Increasing Health Equity by Confronting Racism, Bias and Discrimination
- 11:00 am
11 March 2021
Online | Free
Covid-19 disproportionally affects marginalized populations whether they are Indigenous, Black or Latinos/as in North America, migrants, members of lower castes or poor in the context of Africa.
Without a pandemic, racial minorities bear a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality. In transforming countries where race is often a proxy for poverty, this burden is borne by large parts of the community. Recent studies show that racism affects access to and quality of care and that individuals experiencing racism have greater rates of illness. There are two clusters of root causes of inequity.
The first is the intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic mechanisms that drive the distribution of power and resources across race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of individual and group identity. The second is the unequal allocation of power and resources—including goods, services, and societal attention—which manifest in unequal social, economic, and environmental conditions, i.e. the social determinants of health.
The pandemic shines a light on these structural determinants of inequities and how the current global health infrastructure often perpetuates the narrative of the “white savior.”
Education institutions select and train the future health workforce, their research and programmes affect policy and practice and their culture shape graduates’ worldviews and behaviours.
We propose a panel discussion with global thought-leaders, followed by facilitated breakout-room discussions and then a “plenary” discussion to identify key areas for action. Each room will focus on where academia and health professionals have failed different populations and how to address these failings
Organised by the Training for Health Equity Network: THEnet in partnership with Northern Ontario School of Medicine, the objectives of this session are:
- To raise awareness of how health workforce education institutions through their educational and institutional programs, projects, and policies as well as their culture and underlying narratives often perpetuate biases and discrimination and therefore contribute to health inequities
- To foster reflection and action to transform how institutional policies, practice and programs to become active partners in eliminating racism and discrimination in health care and thereby improving health inequities
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Walter Flores, PhD, is the Director of the Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems, Guatemala. Dr. Walter Flores is a social scientist and human rights advocate with over 25 years of professional experience. He holds a PhD and a Masters of Community Health from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK. Dr. Flores’ professional work has been carried-out in more than 30 countries from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. His areas of expertise are health systems and policy, right to health and indigenous populations, democratic governance, social accountability, legal empowerment, and community participation. Currently, Dr. Flores is the executive director of the Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems; a Guatemalan civil society organization specialized in applied research, capacity building and advocacy around issues affecting indigenous and other marginalized populations.
Lionel Green-Thompson, MD, PhD, is the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences University of Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. served previously as the Dean at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University after working as the Assistant Dean: Teaching, Learning and Undergraduate Affairs at Wits University. He served as a co-author panelist for the ASSAf Consensus Report: Reconceptualising health professions education in South Africa. This report released in 2018, represented a national response to the Lancet Commission of 2010. Lionel has also served on the education workstream which produced the 2030 Human Resources for Health Strategy: Investing in the Health Workforce for Universal Health Coverage for the South African Government. He is a specialist anaesthesiologist by training and completed a PhD in 2014 entitled: The nature of social accountability in South African medical education and practice.
Wuleta Lemma, PhD, MPhil, MPH, is CEO and Founder of Lalibela Global-USA/ Lalibela-Networks Ethiopia. Dr. Wuleta Lemma is an Honorary Associate Professor at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Wollo University-Ethiopia and Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Lalibela Global-USA/ Lalibela-Networks PLC Ethiopia, a digital health social enterprise. Dr.Wuleta has 28 years of human resources for health, digital health technologies, international public health, global health security, pandemic surveillance, quality improvement, and organizational leadership. Dr. Wuleta currently serves on a number of global health review panels, including for the National Institute of Health and the Wellcome Trust. She served as a technical expert in M&E, digital health, data quality and use, and HIV/AIDS for organizations such as WHO, UNICEF, IGAD, and the World Bank. She created and executed the first postgraduate dual training program in biostatistics and health informatics in Ethiopia, the first Master’s program in Health Monitoring and Evaluation in Africa, and introduced the first accelerated diploma training program in Ethiopia for health information technicians. Dr. Wuleta received her PhD and MPhil from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, in the United Kingdom and, her MPH from Emory University in the United States.
Eva M. Moya, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Moya is a health disparities researcher and community-engaged scholar with an interest in developing policy and education interventions to improve prevention efforts in underserved populations. Her work seeks to design community-based interventions using social determinants and ecological model strategies to address health inequalities in communities of color. She has worked to address the burden of social and health inequalities in the U.S.-Mexico Border for the past 37 years, primarily in a multi and interdisciplinary fashion. She conducts community-engaged scholarship initiatives focused on high-impact practices in education, homelessness and interdisciplinary education. Dr. Moya is also experienced in working with faculty and students as well as community partners in the areas of qualitative research, educational interventions and training of community health workers. She has successfully administered federal and binational research projects collaborated with other scholars and researchers and produced more than 30 peer-review publications and 13 book chapters. She is a Kellogg Fellow and board member of the Alliance of Leadership Fellows. Eva received the 2020 Othli Award from the Government of Mexico General Consulate in El Paso for leadership and service to Mexican communities in the United States.
Toyese Oyeyemi is the Director of the Beyond Flexner Alliance which promotes social mission in health professional education and is based at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His research, teaching, and practice have focused on interprofessional education, equitable health workforce development, and community-driven interventions in population health. Mr. Oyeyemi is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), Senior Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity, and maintains a faculty lecture title in population health and faculty research title in family and community medicine at the University of New Mexico.
Björg Pálsdóttir is co-founder and CEO of the Training for Health Equity Network: THEnet, a global partnership of health workforce education institutions committed to reducing health inequities and increasing social accountability. Pálsdóttir is the Technical Lead of a Working Group on Equity at the Data and Evidence Hub of the World Health Organization, member of Africa Europe Strategy Group on Health and chairs an Innovation Collaborative at the National Academies of Sciences Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education in the United States. She was commissioned to write a policy brief on education for the United Nations High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. Pálsdóttir served as a consultant to international organizations and governments and has published numerous articles and book chapters. Earlier, Pálsdóttir co-founded the Center for Global Health at New York University School of Medicine and worked as Regional Information Coordinator based in East and Central Africa for the International Rescue Committee. She holds MPA from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Sarita Verma, LLB, MD, CCFP is the Dean, President and CEO of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Dr. Verma was the Vice President, Education at the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She was the Associate Vice-Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions and Special Advisor to the Dean of Medicine at the University of Toronto, the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (2008-2015) and Associate Vice-Provost, Health Professions Education (2010-2015). She is a family physician who originally trained as a lawyer at the University of Ottawa (1981) and later completed her medical degree at McMaster University (1991). She has been a Diplomat in Canada’s Foreign Service and worked with UNHCR in Sudan and Ethiopia for several years. She currently sits on the Board of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center, Health Services Organization, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, and the Board of the Health Sciences Network Research Institute in Sudbury.
Header Image: courtesy of healthline