Volume 8 | No. 4 | Jul / Aug 2020 query_builder 1 minute

Race and health equity reading list

College library


Health equity is a pressing issue for Canada, but it is often difficult to find resources for understanding this complex topic and applying it in Canadian medical practice. To help registrants who are on their journey to understanding health equity, especially as it relates to race, the College library has selected resources for a race and health equity reading list

The resources address topics ranging from philosophical underpinnings to direct clinical application and from personal to systemic issues. The list provides information to foster personal growth, direct meaningful change in practice, and have respectful interactions with patients of various races and ethnicities. 

Selecting current, relevant, and respectful reading material exposed personal and systemic challenges for the librarians. Foremost, the curator of the list is a white American living in Canada and has personal privilege and perspectives due to that. Similarly, the College library had not prioritized collecting material on the role of racism in health care until recent years when the depth of the inequity of quality health care experienced by Indigenous people historically and presently was so apparent. Attempting to build this resource list made it clear that the library collection is still deficient in this area and it inspired the library to continue expanding its collection of books to support the health of racialized people.

Another challenge that librarians encountered is the dearth of Canadian content. In other health subjects, the abundance of literature from the United Kingdom and the United States is often acceptable to inform Canadian practice. While changes for racial justice need to happen in all three countries, the differences in health-care systems and social context for Black and other racialized peoples in Canada, versus the UK and US, make many of the available resources insufficient for Canadian practice.  

Furthermore, Canadian researchers have not adequately gathered data and documented health inequalities according to race. Accordingly, foreign materials are included on the list to fill gaps left in the Canadian literature. Resources with Canadian content have been clearly indicated in the list. 

Suggestions for improvements and additions are welcome at medlib@cpsbc.ca.