Newly established endowed funds in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Temerty Faculty of Medicine will help address inequities in health and drive meaningful and sustainable change, thanks to a generous donation from Janssen Canada.
The Janssen Funds for Equity and Inclusion will support students from equity-deserving groups pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies in health and medical sciences at U of T.
“We hope our support of equity-deserving students pursuing a career in health, sciences and medicine will not only help them achieve their academic aspirations, but also help improve the health system’s ability to advance the best care for all patients,” says Dr. Ebele Ola, Janssen’s vice-president, medical affairs.
“It's well known that a growing number of Canadians face inequities that can lead to poorer health outcomes, often due to socioeconomic disadvantages and systemic bias and discrimination. Endowed student awards are one of the ways Janssen is advancing opportunities to support the realization of more equitable health care in Canada.”
The awards will be independently administered at each Faculty.
At Arts & Science, the Janssen Award for Equity and Inclusion supports undergraduate and graduate students, with a focus on Black and Indigenous students. The graduate award, based on academic merit and financial need, supports a graduate student in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology, while the undergraduate award in the Human Biology Program is based on financial need.
“Financial aid is particularly important for lowering the barriers for students in equity-deserving groups. It's not only important financially, but it's also great for these students academically and for their career plans to see their work recognized and receive positive reinforcement — especially if, in the past, they felt like maybe they didn't belong in science,” says Melody Neumann, associate professor, teaching stream, and director of the Human Biology Program.
These funds are equally important, especially as we recognize that students may require support and or recognition at any time along their academic journey. We are incredibly excited about the impact these funds will have on students and communities this year, and in the many years to come.
“It is important for the next generation to see more people like themselves in academia, in the private and public sectors, doing scientific research, or working as health science professionals. Role models are so important.”
At Temerty Medicine, two awards will be established in support of medical students of Black and Indigenous descent. An entrance award will support incoming medical students, while a second will support learners in any year of the undergraduate MD Program.
Ultimately, these awards will help address the historic underrepresentation of people of Black and Indigenous descent within Canada’s physician workforce — an inequity many experts believe has contributed to longstanding health inequities experienced by Black and Indigenous patients.
“These funds are equally important, especially as we recognize that students may require support and or recognition at any time along their academic journey,” says Ola. “We are incredibly excited about the impact these funds will have on students and communities this year, and in the many years to come.”
U of T is grateful for supporters such as Janssen who are investing in students, taking action to implement change and helping build a more equitable and sustainable future.