Research award: improving pandemic preparedness by engaging with communities made vulnerable by policies

August 25, 2023
A team led by Dr. Andrew Pinto has been awarded the Catalyst and Research Development Grant from the University of Toronto’s Institute for Pandemics, in partnership with the Emerging & Pandemic Infections Consortium (EPIC). Their research aims to improve pandemic preparedness in a way that engages communities in Canada made vulnerable by social and economic policies.
Between December 2019 and June 2020, the team conducted a rapid review of international literature, revealing strong associations between 1) race or ethnicity, socioeconomic deprivation, occupation, and other social determinants of health; and 2) COVID-19 incidence and hospitalizations. Based on these findings, they developed guidelines to assist policymakers in mitigating the pandemic’s impact on these communities and to establish a foundation for future interventions.
Since the review and guidelines were published, many studies globally have emerged on the topic, yet nothing specific to the Canadian context. The project will address the knowledge gap by looking into the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on racialized, low-income, non-healthcare workers, and unhoused communities in Canada. Furthermore, it will evaluate the implementation of policies, if any, across jurisdictions that support equitable recovery.
The funding will empower the research team to lay the groundwork for future studies focused on interventions that engage communities made vulnerable by policies in pandemic preparedness.

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