Susan Doyle, a recognized non-profit leader in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was appointed Executive Director of Lumacare in January 2013. She has dedicated her career solely in the non-profit sector in various leadership roles working in the fields of Development Disabilities, Mental Health, Older Adults and LGBT Youth. Susan promotes transparency and responsiveness to the 400 staff and volunteers, community stakeholders, funders, and delegates. She has an ability to introduce and implement effective change management strategies, demonstrated multiple times while at Lumacare. She completed her studies in Canada with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, Women, and Gender Studies and subsequently a Bachelor of Social Work Honours degree from York University. She went on to study Research and Statistics and received a Master of Social Work Honours degree at the University of Windsor.
Addressing Inequalities with Inclusivity in Practice
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults are thrice hidden, invisible as older adults, members of a sexual and gender minority, and as a community compelled to adopt self-protective measures against severe discrimination and sexual harassment. A widespread lack of LGBTQ+ supports and services also exacerbates the problem of not being seen and heard. Consequently, LGBTQ+ seniors can experience disparities in care and support, have unmet social and health care needs and be subject to potential health risks, which challenge the capacity to age while maintaining social, mental and physical well-being. Inequalities, therefore, exist in the ongoing care and support of LGBTQ+ older adults.
Lumacare, a Toronto-based service agency for seniors, is committed to enhancing, engaging and empowering Canadian older adults with diverse and equitable strategies that are essential to attaining or maintaining an acceptable quality of life. In 2017 Lumacare’s focus on addressing inequalities and supporting individual senior needs initiated the development of a cross-agency LGBTQ+ inclusivity toolkit. This toolkit provides Toronto-based Community Support Services with the tools to identify discrepancies in LGBTQ+ inclusivity affecting the day-to-day lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors.
Lumacare’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity toolkit delivers a proactive and comprehensive means to remove the obstacles to being seen and heard. It provides the best practices to address inequalities in health, social and community care, so that organizations are able to accommodate, advocate and promote the ongoing care and support of LGBTQ+ older adults. This multi-level approach to meeting the needs of LGBTQ+ elders is called inclusivity in practice. Inclusivity in practice is a systematic means to include LGBTQ+ seniors in the larger senior community so they can have their needs met, voices heard and overcome the challenges of growing older while also maintaining their independence and quality of life.