After receiving sign off from our Community Advisory Committee, the Project Steering Committee for A.C.T.I.O.N. presented the emerging themes from year one of the project to the National Project Partner’s Committee.
This initial phase involved engagement of patients and community members to gain feedback on their overall healthcare experience and experiences specifically related to living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT). Given that A.C.T.I.O.N. is a community driven project, sign off from the Community Advisory Committee was essential before presenting these initial findings. The National Project Partners – which include individuals from Indus Community Services, Punjabi Community Health Services, Sickle Cell Association of Ontario, Kidney Foundation of Canada (ON & BC
Branches) and Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society – were presented initial findings from the B.C. and Ontario branches of the project, and informed on how COVID-19 has affected the project deliverables for year one.
The Project Partners, who were selected for their work in improving equitable access to healthcare in the Canadian context, found these initial themes to be in line with their understanding of health equity issues
in Canada. While conversations around systemic bias and impacts of racism are common in community, they are not always discussed in academia or in clinical settings; in presenting findings so far, the Steering Committee highlighted that looking at these issues in a qualitative way with community is a crucial step in normalizing these conversations in settings that determine equitable healthcare.
There were concerns raised around the work plan for the co-development of the cultural competency training program, namely that such training programs rarely reach those who need it most, and worry that these programs play into the hands of “polite racism.” The Steering Committee emphasized the importance of integrating cultural competency practice with clinical pathways to “make the right thing to do, the easiest thing to do.”
Finally, the Steering Committee asserted that the goal of A.C.T.I.O.N. is to make a lasting impact on the pathway to LDKT. While there is existing literature around disparities in the LDKT pathway, there has been no action taken to address these disparities. A.C.T.I.O.N. aims to create a sustainable initiative to create real change, leading to a broader and long lasting initiative that bleeds into other areas of healthcare.