Health Equity in Context: Local Solutions for Global Problems

Participating Faculties: Faculty of Health Sciences (Host), Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Social Science, Ivey Business School

Project Leaders: 
Dr. Helene Berman, Professor, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, FHS
Dr. Nadine Wathen, Professor, Faculty of Information Sciences, with cross appointment to FHS

Total Project Funding:  $293, 350

Funding Period: 3 years

Rising inequity has been identified as perhaps the most pressing challenge facing humanity. It is a “wicked” social, political and economic problem impacting individuals, communities, nation-states and broader societies. No region or country is immune, and solutions must be sought collaboratively, from a diversity of perspectives, geographies and social locations. Disparities in health status are an immediate manifestation of rising inequity, and the site for the present proposal, which is a direct response to a convergence of inter-related challenges and opportunities arising in London, Canada, and in Kigali, Rwanda. Catalyzed by the Centre for Research on Health Equity & Social Inclusion (CRHESI), the proposed interdisciplinary development initiative (IDI) will launch new activities for CRHESI’s community and academic members, in partnership with the University of Rwanda and Rwanda’s University of Global Health Equity, to: 1) develop cross-national education and research opportunities specific to local and global health equity, and pre- and post-migration trauma and health; and 2) global/local knowledge mobilization pathways to ensure that best practices in addressing health inequities are shared bilaterally. This proposal’s strength is its people and the formative work we’ve done building partnerships. Projects will be led by teams of Canadian and Rwandan faculty, community and organizational leaders, and students. To enable community-engaged learning, we will create a CRHESI Student Fellowship Program, providing a range of opportunities for Western and Rwandan students to work with organizations to gain valuable experience and provide their time and skills in places where this kind of help is needed. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in student-led sessions linked to conferences and a Summer Institute. These educational endeavours will be supported through partnerships with Western International, the two Rwandan Universities, and enhanced graduate and undergraduate offerings at Western, which specifically focus on health equity.