Wellesley Institute works in research and policy to improve health and health equity in the Greater Toronto Area, through action on the social determinants of health.
What is health equity?
Achieving health equity means ensuring that no one is left uncared for, and that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy good health. It’s when all people can reach their full health potential and are not disadvantaged from attaining it because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, socioeconomic status or other socially determined circumstance.
Health inequities are health differences between population groups related to the social determinants of health that are unfair and avoidable. Individuals who have consistently been deprived of social determinants of health are significantly disadvantaged and face worse health outcomes than those who are able to access certain resources.
What are social determinants of health?
Our health is about more than doctors, drugs and hospitals. It is about where we work, live, play and age. It can be about our democratic processes, our education, access to childcare and more. Social determinants of health are different personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence individual and population health. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, these non-medical factors include:
- Income and social status
- Employment and working conditions
- Education and literacy
- Childhood experiences
- Housing and physical environments
- Social supports and coping skills
- Healthy behaviours
- Access to health services
- Biology and genetic endowment
- Race / Racism