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Story

At the HEART of it all

A safe space for racialized children with disabilities to share difficult stories.

Assistant Professor, Psychotherapist under supervision and Holland Bloorview research scientist Dr. Fiona Moola has dedicated her career to amplifying the voices of kids living with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Her research led her to discover how racialized youth with disabilities and their families are often underrepresented in conversations about childhood disability. That’s when she came up with an outlet for families to talk about their experiences and challenges in the health care system.

A first-generation Canadian and member of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) community, Dr. Moola was determined to highlight the hidden narrative about childhood disability and race in our country.

Dr. Moola established the HEART lab at the Bloorview Research Institute – the Health Experiences and Arts Based Research Team – where she uses arts-based research to promote empathy and encourage conversations about social injustice.

This past February, Dr. Moola hosted Listening to the Margins, a two-day national conference on childhood disability and race. Participants shared stories of what it’s like to feel unseen and unheard in health care spaces.

Families had a safe place to bring light to their difficult experiences and memories about discrimination, language barriers and feeling lost in the system after immigrating to a new country.

Dr. Moola's work is helping to guide the direction of anti-racist and culturally safe health care and research for children and families. 

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