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Inequities in Health and Healthcare Viewed Through the Ethical Lens of Critical Social Justice: Contextual Knowledge for the Global Priorities Ahead

Anderson, Joan M. PhD, RN; Rodney, Patricia PhD, RN; Reimer-Kirkham, Sheryl PhD, RN; Browne, Annette J. PhD, RN; Khan, Koushambhi Basu PhD; Lynam, M. Judith PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e3181bd6955

The authors use the backdrop of the Healthy People 2010 initiative to contribute to a discussion encompassing social justice from local to national to global contexts. Drawing on findings from their programs of research, they explore the concept of critical social justice as a powerful ethical lens through which to view inequities in health and in healthcare access. They examine the kind of knowledge needed to move toward the ideal of social justice and point to strategies for engaging in dialogue about knowledge and actions to promote more equitable health and healthcare from local to global levels.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (Drs Anderson, Rodney, Browne, Khan, and Lynam), and Trinity Western University, Langley, British Columbia, Canada (Dr Reimer- Kirkham).

Corresponding Author: Joan M. Anderson, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, T201 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 2B5, Canada (

Disclaimer: The authors alone are responsible for whatever shortcomings are present in this article.

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Knowledge Translation Strategies for Health Research, Funding reference number KTS-73431, to fund the study, J. M. Anderson. (Nominated PI); A. J. Browne, M. J. Lynam, and S. Reimer-Kirkham (Co-PIs); and P. Rodney, P. Semeniuk, E. Tan, C. Varcoe, S. Wong, and V. Smye (Co-Investigators) “Cultural Safety and Knowledge Uptake in Clinical Settings: A Model for Practice for Culturally Diverse Populations (2005–2008).” Deliberations among team members contributed to further exploration of the concepts of ethics and social justice. The authors thank their colleagues for engaging with them in dialogue.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.