May 8, 2023

Clinician-researcher passionate about fairness and equity

Shannon Ruzycki researches, advocates and facilitates for the upholding of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion principles in medicine
headshot of Dr. Shannon Ruzycki

New Libin Cardiovascular Institute member Dr. Shannon Ruzycki, MD, has a passion for justice and helping others.

A general internist who works with a wide variety of patients, Ruzycki is also an advocate for ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles are upheld in the medical workplace, both between medical colleagues and health care practitioners and their patients.

Ruzycki has an Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and Quality, Patient Safety, and Outcomes Research from Johns Hopkins University. She conducts research in perioperative quality improvement for patients and EDI and racism in the medical workplace.

“I love both research focuses, but as a middle child I am obsessed with fairness and equality, and that makes me passionate about my EDI work,” she says. “Everyone deserves to be treated fairly in the medical workplace. Whether you are staff or a patient, you should feel safe and be safe.”

Ruzycki’s work has resulted in several publications in peer-reviewed journals that have brought EDI concerns to light. It’s something she is really proud of. 

“EDI is important because, particularly in medicine, there are large power differentials,” she says. “When you have hierarchies, that’s where harassment and discrimination can thrive. A lot of the qualitative research I have done has amplified the voices of those who have been impacted. These problems can then no longer be ignored.”

Ruzycki not only conducts research in this area, but she is actively involved in facilitating change.

She is the associate director of Physician Wellness and Vitality in the Cumming School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine and a physician collaborator for Well Doc Alberta. Ruzycki also co-chairs the Dept. of Medicine’s Equity and Diversity working group and sits on its antiracism task force.

As such, she offers a listening ear to anyone who has experienced discrimination, racism or harassment in medicine.

“This is a system-wide problem,” says Ruzycki. “As physicians, we have accountability to our patients and our colleagues. Hearing these stories has really shown that this a deep-seated issue and has motivated me to continue working hard to address it.”

Ruzycki challenges those she meets to do the same.

“We all have a role to play in stopping racism and bias,” she says. “When tackling such a big problem, everyone feels helpless, but we can educate ourselves and chip away at the issues together. Every time we stand up for someone who may not be able to or share the importance of equality and fairness, we are making a difference.”

Dr. Shannon Ruzycki is a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute’s Women’s Cardiovascular Health Research Initiative (link). She is open to collaboration.