Using a health equity lens on any work in any field will help ensure that the needs of any vulnerable individuals, neighbourhoods and communities are being considered when planning a program, service, initiative or policy.
There are different ways to consider health equity in your planning. The simplest way is to ask the following three questions during your planning process:
- Could the planned program, service, initiative or policy have a negative impact on some populations or communities? If so, how can the negative/inequitable impacts be mitigated?
- How do we consider the needs of vulnerable individuals and communities?
- How will the planned program, service, initiative or policy address the social determinants of health? (Source: OPHA, 2014).
Another way to apply a health equity lens is to do a health equity impact assessment (HEIA) on your program, service, initiative or policy. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed a HEIA tool that can be used during your planning to ensure that all vulnerable groups are being considered.
The health unit has been using the tool to help make decisions when planning their services and programs.
MOHLTC HEIA workbook