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Department of Family and Community Medicine and St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team

Racism and health

The Racism and Health committee
The Racism and Health committee

Exploring and addressing how racism affects health is a new area of specific focus for the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team. This focus on racism directly aligns with the strategic priorities of St. Michael’s Hospital and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It also complements the ground-breaking work on addressing racism through Indigenous cultural safety training.

Since the Racism and Health committee was formed in 2017, foundational work on how the department can develop and implement anti-racial discriminatory practices and approaches at the learning and clinical levels has been funded. The Racism and Health committee aims to position the team as a primary care leader that embeds a lens of anti-racism and anti-racial discrimination in how it provides access to care, health outcomes and its learning and clinical environment. This work on addressing racism is led by a powerful group made up primarily of racialized women.

One of the main objectives of this new focus is to identify strategies to address racism in the learning and clinical environment. In 2019, the team conducted a scoping review that identified and synthesizes existing antiracism interventions in health care settings. It is also supporting the capacity development of leadership, staff and learners in adopting an anti-racism lens to understand and transform views, practices and interactions with patients and staff. Another key objective is to assist with embedding racism as a determinant of health in the department’s understanding of patient experience and in the development of primary care interventions.