I am primarily interested in social justice and equity with a specific prejudice towards health care. My intent is anchored on the increased need to attain universal health care for all by reducing the disparities occasioned by gender, age, sexuality, disease states, and environment. My research intends to establish the cause-effect relationship between these factors and their contribution to these disparities. In this statement, I briefly outline my research background, competencies and future specific research interests.
Having completed my degree in laws, I am well versed with research not limited to literature review, data collection, presentation, analysis and deduction of inference. I am a team player able to research with minimal supervision. Work as a legal advisor enabled me to unearth the absence of clear guidelines addressing equity and social justice in health care. For example, is it unjust to deny twelve-year-old girl contraception due to the denial of consent by the parents? More striking is the realization that society is unaware of the inequities!
There is abundant literature on social justice and equity with regards to societal matters like women empowerment, the plight of refugees and sexuality. This is partly attributable to the wide disparity in socioeconomic status determined by the factors above. On the other hand, social justice and equity in health care are seldom researched although health care is a fundamental requirement of the society. Moreover, health care contributes significantly to social inequity and injustice. I predict that inequity in health care is prevalent in Ontario. I also propose that there is little awareness of the society on the issue of social justice and equity in health care. Indeed, this perspective is vindicated by the finding that racial and ethnic minorities in Baltimore have a higher prevalence of hypertension attributable to inequities in social structures (Cooper et al. 369). Lastly, I propose that not only is inequity a setback of the poor and marginalized; but also affects the privileged. Further research into the topic will undoubtedly identify the disparities and come up with evidence to support the need for social justice and equity in matter health.
Justice is the trait of being, fair, unbiased, evenhanded and moral. The World Health organization defines equity as the lack of remediable disparities among groups of people; ability, environment, gender, race, ethnicity, age and sexuality notwithstanding. Non-remediable disparities occasioned by the individual's intrinsic state like a genetic predisposition to certain afflictions are not included in equity.
For health care to be equitable, it must be available, accessible, acceptable, inexpensive and comprehensive. Inequities arise at each of these levels. For example, care may be unevenly available to people who need it. Moreover, there is preponderance for skilled labor to be concentrated in urban regions and private facilities where they attract better remuneration. The public sector, on the other hand, is in a deplorable state.
Understandably, there is an urgent need to establish the causal factors for the above trend. Acquisition of evidence from the review of the literature and the field will go a long way in mitigating the causal factors established and increase the volume of knowledge on the ill-researched topic.
Interestingly, Brock University Faculty of Social Sciences offers training in critical analysis of social factors like age, race and environment and their intricate processes and relationship to social wellness. This will aid the identification of causal factors. Moreover, the institution equips learners with knowledge relevant in policy formulation, social advocacy, and movement. Equipped with these skills, I will be able to establish a clear framework for advocacy against disparities in health care.
Participation in the Co-op option will give me an invaluable opportunity to apply the skills of data collection, analysis, and presentation. It offers a chance to put theory in practice. Moreover, it accords deep insight into the state of the society in terms of justice and equity and attendant identification of niches in knowledge. This leads to sharper, realistic and smart hypothesis and objectives.
Future Research Directions
Over the last decade, there has been a paradigm shift from the focus on the community to keen concentration on the individual. Primary care has been replaced by primary healthcare. Despite this shift, inequity is still predominant; and in some cases, there has been deterioration (Tham 166). Subsequently, there has arisen a need to formulate frameworks for evaluating the role of the inequities in this trend. Typically, demographic and health surveys, the primary source of data on social justice and equity in health, are conducted once every five years. The long periods between the surveys in the face of a dynamic society lead to late recognition of societal trends in justice and equity. Social advocacy strategies have barely been able to contain the trend.
To address these shortcomings, I intend to pursue the following research directions: establishment of clear frameworks for short term evaluation of social justice and equity in health care and strategies to promote community awareness on the need for equity and social justice. This will go a long way in balancing the remediable disparities amongst people in society.
Cooper, Lisa A., et al. "Reaching for health equity and social justice in Baltimore: the evolution of an academic-community partnership and conceptual framework to address hypertension disparities." Ethnicity & disease 26.3 (2016): 369.
Tham, Rachel, et al. "Evaluating the impact of sustainable comprehensive primary health care on rural health." Australian Journal of Rural Health 18.4 (2010): 166-172.
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