Our People in Profile: NSHA senior analyst Robin Latta believes ‘diverse leadership,’ supportive policies key to creating safer spaces at work
As a senior analyst with the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) continuing care team, Robin Latta supports policy development and program improvements across the province. Latta also happens to identify as a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, so applies that lens to the position.
“When I started in health care, what struck me was the lack of representation,” said Latta, who recently joined continuing care after working with NSHA’s performance and analytics department.
“I was faced with not seeing me, looking for me in other people, looking for safe spaces.”
That lack of representation inspired Latta to influence people and affect change.
“I know that everyone doesn’t have the same voice that I have; my position comes with a certain amount of agency and power to affect change and to help navigate the system.”
Latta has worked in health care for 14 years and no matter the position, diversity, inclusion and educating others has always been a priority.
“People come to us when they’re most vulnerable and we need to do our very best and our best is meeting the person where they’re at and asking them what healing/health is,” Latta said.
It’s important to ensure everyone has a positive experience with our health system, Latta said. It’s also crucial that patients, staff and the public feel that they can identify themselves with a safe individual in a safer space, Latta added.
“To identify yourself as an ally, as a safe person for someone when they come to your care, is really important.”
Latta believes all NSHA staff members and volunteers should receive training on creating safer spaces. Once completed, they would wear pride pins as a way to identify themselves as safe.
Other easy practices include using gender neutral pronouns and displaying diverse positive visuals throughout the workplace, Latta said.
Encouraging organizations to create safer spaces and individuals to identify themselves as safe, we need to “model a culture of curiosity,” Latta explained.
“We create an unnecessary anxiety among staff for fear that they’ll say the incorrect pronoun or use an incorrect term,” Latta said, adding safer spaces at work “provide an opportunity for everyone to ask questions and learn.”
Latta feels that when it comes to diversity and inclusion within NSHA there are “pockets of excellence,” and it begins with prideHealth and our diversity committees.
Each zone in NSHA has its own diversity committee. These committees strive to embed diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the organization.
“We’re passionate about ensuring we have people’s voices at the table and making sure that we’re mindful (of) whose voice isn’t at the table and how can we get them there,” Latta said.
When asked what we need moving forward, Latta’s answer is simple:
“We need to have visible diverse leadership, representation at all levels, supportive and intentional policies and we need to continue to create a culture that is supportive.”