There’s increasing pressure on government and healthcare institutions to address barriers to health equity, which disproportionately impact people who experienced systemic racism, and other disadvantage or mistreatment. And these barriers have always existed. But awareness has been heightened lately in the public consciousness by news coverage of recent world events. And we’re now hyper-aware of race related health disparities and inequities, unequal access to health care for people who experience systemic disadvantage, and the lack of support for the health of indigenous peoples. Governments and healthcare organizations are under intense scrutiny for how they handle equity, health equity and diversity. And the stakes are really high.
So what does this have to do with patient engagement and partnership? Well, we think a lot. The goals of these programs include improving health equity and equitable access to health care for everyone. And the belief is that diversity among engaged patients – diversity representative of the people in Canada – is critical to helping achieve these goals. One of the problems is that engaged patients are mostly middle class, white, and female. There are exceptions of course, but there is a long way to go. So to help achieve desired levels of diversity, there’s a lot of focus on recruitment, outreach and accessibility, all in an effort to attract people from underrepresented groups.
We’ve been keen to talk through some of these ideas and assumptions as we think there are some interesting tensions to unpack. So we contacted our guest, Dr. Nav Persaud, for perspective and insight. We hope you find our discussion as illuminating as we did!
This episode also includes a recorded submission from Vina Mohabir in our new segment, “Patient Partner Reflections”, brought to you by OSSU.