Concept: Pathways To Health and Social (PATHS) Equity

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Concept Description

Last Updated: 2012-04-16

Introduction
    This concept provides information on the Pathways To Health and Social (PATHS) Equity project. Information will be added to the concept as it becomes available.
Project Summary
1. Goals and Objectives
    Our proposed research program, PATHS Equity for Children (Pathways To Health and Social Equity), is focused on creating a population-based capacity for understanding what works to reduce inequity in outcomes for children.

    The goal of this program of research is to understand and evaluate the impact of multiple interventions on the health and well-being of children, taking into consideration the impact of these interventions on inequities in socioeconomic status, geography and gender at different points during childhood.

    The specific objectives of the program of research are:

    1. To evaluate which health and social interventions are associated with an improvement in overall health and well-being of children, and a reduction in inequities or gaps (i.e., population health interventions);
    2. To enhance population-based methodologies on equity measurement using administrative databases;
    3. To explore the potential benefits of integration of child health programs and policy and the impact on inequity; and
    4. To examine qualitatively, for selected outcomes, potential regional and cross-agency organizational barriers or facilitators in reducing inequity for children (i.e., implementation systems for population heath interventions).
2. Network Structure
    To achieve these objectives, we will work as a collaborative inter-disciplinary Team of research scientists and graduate students, regional and provincial policy-makers and planners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and clinicians, using an integrated KT (knowledge translation) approach (defined as users involved in formulating questions, critiquing analyses, disseminating and applying the knowledge generated). The end result will be evidence-informed decision-making to reduce child inequity through health and social policy and practice, program delivery and organizational structure. Given the information-rich databases in the data repository housed at MCHP, we have a comprehensive, population-based, cost-effective resource to study longitudinal health and social trajectories of all children in Manitoba.
3. Project Activities
    As part of this program of research, we are proposing a series of inter-related projects which assess the impact of various interventions aimed at improving health and social outcomes for children. All projects will ask:

    1. was there a positive change in outcome(s)?
    2. was there a change in inequities? and
    3. did the intervention reach the intended targets?

    Most PATHS Equity for Children projects are quantitative, using a variety of statistical analyses to evaluate the effect of health and social interventions on outcomes and on outcome gradients. One component of our program, after the project evaluations are completed, involves a qualitative study on selected programs or policies which either decrease or increase inequities. Other components involve methodology development on cohort studies, and composite index development.
4. Project Outcomes
    Beyond examining changes in health and social outcomes and the impact on inequities associated with each specific project, we will examine the synergies produced if looked upon holistically. The PATHS Equity for Children program of research not only paints the landscape of interventions during the life trajectory of children, but also delves beneath the surface to understand the complexities of child health and well-being - what works, what doesn't, and what combination(s) of interventions work to improve outcomes across childhood. This will be a path for us to understand what we as a province and nation can do to simultaneously improve outcomes for all children while closing the gaps, through implementation of evidence-based equitable and successful policies and delivery systems.
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