The Health Equity Summit hosted by CASSA is a highly anticipated annual event aimed at addressing health-related disparities, particularly those impacting South Asian and other racialized communities. Through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between key stakeholders, the Summit serves as a platform to identify and address the root causes of these disparities and advocate for change.
CASSA covers a diverse range of topics during the Summit, including chronic diseases, mental health, sexual health, maternal & child health, healthcare for migrants, the social determinants of health (SDoH), policy-making, advocacy, and emergency preparedness & response. The Summit brings together experts, community leaders, and advocates to share their knowledge and experiences, and to collaborate on strategies that will improve health outcomes for our communities.
The objective of the Health Equity Summit is to provide a space for South Asian and other racialized communities to discuss and explore ways in which we can work together to influence systemic changes that will lead to improved health outcomes. By identifying and addressing the social, economic, and cultural determinants of health, the Summit seeks to empower individuals and communities to take action and make a meaningful impact on their health and wellbeing.
Just as CASSA did for over a decade, our commitment to health equity is demonstrated through its mission to promote and contribute to an analysis that is based on the SDoH. This includes bringing together community stakeholders to collectively create and support strategies that:
- Promote mental health awareness amongst South Asians
- Promote increased access to linguistically culturally appropriate health services
- Share information about existing research, promising practices, and outstanding leadership in the field of health equity as it relates to South Asians
- Advocate for public policies that improve health outcomes for South Asians
- Champion health care services and practices that enable South Asians to enhance their health, wellbeing, and independence.
11th Annual Health Equity Summit
Shifting and Sharing Power: Community Engagement for Reducing Health Inequities
We emphasized that community engagement is an important step towards understanding the unique circumstances facing populations living with health inequities. This was especially true when considering these communities’ opportunities and barriers to achieving health. Having authentic and ongoing relationships with communities that experience marginalization – beyond one-time engagement events or client satisfaction – requires eliminating processes and practices that make decisions for those communities without their direct and meaningful involvement.
The summit was held virtually through Zoom on Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
Dr. Farah N Mawani
Assistant Professor (University of Victoria) & Affiliate Scientist (Unity Health Toronto)
Dr. Farah Mawani is an Assistant Professor, University of Victoria; and Affiliate Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital. She is a community-engaged scholar who focuses on systemic racism and discrimination as drivers of global, national, and local social and mental health inequities. She specializes in social epidemiology, implementation science, and global, national, and local social and health equity solutions. Her global research is shaped by insight from her lived experience of migrating to Canada from Kenya, combined with years of experience leading community-based participatory research while embedded in applied research, policy, community, and clinical environments.
President & CEO, Healthcare Excellence Canada
Dr. Jennifer Zelmer is the inaugural President and CEO of Healthcare Excellence Canada, the new organization formed in 2020 through the amalgamation of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) and Canadian Patient Safety Institute to achieve safer, higher quality and more coordinated patient-partnered healthcare. Jennifer’s long-standing commitment to improving healthcare quality and safety, as well as expertise in spreading and scaling innovations that deliver better outcomes, will help to create this new organization with an expanded capacity to improve healthcare for everyone in Canada. Jennifer previously joined CFHI as its President and CEO in September 2018. She has been a C.D. Howe Research Fellow for several years and is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Victoria, as well as a member of several health-related advisory committees and boards.
Senior Fellow, Wellesley Institute
Camille Orridge is a Quadrangle Member of Massey College and a Senior Fellow of the Wellesley Institute. She has a career in healthcare that spans over 50 years. In her roles as CEO of the Toronto Community Care Access Centre and the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, Camille has worked within all levels of the healthcare system to improve the access, experiences, and outcomes of Toronto’s diverse populations In 2012, Camille was among the top 25 Women of Influence in Health and previously in 2011, she was awarded the Health Equity Council Woman of Distinction Award. In 2014 she received the Excellence in Medicine Award from the African Canadian Achievement Awards. Camille Orridge holds a Master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Toronto.
Executive Director, Rexdale Community Health Centre
In the last 25 years, Safia Ahmed held various leadership positions in the public and in the not-for-profit sectors. Since 2008, Safia has been the Executive Director of Rexdale Community Health Centre. Prior to that, she was the Director of Primary Health Care at Parkdale Community Health Centre; District Officer with Ombudsman Ontario; and Manager of Finance at Nellie’s Shelter for Women and Children. Safia also worked with The United Nations Development Programme as a Programme Officer. Safia is the current Chair of the Rexdale Community Hub Board and was the Chair of the Nellies Shelter Board of Directors.
President, Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice
Amy is a social worker by training and has dedicated her professional career to serving immigrants and seniors, promoting, and advocating for culturally and linguistically appropriate care and health equity for racialized communities. For over three decades, Amy has advocated for social justice and rights of women and racialized communities through her leadership role in national, provincial, and local service and advocacy organizations. Amy is currently providing consulting services to facilitate organizational strategic development, program planning, development, and review as well as anti-racism/anti-oppression organizational change.
Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin (“I Am a Kind Man”) Coordinator, Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre
Anthony Gladue is Plains Cree from Kehewin Cree Nation. He is a graduate from the Centre for Indigenous theatre and has been performing since the age of 6; Anthony is a Traditional dancer, native Flute player, powwow singer and traditional knowledge keeper. He is currently working in the Health & Wellbeing sector at Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre as the Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin (KAN) Coordinator. KAN is an initiative to engage Aboriginal men and youth in understanding violence against Aboriginal women.
Dr. Andrew Pinto
Director (Upstream Lab), Clinician-Scientist (St. Michael’s Hospital), and Associate Director for Clinical Research (University of Toronto)
Dr. Andrew Pinto is the founder and director of the Upstream Lab, a research team focused on tackling social determinants, population health management and using data to enable proactive care. He holds the CIHR Applied Public Health Chair in Upstream Prevention. He is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist and family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto, and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. He is the Associate Director for Clinical Research at the University of Toronto Practice-Based Research Network (UTOPIAN) and the lead for artificial intelligence in a new initiative at the Department of Family and Community Medicine on how new technologies will change healthcare.
Dorothy Mary Senior
Advisory Member/ Patient Partner, Upstream Lab
Dorothy Mary Senior is an experienced patient partner who has contributed to many health research studies in her home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. With an almost 40-year career in the healthcare system and drawing from her personal experiences as a patient, Dorothy’s voice has been instrumental in guiding a variety of projects, ranging from a clinical trial to lower emergency wait times to a project developing healthy food policy. Most recently, Dorothy received the 2021 Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors of Distinction Award. At the Upstream Lab, Dorothy contributes to the SPARK project.
Program Coordinator, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
As a community, public health, and health equity advocate, Fatah works with community, public and private sector organizations, and non-profits to engage in systems change work. Fatah is a member of Equity-Mobilizing Partnership in Community (EMPaCT), an advisory group that provides health equity assessments on project decisions to health system stakeholders in order to improve health equity. In the past, Fatah worked in the office of councillor and chair of board of health on issues such as addressing vaccine hesitancy and public health funding cuts. Currently, Fatah is the diversity youth fellowship coordinator at the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.