Addressing Inequalities in Access to Healthcare for Underserved Populations

Blog by the Canadian College of Health Leaders and Paul Gallant CHE

On January 15 on #hcldr we are going coast-to-coast exploring the inequalities in accessing care for underserved populations. We will be joined by Paul Gallant, an advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples for more than thirty years, and the Principal of Gallant Healthworks & Associates. Paul is also the Guest Editor for the January edition of Healthcare Management Forum devoted to Indigenous health, the peer-reviewed journal of the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

There is a lot of diversity within Canada’s Indigenous Peoples (Inuit, Metis and First Nations). Their health status, living situation on and off reserve, territory, political structure and viewpoints, family structure, food sources, employment, income, education, diet, use of traditional medicines, healing practices, spirituality, education, health and wellness services, strengths, outlook on life and other characteristics, are not homogenous. What they do have in common, is hundreds of years of colonization against their will which has led to miscommunication, misunderstanding, mistrust and racism, all which have deeply affected their contemporary and serious health struggles.

And this history of colonialism is shared by countries all over the world, creating vast populations of people who do not trust western-based health models and remain at risk for illness and early death.

So the question remains, how do we ensure that these populations can access the care they need?  Paul Gallant joins us to share the lessons he has learned and to help health leaders understand how they can make changes in their own environments.

Please join us as we host the weekly #hcldr tweetchat on Tuesday January 15th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here):

  • T1 How can we improve health literacy for people who do not have adequate access to healthcare?
  • T2 One suggestion is to position health centres and hospitals as places of wellness and shift the focus away from sickness (for example, health workers are promoted as community health agents). What initiatives have worked in your area?
  • T3 Geography can limit healthcare access. In 2018, 63 million people live in a rural area in North America. Can we take any best practices or lessons learned from working with some Indigenous Peoples living remotely that can be transferred to rural populations?
  • T4 How can health leaders remove bias and ensure that the system provides safe care for everyone who needs it?

You can also read the January edition of the journal here: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/hmf as Indigenous scholars discuss frameworks for change, models of community-led health transformation, and immediate strategies to address health gaps. One article, linked here, is open access and available for all to read

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0840470418788090

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