Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 34(1) March 2021 : 20-29.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2021.26458
Lessons in Crisis Leadership

Taking a Stand to Remedy the Inadequacies of Action on Health Equity Exposed by COVID-19

Susana Caxaj, Abe Oudshoorn, Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, Fiona Webster, Lorie Donelle, Cheryl Forchuk, Helene Berman and Vicki Smye


As we struggle with the impacts of a global pandemic, there is growing evidence of the inequitable impacts of this crisis. In this commentary, we argue that actions on health equity to date have been insufficient despite significant scholarship to guide both practice and policy. To move from talk to action on health equity, we propose the following five approaches: (1) reversing the erosion of publicly funded health systems; (2) creating broad economic means to support health; (3) moving health action upstream; (4) challenging ageist and/or ableist discourses; and (5) decolonizing approaches and enacting solidarity. Engaging in these actions will help close the gaps and address disparities made more evident during this global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for us to move from discussion to action if we are to achieve health for all. Adopting a health equity lens is a means of both understanding and stimulating action to readdress the root causes of inequities and work toward a fairer, more just society.



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