Health Equity Certificate Program

Health Equity Certificate Program

Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is excited to launch a Health Equity Certificate Program. This program aligns with SHN’s strategic direction to improve population health, health equity and system integration and aligns to the provincial direction of improving patient experience and improved health. We are looking to build capacity and work together with our community to achieve this goal.

The Health Equity Certificate Program is designed to empower those involved in delivering health care to promote health and develop strategies to reduce health disparities. Upon completion of this certificate program, participants will have a strong understanding of the impact of social determinants of health and how to address them.

This group learning program is a self – approved activity (section1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeon of Canada and has also been certified by College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario chapter for up to 3  Mainpro+ credits (for the sessions in 2019).

How the program works

This is a two-year program, consisting of:

  • In-class sessions led by subject matter experts
  • A self-directed and mentor-supported project focused on applying theories and strategies learned in real time by working on an issue relevant to your affiliated organization/practice that would address inequities in Scarborough

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Develop an understanding of social determinants of health and how they affect patients and impact health outcomes
  • Understand health equity principles and apply them to everyday practice to reduce barriers and improve access
  • Develop a basic understanding of the principles of advocacy and how to apply them to create system level change

Who should apply?
This certificate program is open to teams and individuals interested in enhancing their ability to reduce disparities and promote health in our community.

This program accepts applicants across all disciplines and sectors delivering care to the Scarborough community.

Program sessions
Each year, three sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and two sessions on Friday from 12:30 to 5 p.m. All sessions will be at SHN’s General hospital (3050 Lawrence Avenue East, Scarborough).

Sessions will be led by multiple subject matter experts, including health-care providers, community advocates, and local champions.

Learn more about health equity

Health equity is created when individuals have the opportunity to achieve their full health potential; equity is undermined when preventable and avoidable systematic conditions constrain life choices. These conditions are known as the social determinants of health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines social determinants of health as the circumstances in which people are born, develop, live, and age. This includes:

  • Income and Income Distribution
  • Education
  • Early Life
  • Housing
  • Employment and Working Conditions
  • Unemployment and Working Conditions
  • Food Security
  • Geography
  • Social Exclusion
  • Health Care Services
  • Gender
  • Race

Scarborough is a large suburb of Toronto and home to over 600,000 people. It is one of the most diverse and at risk communities in the country with 25% of children living in low income families, 17 percent of households being headed by a lone female parent, over 11% of the population being unemployed, 13% having no high school education, 70% of the population being visible minorities, 50% speaking a language other than English as their first language and 20% being new immigrants.

We know that the social conditions have a greater impact on health than genetics or access to health services. The health inequities affecting Scarborough’s population are seen in health demographic data. Some of the health care gaps revealed by the data are lower cancer screening rates, well baby checks and hospital utilization and higher rates of teen pregnancies, hospitalizations for coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Contact information

Dr. Mruna Shah, B.Sc (Phm), MD, FCFP
Director, Global Health, Diversity and Health Equity

Department of Family Medicine, Scarborough Health Network

Kristy Macdonell

Manager, Patient and Community Engagement

Scarborough Health Network