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DHS student examines impact of housing policy on health in new article

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Ontario’s health policymakers need to consider the impact of housing insecurity on healthcare outcomes, argues a Department of Health and Society student in a new article published by a University journal.

In her article “Using the 3I Framework to Assess the Impact of Housing as a Social Determinant of Health on Ontario’s Health Care System,” 4th Year student Dhara Chauhan applies the 3I framework to contextualize this policy gap, and to discuss housing policy action to improve healthcare outcomes. Dhara initially wrote the article as her final paper for her HLTB40: Health Policy and Health Systems class.

The 3I framework is a policy analysis tool that explores the institutions, ideas, and interests (the 3Is) which shape a policy or political topic. Institution refers to existing and legacy policies, like the constitution, government structures, and policy networks which shape the development of new policies. Ideas refers to the evidence and values of the policymakers, public, and stakeholders that shape the policy issue and its possible solutions. Interests refers to the different stakeholders who can shape policy or who will be affected, positively or negatively, by new policies. In her article, Chauhan applies this approach in the context of integrated housing interventions in the Ontario health care system.

Key recommendations include encouraging social medicine housing programs and incorporating social determinants into hospitals’ models of care.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of our health care systems, particularly those associated with the social determinants of health,” says Dhara. “The pandemic has taught difficult lessons including the necessity of health initiatives that help address social issues, like housing insecurity, to help improve our health care systems.”

“Dhara’s article is an important and timely contribution that shines a light on much-needed initiatives to bridge health and social care systems in our own backyard,” notes Prof. Jessica Bytautas, who taught Dhara’s Health Policy and Health Systems class.

The article was published in the journal Health Perspectives.

For more information contact David Blackwood, Research Communications Coordinator, Department of Health and Society, University of Toronto Scarborough at David.blackwood@utoronto.ca