Xpey' Relational Environments: An Analytic Framework for Conceptualizing Indigenous Health Equity

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Kent, A., Loppie, C., Carriere, J, MacDonald, M. & Pauly, B. (2017). Xpey’ relational environments: An analytic framework for conceptualizing Indigenous health equity. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, 37(12).

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Health equity
Health services accessibility
Public health
Research methodology
Indigenous populations

Introduction: Both health equity research and Indigenous health research are driven by the goal of promoting equitable health outcomes among marginalized and underserved populations. However, the two fields often operate independently, without collaboration. As a result, Indigenous populations are underrepresented in health equity research relative to the disproportionate burden of health inequities they experience. In this methodological article, we present Xpey’ Relational Environments, an analytic framework that maps some of the barriers and facilitators to health equity for Indigenous peoples.Methods: Health equity research needs to include a focus on Indigenous populations and Indigenized methodologies, a shift that could fill gaps in knowledge with the potential to contribute to ‘closing the gap’ in Indigenous health. With this in mind, the Equity Lens in Public Health (ELPH) research program adopted the Xpey’ Relational Environments framework to add a focus on Indigenous populations to our research on the prioritization and implementation of health equity. The analytic framework introduced an Indigenized health equity lens to our methodology, which facilitated the identification of social, structural and systemic determinants of Indigenous health. To test the framework, we conducted a pilot case study of one of British Columbia’s regional health authorities, which included a review of core policies and plans as well as interviews and focus groups with frontline staff, managers and senior executives.Conclusion: ELPH’s application of Xpey’ Relational Environments serves as an example of the analytic framework’s utility for exploring and conceptualizing Indigenous health equity in BC’s public health system. Future applications of the framework should be embedded in Indigenous research methodologies.

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