Addressing health inequities through social inclusion: The role of community organizations



Belle-Isle L, Benoit C & Pauly B (2014) Addressing health inequities through social inclusion: The role of community organizations. Action Research, 12 (2), pp. 177-193.

Health inequities between groups result from the unequal distribution of economic and social resources, including power and prestige. Social processes where unequal power relationships exist lead to the social exclusion of individuals or groups. Social inclusion strategies are well suited to contribute to addressing health inequities. Community organizations can enhance marginalized community members' inclusion in decision-making structures that affect their lives. In this paper, we discuss the role of community organizations in contributing to action on health inequities through social inclusion. We consider the social determinants of health and of inequities. We provide an overview of the impact of social exclusion on health inequities and on community capacity to address them. We explore the theoretical basis of addressing health inequities through social inclusion, both in collective action and in research strategies. We link theory to practice with examples from our experiences and describe the challenges of involving members of vulnerable populations. We conclude by offering suggestions as to how community organizations can foster social inclusion and some directions for future research.

Community organizations; social inclusion; health inequities; determinants of health; vulnerable populations; participatory action research;

Action Research: Volume 12, Issue 2

Publication date01/06/2014
Publication date online24/03/2014

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Professor Bernadette Pauly

Professor Bernadette Pauly

Honorary Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences