Photo: Angela Robertson of the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre says she fears the lack of race-based data in Canada on COVID-19 means “the real health impact on Black community will be hidden.”
…hospitals and clinics don’t collect detailed demographic data including race as a matter of routine. Advocates have long railed against this lack of data, calling it harmful to Black women after research found they may be underscreened for breast and cervical cancer.
Andrew Pinto is a doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital. He is also the director of the hospital’s Upstream Lab — a research group that looks at interventions or remedies to the socio-economic factors that affect health.
The St. Michael’s Hospital Family Health Team, and other groups in Toronto including Toronto Public Health, was part of a pilot program to ask patients questions on income, race, gender, housing, religion, etc., and then use this data to identify health inequities, Pinto said. Researchers found doing such a survey was “feasible and acceptable.”
“Social factors are definitely associated with health outcomes,” he said. Many studies show income and race play a big role. “We lack the data that we need in Canada to really be able to pinpoint inequity by race. That’s what our work is trying to move toward.”