Department of Medicine Inaugural Self-Identification Survey Results (2021)

The Department of Medicine (DoM) launched its first ever Self-identification Survey from Oct - Nov 2021 under the leadership of Faculty Lead, Equity, Dr. Umberin Najeeb (now Vice-Chair, Culture & Inclusion). To encourage participation, the survey was conducted completely anonymously – responses were provided without any personal identifiers, unlinked to academic position description, specialty/division or hospital affiliation. Of over 1500 faculty members we heard back from 562 giving a response rate of 36%.

Here are the highlights of what we learned:

  1. Of the faculty respondents, less than half (48.1%) self-identified as White. One in five identified as Jewish (19.3%), as East Asian 14.9% and 14.2% as South Asian. Smaller proportions self-identified as other groups, and very few identified as Black (2.3%) or Indigenous (0.9%).
  2. Compared with Toronto residents in 2016: women, Black, Filipino, and Indigenous peoples are under-represented in our department.
  3. One-quarter of participants (24.9%) indicated that they were ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ identifiable as a member of a specific religion based on their appearance/something they wear. Greater accommodation for religion (dietary needs, celebrations, place of worship) would enhance our diversity efforts.
  4. One-third of our respondents were born outside Canada, 28% completed their medical training outside North America, and our faculty speak more than 31 languages!
  5. 17.8% identified as having grown up in a low income or lower middle-income family compared with 41.8% who grew up in an upper-middle or upper income environment. Almost one in five identified as having a physician parent.  
  6. Compared with Toronto residents in 2016, people from lower income families are under-represented in our department.
  7. 43.9% self-identified as women, 52.8% as men, and 1.4% as transgender or non-binary.
  8. One in five respondents were ≤ 40 years of age, most were living with others (87.6%) and most were parents (61.6%). Of the 318 with children, 29.2% had toddlers, 44.3% pre-teens, 31.8% teenagers, and 28.3% adult children.
  9. A significant proportion (22.8%) had caregiver roles for their elderly parents and/or family members. 10% identified as having a disability, the most common being a chronic medical illness. Greater accommodation for caregiver responsibilities would enhance our diversity efforts.
  10. Participants supported ongoing efforts to increase the representation of diverse perspectives among DoM leadership and in recruitment/selection processes, opportunities for mentorship, sponsorship, and empowerment, and education on implicit and explicit bias. We agree and the DoM continues to support a number of initiatives in these areas. If you would like to get involved, please reach out to

Gender Identity: Survey participants included 53% men and 44% women.

Age: 48% faculty members are between 40-55 years with 23.8% between 56-69 years, 19.7 % less than 40 years and 7.8% more then 70 years of age.

Age of Participants

Religious affiliation: Survey participants self-identify as following: Christianity -30%, Judaism -21%, Hinduism -6%, Islam - 4.8%, Atheism - 18.8% and no religious affiliation -17%.

Religious Affiliation

Race: 48% of faculty members self-identify as White with 15% as East Asian and 14% as South Asian. 2.3 % of our faculty identified as Black and < 1% as Indigenous.

Race and Ethnicity

Canadian Citizenship Status: The majority (64.4 %) of survey participants were born Canadian, while 4 % are permanent residents and 29.30 % have acquired Canadian citizenship status.

Canadian Citizenship Status

Disability: 10% of survey participants acknowledged some form of disability.

Disability Status


Caregiver (children)
Caregiver (family members)