Black Health and Wellness Initiative: Looking Ahead

Reflecting on the year behind us and looking ahead to what is to come in 2023.

In 2022, the Black Health and Vaccination Initiative evolved into the Black Health and Wellness Initiative. The transition away from vaccination toward whole health and wellness was a direct response to the overwhelming need to continue providing support in Black communities. 

In the year to come, the BPAO, in close collaboration with the Black Health Alliance, will continue working to ensure community building and collaboration progresses, and leads to improved health engagement and outcomes across Black populations in the province. 

Through this work we aim to nurture relationships with the communities we serve. We aim to avoid having the next health crises or vaccination campaign be the only time folks see Black doctors. Instead, we want to be community staples, engaging whole health on a regular basis and building trust with individuals and organizations over time.

Residents from within our communities have shared over the years how at one of our BHVI events was the first time they had been served by a Black physician. During the vaccination iteration of the work, folks felt a greater sense of ease when support was provided by people who shared their reflection. This is the kind of cultural safety that we hope to reproduce in the year ahead.

Just because the pandemic has slowed down and things are returning to something close to normal, this does not change the realities of the inequities facing Black communities. The Black Health and Wellness Initiative aims to align with the increased awareness of Black issues that came during the pandemic, and funnel long overdue support and resources to these communities. 

The intention is to become entrenched in our neighbourhoods, and serve as a representation of what is possible in and for our communities.

As we look ahead into the new year, the BHWI will be working hard to ensure quality relationships are maintained, and partnerships continue. This is the only way to build trust, both within the communities we serve, along with the health centres and community organizations with which we collaborate. 

While the BHWI and its organizers have no intention of fully restoring Black communities’ trust in traditional healthcare systems, they do aim to restore communities’ faith in our collective capacity to advocate for the improvement of health outcomes in Black communities, overcome persistent obstacles, and work together to create change.

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