What could go wrong? How to critically analyze the unintended effects of public health interventions on health inequities
More details
Hide details
Cégep du Vieux Montréal, Canada
McConnell-Université de Montréal, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A858
Public health Aims to improve the health of populations and reduce health inequities, notably through action on social determinants of health, including physical and social environments, public policies, access to health services, and community empowerment. Despite these intentions, growing research demonstrates that public health interventions can unintentionally contribute to increasing social inequalities in health by perpetuating social norms that can stigmatize vulnerable groups, neglecting the needs of vulnerable groups, or replicating power dynamics that disenfranchise vulnerable populations. In order to reverse these effects, researchers and professionals need to become aware of and reflect on the potential impacts of their actions on vulnerable populations. Bacchis "What is the problem represented to be?" (WPR) approach proposes a framework for analyzing policies and interventions that relies on a critical understanding of problem representation, that is, the ways in which a health problem is conceptualized by decision-makers. This useful framework has been used by many researchers to bring light to the unintentional effects of public health actions. It is through WPR’s 6 analytical questions that researchers and professionals come to critically reflect on their actions. The 6 questions are: 1) What is the problem represented to be?; 2) What assumptions underlie the problem representation?; 3) How has this problem representation come about?; 4) What is left unproblematic in the problem representation?; 5) What effects are produced by the problem representation?; 6) How could the problem representation be questioned, disrupted, and replaced?   Specific Aims/Objectives: Based on three public health intervention cases drawn from innovative research Findings and critical reflections, this workshop Aims to critically co-analyze these cases using Bacchi’s WPR approach in order to: 1. identify the problem representation of each intervention 2. explore how the identified problem representations could produce unintended effects  3. think of alternative equity-informed interventions for the three cases    Component parts: 1. A brief Introduction to present the workshop topic and learning Objectives (5 min) 2. Break-out groups to discuss each of the three cases (30 min) 3. A plenary Discussion to report the break-out groups’ Discussions (10 min) 4. Comments of the three panelists on each case and collective lessons drawn (15 minutes)   The cases that will be discussed are: 1. A population-level smoke-free policy adopted in Québec in 2015 where smoke-free public places were added to the already existing policy. 2. A mandatory cultural safety training for all healthcare employees implemented by the Québec government in 2020 following an Indigenous woman’s death. 3. Alternative food security interventions to traditional food security interventions, such as food banks.   Key questions that the workshop will address: 1.How do the ways in which public health problems are represented influence public health interventions and their unintended effects on health inequities? 2. How might public health researchers and practitioners reflect critically about the unintended consequences of public health interventions in order to develop health equity-informed interventions?  
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top