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Department of Family and Community Medicine and St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team


Equity in our programs and services

5 icons, including: scoping, potential impacts, mitigation, monitoring and dissemination
Source: Government of Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

With a focus on the piloting and implementation of tools to assess all programs and services through a health equity lens, the first step was to gather information on the specific tools and approaches that can be used to inform equity-focused decision-making in a health care setting. What stood out in the literature on health equity impact assessment was the need for good data, which requires the team to dig deeper into patients’ experiences and better identify the gaps in their care that result from their socio-economic circumstances.

Specific tools can be used to assess how a program and service is meeting the needs of populations that experience disadvantage. They have been used in other parts of the health system, including the Government of Ontario’s Health Equity Impact Assessment. The working group reviewed the literature and others’ experiences, and developed a team-specific assessment tool, which was piloted with the team’s diabetes program. They then trained a wide range of health team members at a full-day workshop, and are now supervising its rollout throughout the health team.

The team is committed to mainstreaming the use of equity-oriented assessment tools and outcome evaluations throughout its programs and services, and is currently developing an infrastructure to embed this approach into day-to-day operations.