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Social inequities have inadvertently paved the road for thousands of avoidable death across Canada's health system, according to an editorial published in the
Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Co-authored by Dr. Andrew Boozary, Executive Director, Health and Social Policy, UHN, and Dr. Andreas Laupacis, Editor-in-Chief, CMAJ, the editorial argues that while Canadians have universal access to publicly-funded hospital care, access to much of healthcare still depends on a person's income. For example, the likelihood of dying from a preventable cause increased more than twofold between 1993 and 2014 when comparing Ontario's poorest and most affluent neighbourhoods.
In the editorial, which was published on Feb. 3 and is titled "The mirage of universality: Canada's failure to act on social policy and healthcare," Drs. Boozary and Laupacis acknowledge that the problem is multifaceted and requires multifaceted solutions. One is investment in, and evaluation of, new social equity programs including guaranteed annual income.
Dr. Boozary leads UHN's Social Medicine Program, which aims to improve health outcomes and defend human dignity by integrating a person's social context into their care. Last year, the program coordinated a Memorandum of Understanding between UHN, the City of Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto to improve the well-being of disadvantaged patients and communities in Toronto by better addressing social needs.