Flow Chart

PROJECT OUTLINE

Project Overview

Abstract

The goal of this project was to demonstrate the importance of collecting race-based COVID-19 data to ensure an equitable response to the current pandemic. Research shows that black communities are disproportionately affected by certain chronic conditions, such as HIV, diabetes, food insecurity, low-income, and unstable housing in Canada (Gardezi et. al 2008). The effects of COVID-19 have further exacerbated these already present health disparities, and we believed it was our responsibility to take measures that will help these vulnerable communities respond accordingly. Although the province started collecting race-based data, earlier measures should have been taken. In times of crisis, the inequitable experiences of marginalized populations needed to be identified and addressed early on, as these groups disproportionately bear a greater burden of suffering (Garg et. al, 2020).

Planned activities

Mid-June - End June

  • Leaders of certain health community centres were interviewed in order to identify relevant information and concerns of individuals within communities. For example, we spoke to the Black Creek community health centre in Toronto’s east end, who have begun to collect race-based data. We also spoke to the TAIBU health community centre.

Beginning of July - Mid July

  • We researched a number of social determinants of health such as income, housing (crowding, etc.), food security, and examined how these issues perpetuated the effects of COVID-19, especially for black individuals who are more affected by these issues. The goal of this phase was to identify the factors that make individuals more susceptible to COVID-19 and to convey how these issues have been affecting black communities prior to the pandemic.

Mid-July - End of July

  • We compared low-income neighborhoods in Canada (e.g. in Toronto) to those in America (e.g. in New York), and identified similarities in experiences between these communities. 

Beginning of August - Mid August

  • We examined the link between low-income jobs and increased risk of contracting COVID-19. For example, research shows that a significant number of people with low-income jobs are essential workers as well as people of color (Kantamneni, 2020).

 

* This phase will be carried out throughout the course of the project (Mid June - End of August). One individual will be featured on our podcast approximately every 2-4 weeks)

  • We had a podcast that included our research team as well as other individuals (in total 3-4 individuals). For example, we invited university professors and community leaders to provide insight on how Canada can implement policies to address the unique situations of black communities during the pandemic and the importance of this. This provided diverse perspectives in the podcast. We discussed the topics mentioned above, as well as other relevant information in regard to COVID-19.

Project Impact

These project activities further allow public health officials to identify the unique situations and interesting identities of certain populations, which puts them at greater risk of the virus. In addition, this project indicates that the current “one size fits all approach” to the COVID-19 response is not effective because not all populations have access to the same resources and live in the same conditions. Also, these project activities allow the strategies taken to combat the pandemic to more accurately reflect the lived experiences of certain populations.  

 

Global Engagement

  • In the third podcast, we compared health statistics regarding low-income neighborhoods in Canada (in specific Toronto) to ones in America (in specific New York)

    • We identified similarities in experiences across the US-Canadian border

  • Our podcasts (podcast 2 & 3) also incorporated relevant comparisons between the US and Canada in relation to the government response to COVID-19. We discussed the similarities and differences in the approaches taken by both governments and how these actions impact the black populations of the countries respectively.

  • These global engagement components are necessary because it is important to promote communication of knowledge and ideas between countries in order to help us discover ways to overcome issues that may arise in the future. What is happening in one country can soon translate and occur in a different country; therefore, tackling issues ahead of time can allow for appropriate measures to be put into place. If we can together, as a global community, come together and fight COVID-19, with a particular focus on supporting those who are most vulnerable, we can cultivate a more equitable state of life for all.

 

Final Deliverable

  • Findings are conveyed through a research poster which is presented to the UTSC Health Studies and International Development Studies Departments 

  • Findings are incorporated into an infographic flyer with links to data found in our research poster, and relevant facts regarding COVID-19, which will be shared with community health centres such as TAIBU and Black Creek Health Community Centre. Also, we will share findings with the Black Health Alliance in order to effectively disseminate our findings and raise awareness among local communities about the issues faced. We hope this will further enable individuals from the communities to advocate for appropriate resources. Allowing our findings to be accessible to these community health centres will make it easily accessible to many people, even after the pandemic. We hope that our research empowers others to advocate for the issues that deeply affect our society, especially those that are neglected. The flyer will also have a link to our podcast and website.

  • Our podcasts include the topics mentioned in part 5 of our planned activities

  • We also formulated a website that incorporates all the research we have conducted. The website includes a blog-style section where we will include relevant topics that were discussed in our podcast. There is an open discussion tab (Q & A section) on our website where individuals can post and communicate their ideas and concerns with each other. 

  • YouTube

©2020 UofT Student Engagement Award