Evidence-Based and Community Engaged Pandemic Responses for Calgary
Keywords:COVID-19, vulnerable populations, community support, children and families
Pandemics unduly burden those who are already economically and socially disadvantaged by poverty, disability, marginalization, and other vulnerabilities. Global pandemics increase disparities experienced by society’s most vulnerable, as inadequacies in systems-level protections make services challenging to access during emergencies. Families are specifically at risk, especially if they experience economic and social disparity concurrently with the pandemic. This study focuses on examining the way COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges to evidence based practice (EBP) implementation for community organizations in Calgary. Here we describe circumstances that make families vulnerable, the community organizations that support these families during the pandemic, and challenges with implementing EBP. To better understand policy barriers and facilitators as they relate to EBP access throughout the pandemic in Calgary, we conducted focus groups using the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) with diverse individuals representing local community organizations. Participants articulated the structural disparities that impede access to community-based EBP during the pandemic, and recognized potential solutions. The major themes uncovered in the research, as they apply to barriers to evidence-based service provision, included reduced revenue streams, access to technology, and lack of collaborative communication within and between ministries, as well as sectors. Proposed solutions to these barriers included person-centred policy and program approaches and reciprocal partnerships.
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