel echoed Celina's sentiments, emphasizing the importance of our community hospitals’ contribution to the health of Durham Region residents.

"Lakeridge Health’s contribution is extremely important to the well-being of the community," Russel asserted. "In supporting the Hospitals, we are really supporting ourselves and making an investment in quality services close to home for now and in the future."

Both Celina and Russel expressed their pride in being part of initiatives aligned with equity, justice, and community well-being. Their collective efforts exemplify a commitment to making a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and communities.  As Black History Month concludes, their voices serve as a reminder of the ongoing work being done to dismantle systemic inequalities and pave the way for positive change in Durham Region and beyond.

Lakeridge Health Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that the Board of Lakeridge Health Foundation represents the evolving demographics of the hospital it serves, the individuals in our community, and the principles they uphold. By embracing Indigenization, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, the Foundation strives towards fostering fairness and reconciliation.