At the Intersection of Service Provider Wellbeing and Equity in Healthcare and Social Services Systems Transformation

The pandemic forced us to recognize that our healthcare/social services systems may not be as strong as we thought. Challenges emerged in long-term care, non-profits, hospital settings, and in-home care. Still, these service providers faced fear and worry about the future, their health, the wellbeing of their families, and their ongoing commitment to the people they promised to serve. We can show our appreciation by listening to the lived experiences of services providers to learn firsthand what would make their jobs more fulfilling, joyful, effective, equitable, and safe. Then we can better understand what changes/solutions might help achieve these critical health and wellbeing outcomes.

In December 2020, Bridge for Health embarked on this new project is delivered in partnership with the Public Health Association of BC and funded through a Develop Grant with the Vancouver Foundation.

Project Overview 

This project seeks to shed light on the lack of a holistic lens to recognize the importance of mental, emotional, and spiritual elements of health directly impacting our physical wellbeing in the workplace. 

During the first 7 months of 2021, we will dive deep into healthcare and social services systems which have long struggled with service provider burnout, employee dissatisfaction and turnover, ineffective team communication, dysfunctional organizational dynamics, and ultimately compromised quality of care/service.

The project will address the following gaps to facilitate transformational change in how service provider self-care and well-being are conceptualized/practiced and the connection to quality of service and organizational effectiveness: 

  • Lack of anti-racist lens to define self-care and employee well-being that doesn’t recognize root causes of mental health inequities experienced by service providers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color and creates further barriers to supports
  • Power structures within these systems (HR, work environments, colonial concepts of productivity) that don’t account for the lived experience of employees and its impact on their well-being
  • Belief & mindset that people working in these professions are immune to the same challenges experienced by those they serve often resulting in deprioritizing their own health.

With a collective, collaborative and inclusive approach, we recognize the people most affected by our project as front and centre in this process. The service providers’ lived experience will help us understand how we might disrupt the involved systems and initiate a paradigm shift.

We are committed to health and social equity and seek to create mutually beneficial and reciprocal partnerships with individuals and community stakeholders. Our emphasis will be on reaching direct service providers for engagement in the process. We seek participants in the following sectors:

  • Healthcare (hospitals, community-based, health authorities)
  • Social services (non-profits)
  • Personal caregivers
  • Educational settings (nursing/social services) 

For more information or to participate in the project, please see contact information below:

Project Leads & Supervisors: 

Elizabeth Bishop ~

Ilhan Abdullahi ~