Global Health Summit

Stephanie Nixon, Director, ICDR discusses power, politics and privilege in advance of the University of Toronto’s upcoming Global Health Summit November 3-5:

It is well-accepted that people with certain experiences of disadvantage (e.g., lower income, race) have worse health, but what our fields are often silent on is how advantage and privilege lead to better health.

“We need to be more insightful about the role privilege plays in shaping global health equity, and also how it shapes our own programs of research. Such insights can lead to greater humility about how certain we are in our ‘expertise’.

“It’s not that our work is wrong; I’m proposing there is a blind spot. It can be hard to get one’s head around the idea of privilege when you are in a position of advantage, and it can be very unsettling because it means that your successes might not be solely based on your own hard work. There are big, important, health-defining social structures that you see when you look at things through the lens of privilege.

“Nurturing this understanding will help us all to do more socially just work.