From Access to Equity: A Think Tank

A Think Tank on Policies, Programs, and Research issues facing Immigrant & Refugee PHAs, June 2006

On June 7th, 2006, the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT) and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) co-sponsored a one day think tank on HIV and immigration issues titled: “From Access to Equity: A Think Tank on Policies, Programs, and Research issues facing immigrant & Refugee PHAs” at the Ryerson University in Toronto. The think tank brought together over 60 PHAs, service providers, policy makers and researchers to critically examine the current policies, programs, research on HIV and immigration, to share perspectives on the challenges facing immigrant, refugee and non-status PHAs and to identify strategic issues for collaborative actions.

A detail literature review on relevant public policies affecting people living with HIV/AIDS who are immigrants, refugees or without status in Canada (IRN PHAs) titled “Status, Access and Health Disparities”, was released at the think tank. The report laid the groundwork and context to facilitate discussion on the relevant policy and program issues. Participants also learnt about the experiences of the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario and the preliminary data from a study on mental health issues and access barriers affecting IRN PHAs.

The think tank provided important forum for stakeholders from different sectors to identify policy and practice changes required to improve access to services and care for IRN PHAs, formulate relevant research questions to facilitate evidence based advocacy and improved programming, and develop framework for coordination on policy, program and research planning amongst stakeholder groups working with I & R PHAs.