Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit partners with Nova Scotia government to advance health equity

Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit partners with Nova Scotia government to advance health equity

Engaging communities on a provincial Health Equity Framework

Today, the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) will bring together community leaders, patients, health professionals and government stakeholders to address health equity in Nova Scotia.

The event, hosted by the MSSU on behalf of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (DHW), invites people with personal experiences with healthcare inequity to share feedback on a draft provincial framework that will guide Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Reconciliation and Accessibility (EDIRA) in the healthcare system.

Under the framework, health inequity refers to controllable differences in healthcare services between different groups of people, which can negatively affect people’s overall health.

“We believe effective patient engagement is critical to improving the quality of healthcare for all, and the MSSU mandate is to assist in bringing this lived experience to the table by facilitating public engagement events like this,” says Dr. Amy Grant, Senior Health Policy Researcher at the MSSU.

This important collaboration with the province and diverse community groups demonstrates the MSSU’s commitment to EDIRA, but also in supporting priority health and wellness initiatives and research in the health system.

The framework is being developed by the DHW and health system partners through conversations and outreach with marginalized and racialized communities impacted by health inequity, and those working in the healthcare system in Nova Scotia, as outlined in Bill 96-Dismantling Race and Hate Act.

John Ariyo, Executive Director of Equity and Engagement at the DHW, says he is thankful for the invaluable support from the MSSU in moving this framework forward.

“Partnering with patient engagement experts like the MSSU to facilitate meaningful community engagement will ensure that our health-care system is more equitable and responsive to the needs of those diverse populations,” says Ariyo.

Feedback collected at the in-person in Antigonish will be used to shape the framework prior to its release in July 2023. St. Francis Xavier University (St. FX) has also partnered with the MSSU in bringing this event to the region.

“Centering equity in provincial health actions and solutions is vital to changing the culture of health in Nova Scotia. Almost half of all Nova Scotians live in a rural area. Including rural perspectives in the development of the Health Equity Framework is essential to ensuring Nova Scotians have equitable access to healthcare and can achieve their best health, regardless of where they live,” says Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Associate Professor and Research Chair Health and Social Justice at St. FX.

Additional engagement opportunities (in-person and virtual) are being scheduled next month to encourage a broad perspective of participants from across Nova Scotia.

Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit partners with Nova Scotia government to advance health equity