Racial Discrimination as a Health Risk for Female Youth: Implications for Policy and Healthcare Deli
Healthcare is a fundamental right that should be guaranteed to all members of Canadian society. Unfortunately, there are existing obstacles which deny many communities of colour equal access to quality healthcare. Our report titled “Racial Discrimination as a Health Risk for Female Youth: Implications for Policy and Healthcare Delivery in Canada” is the summary of a one year participatory research process. The research presented in this report was aimed at exploring racial discrimination as a health risk for female youth. The research also aims to generate recommendations for policies and strategies to develop anti-racist modes of practice for this population within Canada’s healthcare system.
Research can play an important role in outlining the risks associated with racial discrimination in a particular society. With this goal in mind, we integrated feminist, anti-racist, and participatory approaches in the research design and implementation of this project. Each of these three approaches contributed to the overall conceptualization of the project, and each brought a valuable perspective to the exploration of racism and health in the lives of young women of colour.
In order to stay true to these theoretical concepts our exploration of the impact of racism on the health of young women of colour involved not only exploring our own experiences as researchers of colour but included the perspectives of service providers who operated from an anti-racist framework. Most importantly the central focus of the research process was the engagement of young women of colour in every aspect of the research study. This ensured that the voices of this segment of the population were the guiding force in our final report.
Our research highlighted the existing obstacle of racism which results in the denial of young women of colour to equal access to quality healthcare, health education and health information. The resulting disparities in health access and modes of treatment are varied and complex but it is undeniable that racism plays a major role and must be considered a viable determinant of health in the lives of young women of colour.
Our report concludes with an outline of specific recommendations for policy and program development provided by the young women and service providers who participated in this study. We hope to offer the readers this expression of our experience over the past year as an opportunity to consciously re-examine racism as a determinant of health and contribute to the transformation of this reality.
It is our hope that this research will be of practical use to healthcare practitioners, especially those actively committed to the elimination of racism. The research will directly benefit young women of colour by developing concrete strategies and policies to provide healthcare delivery that meets their needs in a sensitive and culturally competent manner. The implementation of such service delivery is a significant step towards equality in that it will ensure improved quality of life for a vulnerable segment of Canada’s population. Engaging young women in a research process which aims to articulate their life experience is a form of empowerment that can greatly strengthen the ability of these young women to make healthy personal choices for their futures. In this way we hope our research will provide direction for change which must be implemented to ensure a positive foundation of health