Health Care and Mental Health

Introducing social analysis to dismantle barriers to quality health care for racialized and minority groups

Health Care and Mental Health

The Challenges

The work of organizations and institutions in the health care and mental health sectors is rooted in using science-based medical intervention to treat illnesses of the body and mind. These services are developed and offered on an assumption that all people share largely similar physiology, and thus, health care is a neutral space. This is far from the case. Many of these organizations and institutions in this sector function without context, dismissing the idea that social analysis is necessary in science-based medical models. However, research has proven that social determinants of health like gender, culture, ethnicity, economic status and other socio-economic factors have a direct impact on the way that different groups experience health care.

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For example, studies have shown that Black, Latino (US) and Indigenous (US and Canada) patients admitted to hospitals are less likely to receive effective services like cancer screenings, and more likely to be given unnecessary and potentially harmful tests and interventions.[1] These same patient were also more likely to be uninsured.[2] Research also suggest that health care professionals often underestimate the pain levels of racialized patients even when they provide the same descriptions as their white counterparts.[3] Similar issues arise when you examine mental health. Children of colour are less likely to receive diagnoses of ADHD despite showing symptoms at the same rate as their white counterparts, but they were more likely to be placed in special education.[4] Meanwhile, some doctors are prescribing ADHD medications to low-income children, purely as a means of improving poor academic performance, despite uncertainty about the long-term effects of these drugs.[5]

[1] https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/abs/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1416

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5370590/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843483/

[4] https://www.additudemag.com/race-and-adhd-how-people-of-color-get-left-behind/

[5] https://www.businessinsider.com/doctor-prescribing-stimulants-to-poor-kids-indiscriminately-2012-10

Health Care and Mental Health

Our Solutions

As with any of our strategies for more equitable outcomes, the Kojo Institute approach to the health care and mental health sectors begins with the use of disaggregated identity data. We help organizations and institutions to analyze this data to determine who they are serving, who are being underserved, and what factors are contributing to those outcomes. We supplement these findings with the feedback of service recipients and racialized staff and students on where the systems are falling short.

Additionally, we provide decision-makers with important social context by educating them on the way that factors like oppression, violence, and low income can both cause physical and mental health problems and create barriers to care for racialized and minority groups. This information is used to develop strategies to make health care policies and practices reflective of the communities they serve, culturally safe for racialized groups, and accessible regardless of income or social status.

8 Levers To Organizational, Institutional and Systems Change

  • Engaging the Board of Directors
  • Impacting Staffing Strategies
  • Examining the Accountability Framework
  • Maximizing the Use of Data
  • Implementing Fresh Training and Learning
  • Amplifying Communications Strategies
  • Widening Community and Stakeholder Relations
  • Revisting Service or Business Models

What We Do Well

  • Equity & Human Rights
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression
  • Unconscious Bias
  • Employment Equity
  • Human Resources Diversity
  • Organizational Culture Change

How We Prepare You

  • Training
  • Executive Coaching
  • Community Consultations
  • Content & Research Development
  • Keynotes & Guest Lectures
  • Conferences
  • Multi-Session Programs

Building Transformation Skills

KOJO Institute leads executives, managers and organizations through an innovative approach that reconstructs their paradigms and systems connected to equity, diversity and inclusion. We amplify the vision for change through deep-dive explorations that identify the scope, segment competencies and quantify resources required to birth social innovation.

With a clear focus on client expectations, we aim to produce actionable frameworks and solutions that ultimately better the lives your people and organization. Contact us.

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