Dr. Danielle Martin tells the story of her grandfather, Jacques Elie Shilton, a hard-working Egyptian immigrant who, months after arriving in Montreal with 10 family members, suffered a devastating heart attack.
The Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) by Health Canada is a crucial concept for premed students to understand as it highlights the various personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence individual and population health. These factors include income, education, employment, childhood experiences, physical environments, social supports, coping skills, access to health services, biology, genetics, gender, culture, and race.
Understanding the SDOH is essential for premed students because it emphasizes the importance of considering a patient's social and economic context when providing medical care. By being familiar with the SDOH, future physicians can recognize and address health inequalities and work towards creating a more equitable healthcare system.
Health inequalities refer to differences in health status between individuals and groups, which can be due to genetics, lifestyle choices, or social determinants. Health inequity, on the other hand, refers to health inequalities that are unfair, unjust, and modifiable. Health equity seeks to reduce these inequalities and increase access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for all.
Premed students can prepare as future physicians by integrating the knowledge of SDOH into their practice, advocating for policies that address these determinants, and working collaboratively with other sectors to improve health equity. By acknowledging and addressing the SDOH, premed students can develop a more holistic, patient-centered approach to medicine, ultimately improving patient outcomes and reducing health disparities within the population.
Recent developments in the search for the children of residential schools have shown that there is much work to be done in terms of truth and reconciliation. Medical schools are similarly placing a higher emphasis on justice for indigenous communities. It's crucial that all applicants understand the Calls to Action, the disparities that indigenous communities face, and how to improve the healthcare system for indigenous peoples.
The Indigenous Health Calls to Action is a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations for redressing the historical injustices faced by Indigenous communities in Canada. This initiative aims to improve the healthcare system for Indigenous peoples and address the disparities they face. As future physicians, pre-med students must understand the Calls to Action to better serve Indigenous communities.
The Calls to Action cover various aspects, including child welfare, education, language and culture, health, and justice. It seeks to address the historical context of residential schools and their legacy on Indigenous peoples. Some health-related recommendations include acknowledging the current state of Indigenous health, establishing measurable goals for closing gaps in health outcomes, and providing sustainable funding for healing centers.
For pre-med students, understanding the Calls to Action can help them prepare for a more inclusive and culturally-sensitive healthcare practice. Medical and nursing schools are encouraged to require courses that deal with Indigenous health issues, history, and the legacy of residential schools. Such training should include intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
By being aware of these Calls to Action, pre-med students can contribute to a more equitable healthcare system, addressing the unique needs of Indigenous communities. This knowledge will allow future physicians to provide better care to Indigenous patients, understand the historical context of their health disparities, and work collaboratively with Indigenous healers and Elders when appropriate. Overall, understanding the Indigenous Health Calls to Action is crucial for pre-med students to become well-rounded and compassionate physicians capable of serving diverse populations.