UL Hospitals Group held its first Multicultural Celebration Day at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
The day was a collaborative effort between Health & Wellbeing staff at UL Hospitals Group and the office of the Chief Clinical Director, Professor Paul Burke. UL Hospitals Group now has over 300 employees from 50 different countries around the globe stretching from Poland to Sudan and the Philippines, this number is set to grow as the Group develops services in line with its strategic priorities over the next five years.
One of the ten goals in the HSE Diversity Equality and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2015-2018 is to recognise the positive aspects of culturally diverse teams. Speaking about the inaugural event Professor Paul Burke, Chief Clinical Director said, “The aim of our Multicultural Day was to promote and celebrate cultural diversity across the Group. We hugely value the contribution which different cultures bring to the working environment at UL Hospitals, its great o see lifelong friendships developed between people from all over the world. We could not function as we do without the huge input of our staff from all over the globe, thank you to all.”
The Multicultural Celebration Day opened with a myriad of colourful stands and displays in UHL, organised by staff working in the Group. There were stands from the Philippines, Brazil, South Africa, Poland, Great Britain, the Sudan and Pakistan. Staff on the stands wore their own national dress, brought in foods to sample and had displays on their stands showing what is unique in each of their countries. Our Irish colleagues also had a stand displaying Irish culture for our multinational colleagues.
In the afternoon, members of staff, their families, friends and honorary guests, including the Honorary Polish Consul in Limerick, Mr Patrick O’Sullivan, were treated to a concert of music, song and dance performed by employees, their children and friends from Sudan and the Philippines.
Three little girls from Sudan, ages 11, 8 and 3, daughters of Drs. Haythem Ahmed and Dr Rasha Ismail, working as Non-consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) in Ennis Hospital, performed a traditional Sudanese dance in traditional Sudanese dress.
Sanaa Mustafa, a Paediatric Registrar from Sudan, spoke about her experience of working in UHL, “I joined UL Hospitals Group in 2015 and when I first moved from my home in Sudan, I feared the challenges ahead of me; a new job , a new country and a different culture, but in no time those fears were completely abolished by the kindness and support that my fellow co-workers showed to me. It is always a difficult experience when you are starting in a new hospital, but it is the people around you who make the experience worthwhile. So thank you to all UHL staff, whose kindness, guidance and efforts made my experience joyful.”
Josephine Guillermo and Francis Edroso, Wards 1B and 3C, UHL, organised for family, friends and colleagues from the Philippines to perform traditional song and dance in their colourful national costume.
In addition to staff performances, there were performances from the UL World Academy of Music and Dance and the Presentation Primary School, Limerick City.
John Nutekpor, a musician from Ghana and masters student at the World Academy performed an interactive session for assembled guests. UL Hospitals has strong links with Ghana through the Learning Lives of Ghana charity set up by UL and UL Hospitals Group to work with the national health service in the West African nation and with Ghana Medical Help, a Canadian charity founded by UL GEMS student Kelly Hadfield.
UL Hospitals was also delighted to welcome children from ‘World Carnival’ at the Presentation Primary School, one of the most multicultural primary schools in Limerick City. ‘World Carnival’ is a community-based song project coordinated by Helen Phelan from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, UL in partnership with Music Generation and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
The HSE, and UL Hospitals Group aims to develop a workforce which reflects the diversity of its service users, and which is strengthened through accommodating and valuing different perspectives, ultimately resulting in improved services to our patients. Thanking all the participants in the event, Colette Cowan, CEO of UL Hospitals Group commented, “Our event was about celebrating our cultural diversity, but it was also about recognising the importance of promoting culturally diverse teams and recognising the attributes and viewpoints of all staff from all corners of the globe. We continue to strive to become an employer of choice within the Mid-West. We are extremely proud to have employees working with us from so many different countries bringing a range of skills, talents, diverse thinking and experience to the organisation for the benefit of our patients. We invited staff from all of our sites to participate and showcase their cultures at UHL and I would like to thank them and all those who took part for their support, we were delighted with the level of participation in our first event of this kind.”
Laura Tobin, Healthy Ireland Project Lead, Health & Wellbeing, UL Hospitals Group concluded, “I am delighted to welcome staff from across the Group with their families to celebrate multicultural diversity at UL Hospitals Group and to learn more about our colleagues’ cultures and countries. Thank you to those members of the committee from our Polish, Sudanese, Philippino and South African communities for their invaluable input into organising this event.”
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