Scientific Solutions to Health Inequality

Scientific Solutions to Health Inequality


The challenge in Toronto, and the challenge
in many Canadian cities, is the fact that even when we have relative prosperity, we
have huge disparities in wealth and income, and we have increasingly marginalized groups
of people living in our cities who suffer from really severe health problems and disadvantage.
So the goal of our research is to see how we can first of all, improve the health of
these marginalized individuals, but also attack the root problem, which is really the inequalities
of opportunity and social determinants of health. It’s beneficial to all
of us if we don’t let people fall behind and fall through the cracks. But the research
that we do also has political dimensions; so for example, we’re doing a randomized control
trial, a study of the effect of housing on the health and healthcare utilization of people
who are homeless and who have mental illness. So that actually has implications for the
healthcare system obviously because if we can spend our money on providing housing for
people and avoid having them end up hospitalized in psychiatric facilities, that’s a net
benefit to the system. We can’t just think of it as what can doctors do, what can nurses
do, what medication can we give to these individuals? But we have to understand what are the root
causes of their illness. And often those root causes lie in the social condition, such as
the housing and the neighbourhoods, that they live in.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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