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Using intersectionality to inform health services for Aboriginal women experiencing marginalization

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Title: Using intersectionality to inform health services for Aboriginal women experiencing marginalization
Author: Varcoe, Colleen; Browne, Annette; Fridkin, Alycia
Subject Keywords Health behaviour;Social context;Intersectionality;Women;Aboriginal health;Knowledge exchange
Issue Date: 2009-04
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2009-11-25
Series/Report no. Presentations. NEXUS Spring Institute 2009. University of British Columbia.
Abstract: Health service organizations in Vancouver’s downtown eastside (DTES) are challenged with providing effective health services for a highly marginalized population with complex health needs. Many health service users in the DTES contend with a multiplicity of social injustices including structural violence, systemic racism and colonization, subsequently resulting in a myriad of health effects such as addictions, mental health problems, trauma, chronic pain and poverty. The application of intersectionality, an emerging concept within critical theory that can be used to understand multiple health and social identities, to health services works to create new knowledge that can be translated into practice in the form of health service delivery. For example, health services for Aboriginal women in the DTES tend to focus on addictions, yet do not address related issues of violence, pain and abuse. From an intersectional approach these health dimensions are inextricably bound and must be simultaneously addressed. Focusing on a weekly women-only drop-in for highly marginalized women from the DTES, held at a community-based Aboriginal health organization, an intersectional analysis is used to examine how health services can be uniquely delivered to address the intersecting health needs, and realities of women’s lives. The findings from this work will inform the effective delivery of health services to women affected by marginalizing practices and policies, as well as provide insight to the ways in which intersectionality can be applied to understand social complexities in health service settings.
Affiliation: Nursing, School of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/15795
Peer Review Status: Not Peer-Reviewed

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