225729 Community Health Workers Addressing Health Inequities Within Canada's Publically Funded Health Care System: The Role of Multicultural Health Brokers

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sara Torres, PhD Student , Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Ruth Wolfe, Adjunct Associate Professor/Evaluation Consultant , Centre for Health Promotion Studies, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Yvonne Chiu, Executive Director , Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Lucenia Ortiz, PhD, Co-Executive Director , Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The research utilizes a case study design to gather entry-level data (micro) and level two data (macro) using participant and direct observation, personal interviews, document review, and analysis of archival records and artefacts. The multicultural health brokers are bilingual and bicultural workers who come from the communities they serve. They have cultural knowledge about their communities, and are familiar with Canada's formal health and social service systems and culture. This dual knowledge enables them to bridge cultural differences and advocate for health equity for immigrants and refugees. In Edmonton, these health brokers work in multiple areas of health and social development, providing services in their first language to approximately 1500 immigrant and refugee families from at least 18 different cultural backgrounds. Currently, these health brokers are supported through service contracts with the provincial health and social services ministries. The multicultural health brokering practice has both individual components – providing personal care, organizing supportive groups – and community components – mobilizing leaders of cultural groups, advocating for policy changes that address health inequities. The interplay of Canada's health and social policies is key to determining health brokers' success, either facilitating or hindering access to resources for marginalized populations and consequent progress toward social justice. Multicultural health brokers contribute to effectively addressing health equity issues at the service delivery level. As lay/CHWs, they are a significant provider of care for marginalized populations in the health care and social service sector. This role should be recognised in developing equitable health and social policies.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe how multicultural health brokers are achieving health equity for immigrant women within Canada’s health care system. Discuss how their practice could be integrated within Canada’s health and social policies.

Keywords: Access and Services, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am doing my PhD research understanding the role that multicultural health brokers practice play in facilitating access to health services by immigrants to Canada, which is the focus of this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.