Ika Washington: Advocating for Health Equity & Diversity through DiversityTalk

By: Andrea Perel 

When it comes to social change, few figures are as formidable as Ika Washington. A public health professional specializing in health policy and equity, Ika is the founder of DiversityTalk, an innovative consultancy that works with organizations and corporations to engage and empower marginalized and underrepresented groups, primarily within the health and social service sectors.

Born out of Ika’s lifelong passion for health and social justice, DiversityTalk reflects her deeply ingrained ideals and commitment to tackling complex social and health problems that impact marginalized communities. For Ika, this is more than just a profession; it’s a calling intertwined with her identity as a Black woman and a response to a world marked by disparities and inequalities.

Throughout her career, Ika has amassed diverse experiences spanning governance and regulatory affairs, policy development and implementation, health research design, and project management. Her advanced academic credentials — an M.Sc. focusing on social science from the University of Southampton and currently progressing with her Ph.D. in Health Policy and Equity at York University — further attest to her dedication and qualifications to address the pressing issues at hand. 

Before founding DiversityTalk, Ika had extensive work experience, including serving as a Policy Analyst and Program Specialist at Health Canada and a Regional Lead for an Indigenous Health Authority serving over 31 First Nations communities in Ontario. Additionally, she has graced various platforms as a global speaker, sharing her insight and expertise on different platforms such as Leafly, Globe and Mail, The Green Room, GrowOp, Postmedia, and various podcasts and documentaries.

Ika Washington’s DiversityTalk is more than just a consultancy; it’s a platform to challenge the status quo and to reimagine a world that truly honors diversity and inclusion. Just as the organization’s name suggests, DiversityTalk intends to prompt conversations and incite actions that will foster inclusivity in our societies, especially within the health and social service spheres.

 In her view, true inclusion transcends merely addressing diversity and equity; it involves promoting a sense of belonging to foster a culture of inclusivity both within organizations and in society at large.

In a world often tangled with deeply rooted structural disparities and discrimination, figures like Ika Washington embody a beacon of hope. By channeling her productive energy, vast experience, and keen academic acumen into DiversityTalk, Ika’s dream is to create an impact that vibrates far beyond the walls of offices. She stands firm in her dedication to improving spaces for marginalized groups and refining business designs with an inclusive perspective.

In the journey of creating equity and amplifying diverse voices, Ika Washington, through her platform DiversityTalk, invites us all to participate in shaping a more understanding, inclusive, and equitable society. This mission continues, one conversation at a time, one policy at a time, and one organization at a time, offering hope for a progressive change that critically reviews and reconstructs the systems that define our societies.

Ika Washington is more than a change maker- she’s a beacon inviting us all to recognize, engage, and empower the diverse individuals often neglected at the periphery of our social and healthcare systems. 

Undeniably, Ika’s contributions to public health and diversity, through her work and her consultancy DiversityTalk, underscore the potent intersection of passion and professionalism. Her relentless march forward to fight for better inclusivity illustrates that with commitment and dedication, a more equitable world is within our grasp.

(Ambassador)

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