Our Response to COVID-19
About Engaging for Health Equity: A Community-Campus Response to COVID-19 in Saskatchewan
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the crisis continues to amplify existing inequities.
Those who are already vulnerable or marginalized will suffer more during the COVID-19 pandemic response. For this reason considerations of equity must be consistently placed at the core of decisions, policy and community action.
To support equity-informed responses, the Division of Social Accountability at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine has built this centralized hub of resources related to health equity and COVID-19. This online resource aims to share knowledge to inform, educate and engage about important the considerations for equity during and post-pandemic.
Why is this important?
COVID-19 is a window through which we can clearly see the role of socioeconomic and political inequities in shaping the health of individuals and communities in Saskatchewan. Gaps in health are large and increasing. COVID-19 is shining a light on the obstacles to health such as poverty, racism, and discrimination. It is hard to be healthy without access to good food and safe and appropriate housing. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we must critically examine the equity choices available to us and pay attention to the implications of our decisions and actions – or inaction – for different groups and populations.
“While social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantining are essential to flattening the curve, we must recognize that these measures create unintended and disproportionate consequences for people living in vulnerable circumstances. As the current situation evolves, the number of people put in vulnerable circumstances will grow. The rights and needs of these people cannot be forgotten or ignored.”
– Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Right Commission
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be gathering critical health equity resources including:
Key issues essential to health equity during COVID-19 (food security, housing, health literacy)
Insights and perspectives from local thought leaders
Creative community responses and stories from our partners and networks
Tools for community leaders, front-line staff, and community practitioners
Opportunities to engage and support community action
Explore our growing collection of resources for analysis, tools, strategies and perspectives on health equity and COVID-19.
Have a resource, idea or content that you’d like to share?
Who is the Division of Social Accountability (DSA)?
The Division of Social Accountability (DSA) in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan was established in 2011 and operationalizes the social accountability priority of the College of Medicine. The DSA works with communities to advance relevant and impactful health professional education, research service and advocacy. Guided by the principles of equity, anti-oppression, and authentic engagement, and these Canadian and Global equity-centered principles (provide link to website), the DSA catalyzes new interdisciplinary and intersectoral partnerships, building bridges between community and campus to inspire transformative learning, research and action to advance social justice and health equity.
Find a summmary of the draft 2020-2022 Social Accountability Strategic Plan.
The Division of Social Accountability works to amplify the voice of vulnerable, marginalized and underserved communities, and work in solidarity with community to challenge systems of oppression and build common equity-oriented agendas. We do this through a “transformative” approach to community-campus engagement – an approach that seeks to rebalance power between campus and community. A transformative CCE challenges common assumptions about who the university is in relation to the community, what we ‘offer’ and what our role is in engagement, and the ongoing effects of our settler colonial history on relationships.
This project is an enormous community effort involving individuals representing campus and community. We gratefully acknowledge the volunteer effort, guidance and collaboration of many partners and individuals, including College of Medicine staff, faculty, and students, USask faculty and students across colleges and programs, the Community Engagement and Relations Office at Station 20 West, community practitioners and front-line service providers, systems and public health professionals. Special mention is of the leaders and community agencies involved in the Saskatoon Inter-Agency Response to COVID-19 who have provided important advice throughout this project and whose key insights and perspectives are shared throughout this resource.
Our special thanks to Arcana Creative for their masterful work in assisting us to and design and develop this online resource and their ongoing efforts to support the Saskatoon community in sharing critical communications during this time.
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We are seeking volunteers and collaborators