A “Creative” Approach to Health Care for Marginalized Populations
Canadians’ experiences with the health care system can vary based on numerous factors—one of which is whether or not they belong to a marginalized group. What is the impact of social inequality on illness? How might new methods and creative practices change how we provide care—and as a result, how people experience the health care system?
As Canada Research Chair in Creative Practices and Well-being, Dr. Roanne Thomas is trying to answer these questions. She and her research team are working with those who are both marginalized and living with chronic illnesses, such as cancer. They are studying the social and emotional impact of illness as well as the factors that influence people’s likelihood of surviving cancer.
Thomas and her research team are using new research methods and creative practices to understand and improve the experiences that marginalized Canadians have with our health care system. Using innovative tools such as photovoice (which allows people to tell their stories using digital cameras) and other visual arts, such as collage, she and her team are helping people share their perspectives on health care. They are also hoping to improve participants’ overall sense of well-being through the use of these creative methods.
Thomas and her team are sharing their findings with other researchers through new methods, such as video and theatre. They hope their findings can change how we provide care to marginalized populations with chronic illnesses and disabilities, and ultimately, improve their experiences with the health care system.