Racialised Groups and Health Status: A Literature Review Exploring Poverty, Housing, Race-Based Discrimination and Access to Health Care as Determinants of Health for Racialised Groups

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Link: http://atwork.settlement.org/downloads/atwork/Racialised_Groups_Health_Status_Literature_Review.pdf
Org: Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre
Date: 2005


This literature review is part of a one-year research to develop a long-term program of research to investigate the impact of income, housing, race-based discrimination and access to health care on the health status of racialised groups in Toronto; and to increase the capacity of community organisations, academics and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop proposals.

Racialised groups living in Toronto experience disproportionate levels of poverty, homelessness and inadequate housing, discrimination, and barriers to health care. Emerging research shows that the main determinants of health are neither medical nor behavioural but rather social and economic, suggesting that these structural inequalities have serious health implications. Despite this evidence, little research addresses the impact of social determinants on the health of racialised groups in Canada.

The research is organized into four categories to explore the interconnections between racialisation and a particular determinant of health:

  • Poverty, Racialisation and Health
  • Housing, Racialised Groups and Health Status
  • Race-based Discrimination and Mental Health
  • Access to Health Care for Racialised Groups

As part of the process of setting research priorities, different bodies of literature were reviewed to gain an understanding of the information that is already available and to identify knowledge gaps that need to be filled. This review was guided by the interests expressed by working group members as well as by community members and service providers who participated in focus groups and popular education activities, including a forum on Community-Based Research, which took place in late 2004.

Conclusion

According to the authors, this literature review provides ample evidence of the impact of income, housing, discrimination and access to health care as determinants of health. These determinants interact together and reinforce each other. The literature review has also demonstrated that poverty in Toronto is becoming increasingly defined along ethno-racial lines and that there are systemicbarriers that impact racialised people in particular ways.

Nevertheless, there is still very little research that addresses the specific impacts of social determinants on the health of racialised people. Likewise, we know little about the assets that allow racialised people to thrive in the face of adversity. Thus there is a need for Community-Based Research, through which racialised people, can be recognised as knowledge producers and contribute to developing understandings of health inequalities that are reflective of their experiences and to finding solutions to address poverty and improve health.

Format: This literature review is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (700 KB, 16 pages).