Remaining Committed Until The End
More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we mark another Passover, Easter, and Ramadan celebrated under a lockdown. Another return to virtual classes for children. Another birthday missed or milestone canceled. It’s easy to understand the frustration and the desire to return to things as they once were. Yet, for those on the frontlines fighting this pandemic, the challenges have only grown, and the cost of complacency has become evident.
It’s clear the third wave of this pandemic is nothing like what we’ve seen before. The new variants are spreading faster and causing greater illness. The rates of infection are growing exponentially, especially among younger age groups. As a result, our healthcare system is facing unprecedented strain. And, in turn, this has placed unparalleled demands on healthcare workers. This includes canceling elective surgeries and redeploying staff to critical frontline units.
This happens as we can envision a time when everyone is vaccinated. In a marvel of scientific discovery, we have seen vaccines developed with incredible efficiency. Ensuring they reach those in greatest need has to be a top priority. That’s one of the reasons I am proud of the University of Toronto’s efforts, supported by many in our Faculty, to open and operate vaccine clinics. We must also use our knowledge and positions to educate our communities about the effectiveness of vaccines to overcome hesitancy. While there have been reports about potential side-effects associated with certain vaccines, they remain overwhelmingly safe, and the concerns expressed by regulators demonstrate the rigorousness and seriousness of the protocols that ensure patient safety.
We must also be effective advocates for our patients and communities while we strive towards the finish line of this pandemic and beyond. So many in our Faculty have responded to this need – learners, staff, faculty and researchers alike. I am thankful for those who, in addition to carrying the heavy burden of delivering care, are making the needs of their patients known to policymakers and the public at large. In addition to their physical health, we must also be concerned for their mental health as well as their economic, social and cultural safety.
Ending this pandemic is achievable because we have the necessary tools and knowledge. I have also seen the effort, dedication and sacrifice made by members of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and at all of our partner institutions. Your work has had a considerable impact on fighting this virus and delivering the care that is so desperately needed. I want to thank you for all that you have done – and will do. Only together will we prevail.
Dean, Temerty Faculty of Medicine
Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions
P.S. Please continue to look out for your own wellness and the wellbeing of your colleagues. A list of resources is provided below.
Office of Health Professions Student Affairs (for MD Program, MD/PhD, Medical Radiation Sciences, Physician Assistant, and Occupational Therapy students)
Postgraduate Wellness Office (for Post MD learners)
Student Health and Wellness (for graduate students)
U of T My Student Support Program (My SSP) | 1-844-451-9700. Outside of North America, call 001-416-380-6578.
Culturally-competent mental health and counseling services in 146 languages for all U of T students.
Good2Talk Student Helpline | 1-866-925-5454
Professional counseling, information and referrals helpline for mental health, addictions and student well-being.< /p>
PARO 24 Hour Helpline | 1-866-HELP-DOC (1-866-435-7362)
The PARO 24 Hour Helpline is available to residents, their partners and family members, as well as medical students.
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