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Journal article

Transforming institutional racism at an Australian hospital

Primary health care Racism First Peoples health Australia
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DOI: 10.1071/AH18062 179.19 KB


Objectives The aims of this study were to: (1) examine institutional racism’s role in creating health outcome discrepancies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and (2) assess the management of institutional racism in an Australian hospital and health service (HHS).

Methods A literature review informed consideration of institutional racism and the health outcome disparities it produces. Publicly available information, provided by an Australian HHS, was used to assess change in an Australian HHS in five key areas of institutional racism: inclusion in governance, policy implementation, service delivery, employment and financial accountability. These findings were compared with a 2014 case study.

Results The literature concurs that outcome disparity is a defining characteristic of institutional racism, but there is contention about processes. Transformative change was detected in the areas of governance, service delivery and employment at an Australian HHS, but there was no change in financial accountability or policy implementation.

Conclusions The health outcomes of some racial groups can be damaged by institutional racism. An external assessment tool can help hospitals and health services to change.

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