Co-Creating Services with Equity-Deserving Populations
One of the strategic research directions in McMaster’s 2018-2023 plan for a “Brighter World” is to advance “equitable, prosperous and sustainable societies”. Addressing the complex inequities faced by equity-deserving populations, however, can be challenging and requires innovative research methodologies to mobilize change. There is a movement towards co-producing change in collaboration with service users and a ‘design thinking’ approach as a new imperative for system transformation in Canada as well as in other countries around the world.
In 2019, the McMaster Strategic Alignment Fund established a co-design hub for vulnerable populations. This three-year co-design initiative brings together inter-disciplinary researchers, students, service providers and service users to create a virtual and physical “Co-Design-VP Hub”. The hub will facilitate partnership formation, advance methods of co-design, and enable knowledge-sharing through three overlapping foci: 1) engage; 2) educate; and 3) innovate. The plan is to build on local partnerships and move to global leadership in health and social service research with equity-deserving populations (eg. families of children with disabilities, individuals with mental illness, older adults with a disability, indigenous communities).