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How to integrate Intersectionality Theory in Quantitative Health Equity Analysis? A rapid review and checklist of promising practices

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Intersectionality is recognized as a potentially transformative approach for public health to better understand, analyze, and address health inequities. However, concrete guidance for how to apply intersectionality in public health research, practice, programs, and policies remains limited.  

Rapid Review with implications for future health inequality reporting   

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Pan-Canadian Health Inequalities Reporting Initiative (HIRI) tracks health inequalities in Canada in order to inform health, social policy, and well-being. The goal of this rapid review conducted by the HIRI team is to enhance future quantitative data analysis and strengthen the integration of intersectionality in health inequality reporting. 

Intersectionality based policy analysis framework applied as an analytic lens  

Through the rapid review, the authors identified 34 studies that aimed to integrate intersectionality theory. Next, they analyzed these studies by applying the Intersectionality Based Policy Analysis (IBPA) framework. The authors used a deductive thematic analysis approach to analyze how each of the studies engaged with the eight principles articulated within the IBPA.  

These are:  

  • intersecting categories,  
  • multi-level analysis,  
  • power,  
  • reflexivity  
  • time and space,  
  • diverse knowledges, 
  • social justice, and  
  • equity. 

Promising practices synthesized in a checklist  

The authors synthesized promising practices into a 36-step checklist that spans all stages of quantitative analysis. Titled "Strengthening the Integration of Intersectionality Theory in Health Inequality Analysis". This checklist can be found in section 3.5 of the main report, or can be downloaded separately.  

Use this resource to: 

  • Consider the implications of intersectionality theory as an analytic framework for health inequality reporting in Canada, and public health surveillance more broadly 
  • Apply the "Strengthening the Integration of Intersectionality Theory in Health Inequality Analysis" checklist (p. 41-44) of promising practices when engaging in quantitative analysis and reporting on health inequities  
  • Review and discuss, with your peers, a glossary of terms on intersectionality and inequality analysis (p. 49).  
  • Reflect on an example of how authors can include a substantive discussion of the history of intersectionality theory and state their own positionality in relation to the work 


Related resources:   

Let’s Talk: Intersectionality  

Intersectionality: A curated list 

An intersectionality-based policy analysis framework: Critical reflections on a methodology for advancing equity 


Public Health Agency of Canada. How to integrate intersectionality theory in quantitative health equity analysis? A rapid review and checklist of promising practices. Ottawa, ON: PHAC; 2022. 

Tags: Intersectionality, Assess and report, Public Health Agency of Canada, Report / Document