Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Why I choose Health Equity Research?

Last day I applied to attend a workshop on cutting edge research on health inequalities: Concepts & methods at Bangalore.
One of the questions was- Please share a brief (up to 750 words) describing the reasons for your interest in health inequities research and what you expect to learn from the workshop. So with much interest the wrote down the following response. (Later realised the actual limit is 795 characters and had to completely cut down :P)
But it was a happy mistake since I found this a reflective exercise, of how I've evolved and the directions I'm currently taking and hence am sharing it here.

Please note the last date for submission of application to attend this is 15th of September and the workshop is on 25 – 29 November 2019. Do apply!

My response written:

"I’m a Primary Health Care Clinician and Researcher who believes in Health Equity and quality health care for all and I have the ability and the passion to learn anything that facilitates me to take steps towards this purpose.

From my Undergraduate training level, I’ve been appalled by the fact that the quality of and access to health care is very different for different communities and is not granted, though I believe health care needs to be a basic human right. I started following lectures online through coursera on global health and research methods. One of the main resources that helped me gain a better perspective on health inequities research is through the Webinars “Equilogues” conducted in 2017. That is when I was exposed to interesting qualitative research methods and its importance in health research. This encouraged me to do a qualitative research for my thesis in my fellowship. Since then, I’ve always leaned towards research that comprises of health systems, with mixed methods.

During my fellowship at SVYM, I learnt that one can be a practicing doctor but also be active in public health if the right attitude and lens is used. This is also the place where I appreciated the role of community engagement and participation.

I believe that quality and responsive primary health care can actually contribute to a large extent in dealing with the problem of health inequity. Currently a huge gap exists between what the health needs and expectations are of various communities and what the health care system is able to deliver. The gaps are not just at the service delivery level, but at understanding of different communities, capacity level, trust in the health care system, empathy, holistic care approach, multidisciplinary approach, person centredness care etc. This is complicated by various societal hierarchies, social stigma, and economic disadvantages.

With the above background, currently I have started working with the Women in Sex work and Transgender communities in Bangalore to understand their health needs and how best a Navigational support system can help in improving the access to primary care for these communities. This is a proposal which me and my colleagues submitted to Grand Challenges Canada Bold ideas Big impact in September 2018. This includes building an app, a community leadership and a network of primary care providers who are responsive to the needs of these communities. We are currently developing the study and yet to roll out the study.I have attended a few workshops at the Institute of Public Health and have been more and more interested in participatory research and methods.

I, being a member of AFPI (Academy of Family Physicians of India), with my other colleagues are also building a Primary health care movement with doctors with the attitude of Primary Health Care as a holistic concept to reach out to the public through videos, newsletters to bridge this communication gap between healthcare professionals and society in general.Over the next few years, I also intend to pursue a PhD in public health which would be related to health equity research.

I will benefit immensely from this workshop on cutting edge research on health inequalities: Concepts & methods for the above mentioned project and work.
Through the workshop I intend to
  • Strengthen my knowledge in various methods including frameworks in health inequities research.
  • Understand how to wear the lens of health inequities in every stage of research from framing question to drawing inferences.
  • Simultaneously try to understand at a deeper level through discussions, the various methods applicable to my current project and work.
  • Connect with a diverse group of people from the various universities working towards health equity and learn from them.
  • Get a bigger view of the landscape of Health inequities research in India and globally which would help me shape and get ideas for my PhD program.
 Hence I very much look forward to this workshop."

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