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Lessons in pandemic planning, response and recovery: A summary of Equity in Action stories

Cette ressource est également disponible en français.

The Equity in Action project is a collection of stories from practitioners and organizations who implemented equity-driven initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic. The stories promote knowledge exchange, shared learning, and a sustained focus on advancing equity across the public health system. 

This summary report synthesizes facilitators, barriers and lessons in advancing equity from 13 stories. Examples of facilitators to advance equity include: trusting relationships among service providers, decision makers and community members; local data that raises awareness of inequities; and leadership support to prioritize equity and try new approaches. On the other hand, barriers to advance equity include: the absence of pre-existing relationships among partners; community mistrust towards governments and health systems due to past and ongoing experiences of stigma, racism, and trauma; and popular rhetoric or dominant narratives that serve to perpetuate the status quo.

Lessons in advancing equity are captured by eight themes:

  1. tailored services
  2. community engagement
  3. building relationships
  4. partnerships and collaboration
  5. advocacy
  6. leadership
  7. addressing root causes of disparities
  8. measuring success holistically

The findings from this report can help build public health practitioners’ knowledge and confidence for action on health equity. More specifically, the findings can inform equity-driven pandemic recovery and future emergency preparedness planning. Stories from practice can help public health practitioners and communities envision a more equitable and just future together and inspire action.

Use this resource to:

  • identify key facilitators and barriers to advance equity in practice,
  • facilitate collaborative discussions about planning, implementation, and evaluation of equity-driven initiatives in their communities, and 
  • guide evidence-informed decision-making in their organization or community that prioritizes advancing equity. 


Related Resources:

Let's Talk: Health equity

'Back to better': Amplifying health equity, and determinants of health perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2023). Lessons in pandemic planning, response and recovery: A summary of Equity in Action stories. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University. 

Tags: COVID-19, Intersectoral action, Pandemic, Modify and orient interventions, Document, Report / Document