Richard (Rick) Sawatzky

Canada Research Chair in Equitable People-Centred Health Measurement (EPHM)

Trinity Western University
Tier 1 - April 1, 2023

Advancing health equity by measuring what matters to diverse individuals

According to the World Health Organization, achieving equitable, people-centered healthcare is a societal priority. This requires tailoring healthcare services in response to the unique contexts and experiences of diverse people. To accomplish this, health measurements are needed that appropriately represent the diverse people’s perspectives of their health and healthcare experiences. This includes measurements of individuals’ symptoms, physical and mental health, and wellbeing, as well as their experience with the care they received. Such perceptions can only truly be measured from the perspective of the person receiving care. However, current approaches to health measurement are often limited in their ability to meaningfully account for important social contexts and individual differences. These "one-sized-fits-all" approaches can lead to measurement biases that cause the perspectives of some people to be ignored or misrepresented. Rooted in social injustices, the resulting health inequities can cause some people to face greater health risks and to be more vulnerable than other people.

As a Canada Research Chair at Trinity Western University, Dr. Sawatzky aims to advance a new paradigm of equitable people-centred health measurement (EPHM). The research focuses on novel methods for equitably measuring diverse perspectives of health and healthcare. This involves using online health information platforms to tailor the measurements to individuals’ social and health circumstances. By using these platforms, diverse people will be able to share tailored information about their health and healthcare experiences with healthcare providers, leading to improved care that is informed by their unique situation. The research also involves establishing a learning alliance by which patients and healthcare providers work together with the research team to integrate EPHM into the healthcare for people who have chronic conditions.

The research will establish an important foundation for developing widespread applications of the developed EPHM methodology, including measuring the importance of different health domains, tracking changes in people’s perceptions of their health over time, and accommodating multiple languages and functional abilities. Overall, the results from this research will serve as a springboard for advancing health equity by measuring what matters to diverse individuals and thereby informing people-centred healthcare.

For information about research activities, publications, and knowledge translation materials by Dr. Sawatzky and his team, visit Dr. Sawatzky's profile and