Equity in Access to Primary Care: Reimagining a “Front Door” for Health Care in Canada

April 21, 2022 @ 12:00–1:00 pm



About the Talk

As the first and main point of access to services, primary care acts as a “front door” to health care systems in Canada. Inequities in access to primary care undermine access throughout health systems. Provinces have implemented varied primary care reforms, but equity in access was not typically a policy focus and equity impacts have not been widely studied. Dr. Ruth Lavergne presents accumulating evidence that primary care reforms have entrenched rather than reduced inequities in access, and explore impacts of rapid transitions in primary care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results point to a need to reimagine what a “front door” for health care in service of justice and community might look like.

About the Speaker

Dr. Ruth Lavergne is a CGHSE faculty member and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University. She collaborates as a quantitative co-PI on the CGSHE IRIS study, led by Dr. Shira Goldenberg, which investigates im/migrant women’s needs, priorities, and health and social barriers experienced when accessing or attempting to access sexual and reproductive health care post-arrival in British Columbia. Dr. Lavergne’s program of research aims to address disparities in access and build evidence to ensure primary care organization, delivery, and workforce meet the needs of Canadians now and in the future. Her expertise is in quantitative analysis of population-based administrative health data and use of quasi-experimental designs to examine the impact of policy changes. Dr. Lavergne leads interdisciplinary mixed methods primary care studies in collaboration with experts in qualitative methods, patients, care providers and policymakers. Current work examines changing practice patterns within the physician workforce, focusing on primary care and psychiatry. She also leads research exploring access to primary care for immigrant and refugee populations and integration of care for people who need services for mental health and substance use disorders. She is @ruthlavergne on Twitter.