Health Equity in Waterloo Wellington
This fall, the Waterloo Wellington LHIN is launching a campaign to raise awareness and a better understanding of the issue of health equity in Waterloo Wellington. Part of our mission to lead a high quality integrated health system for residents means ensuring everyone in our local communities has the potential to experience the same health outcomes (longer, healthier lives), no matter who they are or where they live.
Equity vs Equality
Health Equality means that everyone in Waterloo Wellington has access to the same health services no matter who they are and where they live but Health Equity goes one step further. Creating health equity means providing people who are part of more vulnerable populations have excess to additional resources to ensure they have the resources they need to experience the same health outcomes as the general population.
Issues of health inequality are often expected and deemed fair due to things like genetic difference, however, issues of health inequity are often socially produced and avoidable with change in policy.
What effects health equity – Social determinants of health
There are many things, in addition to health care, that impact our health. We all know that a healthy diet, exercise and managing stress are important as well, but there are also a number of other factors (many of which are outside of our control) that impact our health and well-being. We call these factors the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age that impact the conditions of daily life.
- Income and Income Distribution
- Unemployment and Job Security
- Employment and Working Conditions
- Early Childhood Development
- Food Insecurity
- Social Exclusion
- Social Safety Network
- Health Services
- Aboriginal Status
You can learn more about the social determinants of health here.
What’s being done in Waterloo Wellington to address health equity?
The Waterloo Wellington LHIN is committed to addressing issues of health equity for residents. As we work to develop the 2016-2019 Integrated Health Service Plan – the local plan for health system improvement – we have taken special care to engage with underserved populations and identify what that gap in service are. We are also focused on education – helping health service providers, governors and community leaders understand why address health inequity and the social determinants of health is so important to ensuring optimum health outcomes for residents.
We are also working with our health service providers to make address health equity a priority. We have added health equity expectations into our accountability agreements with providers and into our decision making frameworks. In the coming year, we will be targeting some funding towards priority/high-risk population group.