Concurrent Sessions

A7 Data on Social Determinants to Improve Health Equity – Unpacking the Puzzle

Theme 7. Clinical innovations to address equity

Presentation Details

  • Date: 10/17/2016
  • Concurrent Session A
  • Time: 2:30pm – 3:15pm
  • Room: Pier 7 & 8
  • Style: Workshop (session is structure for interaction and/or hands-on learning opportunities)
  • Focus: Balance between both (e.g. Presentation of a best-practice guideline that combines research evidence, policy issues and practical steps for implementation)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.), Clinical providers, Representatives of stakeholder/partner organizations

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the opportunities and challenges with using a self-administered health equity survey to collect information on the socio-demographic characteristics of patients, linked to the EMR
  2. Learn how data from a health equity survey can be applied to understand inequities, using the example of cancer screening
  3. Identify options and strategies for collecting data related to health equity in your FHT


It can be challenging to uncover and address health inequities at a practice-level with the current data available to us. This interactive workshop will provide practical guidance to teams interested in using data to identify potentially vulnerable populations and reduce inequities in care.

Over the last three years, more than 11,000 patients at SMHAFHT have completed a health equity survey that includes questions on gender, sexual orientation, housing, income, disability, ethnicity, and language. The survey was developed collaboratively by multiple stakeholders in the Toronto Central LHIN and is now mandated at hospitals and other health organizations across the LHIN. We will discuss some of the early challenges faced with implementing this survey. We will share results of our research assessing the quality of the health equity data we have collected. We will also share results from interviews and focus groups with patients, administrative staff, FHT leadership, and clinicians about their views of the survey and how to best use the data.

We will also discuss the application of this data to our patients who are under-screened for cancer. Participants will be asked to help interpret our results. By working with the data directly, participants will get a sense of the challenges and opportunities in using a health equity survey to develop and target   clinical interventions. We will share how we are using the health equity data to inform work related to cancer-screening at SMHAFHT. We will end with a discussion of the different types of data that could be collected to understand and address health equity, strategies to collect the data, and potential uses.


  • Tara Kiran, Family Physician, Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team
  • Sam Davie, QIDSS, Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team
  • Aisha Lofters, Family Physician, Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team

Authors & Contributors

  • Andree Schuler
  • Rosane Nisenbaum
  • Tatiana Dowbor
  • Kim Devotta
  • Andrew Pinto