Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Health Information Science

Program

Health Information Science

Supervisor

Dr. Sandra Regan

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Anita Kothari

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

Background: Recent changes in Ontario public health policy call for increased emphasis on equity. However, it is not clear how equity is understood as a concept and how equity is understood as practice. Methods: The aim of this study was to understand public health frontline staff (FLS) perspectives on health equity and how these align with provincial public health policy documents. A qualitative content analysis design was used to examine transcripts from six focus group interviews with frontline public health workers and seven key provincial public health documents that have shaped or influenced public health program planning in Ontario. Perceptions and understandings of health equity in public health were compared. Results: Findings from the study indicate that several areas of alignment exist between how FLS describe equity in public health practice and how equity is addressed in the provincial policy documents; both focus their discussion of equity as relating to the social determinants of health and priority populations. Several differences between FLS perspectives and policy documents were also identified including barriers encountered in FLS daily practice that are not addressed in the provincial policy documents. Conclusions: These alignments and differences provide insights on how FLS incorporate information from provincial policy documents into their practice and suggest the importance of involving FLS in the policy process.


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Health Policy Commons

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