Here are some of the things I’ve been up to recently. Please contact me for more details or to collaborate on an event.
Workshop Host - Toronto - Ongoing 2019
I’ve hosted some free workshops/discussions on the topic of obstetric violence at the Toronto Birth Centre, Ryerson Univeristy, and elsewhere. The group attendees consisted of community members, birth workers, and healthcare providers.
recent FREE events:
Oct 18 2019 - 1:30-3:30pm at Toronto Birth Centre
July 26 2019 - 1:30-3:30pm at Toronto Birth Centre
July 23 2019 - 7:00-8:00pm at Doulas on Bikes
VICE article - Oct 16 2019
I was interviewed for an article about obstetric violence, A Growing Number of Women Allege Doctors Abused Them During Childbirth by Sarah Yahr Tucker:
”But even if complaint channels are flawed, Macdonald thinks people should still file them, and she saw a direct parallel with reporting allegations of sexual assault or harassment, which are too often rejected or ignored. "The system is rigged against you,” Macdonald said. “Of course it is. But you do it anyway.”
Founder - The Obstetric Justice Project - 2017
I founded an independent patient advocacy initiative aimed at exposing mistreatment and abuse in reproductive healthcare. Beginning in Ontario, the project now welcomes story submissions from all over Canada on the Community Story Blog from both patients and professionals.
Survey & Report - Jun 28 2018
I collaborated with a (very) small team to create an independent feedback survey for patients of St. Joe’s Toronto in an effort to hold them publicly accountable for the widespread abuse and cultural issues in their childbirth unit that they had chosen not to address.
St. Joseph’s Health Centre did not have a survey of their own at the time so we created a comprehensive report of the findings to provide feedback that would have otherwise been unlikely to reach the hospital.
I followed up with hospital administrators in October 2018 to find out if they’d incorporated any of the feedback into changes on the unit and published a detailed response to both their written letter and our in-person meeting.
Guest Blogger - Human Rights in Childbirth - Dec 10 2018
I was invited by Human Rights in Childbirth to share a few words regarding the experience of sharing my work with the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health:
“I became a patient advocate sort of by accident. My own experience of obstetric violence that led me to this work left me completely traumatized and struggling to function. On paper, the birth of my child appeared perfectly uneventful; the kind of birth for which many hope. I had a “normal” vaginal delivery following an induction at 41 weeks. There were no instruments required, I had minimal tearing, delayed cord clamping, and immediate skin-to-skin with my beautiful healthy baby. Despite the positive physical outcome, some of the treatment I’d received left me in a very dark place. When I returned home from the hospital, I was unable to separate vivid flashbacks of the non-consensual procedures and cruel attitude of hospital staff from my previous experiences of violence and abuse.”
TVO’s The Agenda - Jun 20 2018
I participated in a television panel on maternal mental health for TVO’s The Agenda, with guest host Nam Kiwanuka.
CBC News - Mar 21 2018
'I felt like an afterthought': How this woman aims to change the childbirth experience in Ontario hospitals by Ieva Lucs
“It's been a little over a year since Kate Macdonald gave birth to her son, but the memory is bittersweet because of what she calls a traumatic experience with hospital staff.
"I felt like an afterthought," Macdonald told CBC Toronto. "I didn't feel like my care providers were listening to me or like my needs were even on their radar. It was just about what's easiest for them to get through their shift."”
Outside of my advocacy work, I have spent the past few years as a personal care attendant for adults with physical disabilities, an arts and music instructor for kids with developmental disabilities, and volunteering in end-of-life care at a residential hospice. I look forward to connecting with you!