I just co-published a scoping review called Implementing Anti-Racism Interventions in Healthcare Settings: A Scoping Review in the International Journal for Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). This article was one of the things I was working on during my role as Project Coordinator for the Racism and Health Working Group at St. Michael's Hospital Academic Family Health Team in Toronto (2017 - 2020).
This review has been in the works for a while - before the COVID-19 pandemic and the amplification of calls for racial justice in 2020 - and I'm pleased to finally see this work published. This is incredibly challenging but necessary work. Not enough has been done to address systemic racism in healthcare settings and the anti-racism work that has been done can sometimes be misguided and cause unintended negative consequences.
Racism towards Black, Indigenous and People of Colour continues to exist in the healthcare system. This racism is built upon a global history of white supremacy, colonialism, and slavery, and has left lasting and ongoing impacts on the delivery and utilization of healthcare today. This racism leads to profound harms for people who use and work within these settings. This scoping review identified anti-racism interventions in outpatient healthcare settings and inductively identified themes. A conceptual model for implementing anti-racism interventions in healthcare settings is presented based on a synthesis of the peer-reviewed and grey literature. We present key processes, principles, and strategies for consideration when anti-racism interventions are planned and executed at various levels in healthcare.
Hassen, N., Lofters, A., Michael, S., Mall, A., Pinto, A. and Rackal, J. (2021). Implementing Anti-Racism Interventions in Healthcare Settings: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(6). Free access at https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/6/2993/htm
A couple of my favourite lines:
- Organizations should avoid further entrenching harmful dynamics and putting resources into trying to assess whether racism exists within their organizations (racism is pervasive and present everywhere).
- Healthcare institutions need to reflect critically on whether they are ready to make the commitment necessary to do this work and invest time and money in the process to bring about sustainable system-level change, or else consider not doing it at all. Without a solid commitment to incorporating the principles of anti-racism work developed by racialized people, primarily Black and Indigenous scholars and activists, over decades, healthcare institutions will continue to create and perpetuate harm.
- Anti-racism interventions will need to be tailored to the communities being served by healthcare settings, and this cannot be done without centering the voices & experiences of racialized staff, patients and communities.
- Healthcare institutions need to incorporate an explicit, shared language of anti-racism.
- Anti-racism action should incorporate leadership buy-in and commitment with dedicated resources, support and funding.
- Organizations should avoid implementing standalone individual-level training & instead shift their focus & resources to policies & practices that seek to dismantle pervasive institutional & systemic racism through a multi-level approach.
Figure 2. Overview of the principles and strategies for anti-racism interventions in healthcare settings. Available at https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/6/2993/htm
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