TORONTO, ON – Before the COVID pandemic hit, researchers Dr. Margaret Keith and Dr. James Brophy began ground-breaking work on violence against hospital and long-term care workers. Today, with nurses reporting an increase in violence fueled by the world health crisis, the publication of their new book Code White: Sounding the Alarm on Violence against Health Care Workers (Between The Lines) offers an urgent window on how and why this gendered workforce – vital, skilled and dedicated – has been abandoned by governments and their health care employers, and how we can address this systemic problem.

Drs. Keith and Brophy will present their findings and provide important solutions to help end violence against health care staff at a media conference on Wednesday September 1, 2021, at 11 a.m., via Zoom: .

Keith and Brophy began their health sector violence studies in 2017 and 2019 with in depth interviews with health care workers – several dozen of them members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Those studies were followed in the spring of 2020 as the pandemic was unfolding in real time in hospitals and long-term care homes across Ontario with new work on the lack of protection provided to workers in COVID-19 wave one. Code White deepens these studies, and soberly assesses why these chronic problems in the health care system exist and what the solutions are.

Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital (OCHU/CUPE) who wrote the forward to Code White will join Keith and Brophy at Wednesday’s media conference. After brief initial remarks, the speakers will take questions from the media.

Caroline Criado Perez, UK author of the bestselling book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, had this to say about Code White:

“Around the world, health care workers have been applauded for their tireless work during the pandemic. And yet as Brophy and Keith reveal in this powerful exposé, alongside these public displays of gratitude runs a hidden epidemic of violence—one that goes unchallenged by those with the power to prevent it. Harrowing, infuriating, and so important, this book could not be more timely. It should be on every policy maker’s desk.” 

From the book:

“Fixing the health care system so that it provides the care the public expects and deserves while protecting those who provide that care is going to require some fancy footwork. Those who have the power to make changes—by passing protective legislation, providing appropriate funding, designing safe facilities, establishing safe staffing levels, offering appropriate emotional and mental health supports, instituting protective policies, and making the compensation system more equitable—can no longer pretend they know nothing about the problem of violence against health care staff. The question remains: How do we get them to act on that knowledge?”


David Gray-Donald, Between the Lines Publicity & Promotions Manager