Addressing deep-seated health inequities requires comprehensive strategies drawing on the insights and innovation of communities and community-based providers.One useful tool that can support good planning and engagement is the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA). Wellesley has recently published primers on HEIA and on Mental Well-being Impact Assessment (MWIA), and continues to do workshops with many partners on the topic. This workshop was at an excellent conference on equity and diversity in mental health sponsored by Hong Fook Mental Health Association and others partners.
I always develop concrete scenarios that we can work through – or often enough, participants have something. The scenarios developed in this particular presentation were around establishing a new health promotion program in an immigrant community, developing a drop-in service in a poor neighbourhood, and addressing higher re-admission rates for psychiatric patients from disadvantaged populations.
I learn something new from every workshop – and try to capture these lessons learned in the slides. The new wrinkle that arose here was that these scenarios deal with two different kinds of issues. The first, having identified the need to address a key access barrier or support a particular population, we want to make sure planning the new services doesn’t miss anything. In other words, we think we have the solution and we want to ensure we implement it effectively. Second, we know there is a key problem, such as higher re-admissions, and need to drill down to find a solution. Can HEIA help for both these purposes? In working through the scenarios, we determined that it can.