By Gillian Kranias, HC Link

My work in healthy community projects has always been driven by a passion for equity. Through community collaborations, we work for change to transform the living situations of equity-seeking groups (to which we sometimes do/sometimes don't belong) for the benefit of all. At the local level, we draw links and we ask important equity questions, like "What differences among community members might cause some folks to be negatively impacted (or not reached) by our organizing, our actions and our programs? What steps can we take to remedy this?" Often enough, we make positive progress. But at the system-level (policies and large-scale services) change is harder to impact. Still, we stay committed and hope for more.

On a very hopeful day last week (November 26th) some fifty people gathered in a room at CAMH - with thirty others connected online - for an event titled: Realizing the Potential of Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA). The HEIA tool, developed by the province, is "a decision support tool which walks users through the steps of identifying how a program, policy or similar initiative will impact population groups in different ways." Among the presenters, not all spoke to the ministry's tool – there are other tools out there too. All of the tools hold a promise to enhance our efforts to advance equity through policy and service changes.

Here are some of the goodies I gained from the various presenters:

Half way through the afternoon, a speaker from the floor representing a [mental health services] consumer group patiently appealed to the presenters asking "how can we reduce the gap between the talk about HEIA and related tools, and the work of groups [like ours] in the community". This contribution brought thoughtful commentary from the speakers, and sparked some dynamic insights during participant dialogues at the end of the session. Such as:

This afternoon of learning and exchange was an event of the HEIA Community of Interest https://knowledgex.camh.net/ke_workspace/heia_coi/default.aspx and Health Nexus was one of the co-hosts. I really appreciated all the efforts of the organizers and enjoyed meeting new people, as well as seeing a some familiar faces from our HC Link community.

 

This afternoon of learning and exchange was an event of the HEIA Community of Interest https://knowledgex.camh.net/ke_workspace/heia_coi/default.aspx  and Health Nexus was one of the co-hosts. I really appreciated all the efforts of the organizers and enjoyed meeting new people, as well as seeing a some familiar faces from our HC Link community.