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Innovations for better health & social justice

Guest Editor: Magdalena Szaflarski

About the collection

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Innovations for better health and social justiceGlobal health systems remain far from achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3): "To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages", and SDG 10: "Reduced inequalities". Progress has been made in many areas, notably in increasing life expectancy, reducing maternal and child mortality, and fighting communicable diseases. However, progress has stalled in some areas and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has devastated health systems and communities, threatening the reversal of decades of work. 

Simultaneously, in 2020, the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by a white police officer in the USA, sparked a fresh wave of international protests against police brutality and racism. The death of George Floyd and other black Americans has catalyzed the exposure and discussions around deep-rooted injustices and systemic racism. Health systems are not immune and there is strikingly clear evidence of institutional racism, other forms of discrimination, and inequities in healthcare, globally. 

In 2020, Health Systems Global called upon the health services research community to consider how we can re-imagine health systems for better health and social justice. In support of this, and SDGs 3 and 10, BMC Health Services Research launched a collection to curate innovative research broadly examining the environmental, political, and social factors that perpetuate health inequities and social injustices in health systems. We welcomed submissions covering the following topics: 

  • Accessibility and affordability of care
  • All forms of prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization
  • Corruption
  • Freedom of movement and borders
  • Health disparities
  • Health policy, politics and power
  • New technologies, artificial intelligence, and big data for combatting health inequities 
  • Quality of health services and meeting the healthcare needs of people facing discrimination and marginalization
  • Resource distribution

Research could also focus on specific marginalized population groups, such as indigenous populations or ethnic minority groups. 

This collection is no longer accepting submissions and closed on 28th May 2022. 

Meet the Guest Editor

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Magdalena Szaflarski, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

Magdalena SzaflarskiMagdalena Szaflarski, PhD, is a medical sociologist specializing in health and health care disparities and the social determinants of health. Dr. Szaflarski’s research has focused on immigrant health and health care, medicalization of cannabis, religion and HIV, social factors in epilepsy, and, recently, COVID-19 experiences and reactions.


Published collection articles

  1. Despite the benefits of genetic counseling and testing, uptake of cancer genetic services is generally low and Black/African American (Black) women are substantially less likely to receive genetic services tha...

    Authors: Vida Henderson, Jessica M. Madrigal, Le’ Chaun Kendall, Pooja Parekh, Jennifer Newsome, Ifeanyi Beverly Chukwudozie, De Lawnia Comer-Hagans, Vickii Coffey, Giesela Grumbach, Shirley Spencer, Carolyn Rodgers, Ravneet Kaur, Lara Balay, Tara Maga, Zo Ramamonjiarivelo, Catherine Balthazar…
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:826
  2. The purpose of SNAP Out Stigma (SOS) was to design and implement a community-based intervention to reduce HIV-related stigma for people living with HIV (PLWH) in the Deep South. This region is a subset of 9 st...

    Authors: Latrice C. Pichon, Andrea Williams Stubbs and Michelle Teti
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:795
  3. COVID-19 catalyzed a rapid and substantial reorganization of primary care, accelerating the spread of existing strategies and fostering a proliferation of innovations. Access to primary care is an essential co...

    Authors: Mylaine Breton, Emily Gard Marshall, Véronique Deslauriers, Mélanie Ann Smithman, Lauren R. Moritz, Richard Buote, Bobbi Morrison, Erin K. Christian, Madeleine McKay, Katherine Stringer, Claire Godard-Sebillotte, Nadia Sourial, Maude Laberge, Adrian MacKenzie, Jennifer E. Isenor, Arnaud Duhoux…
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:759
  4. Populations have varying needs and expectations concerning health care that result from diversity characteristics such as a migrant background, gender identity, disability, and age. These needs and expectation...

    Authors: Fabian Erdsiek, Tuğba Aksakal, Maria Mader, Munzir Idris, Yüce Yılmaz-Aslan, Oliver Razum and Patrick Brzoska
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:689
  5. Older persons living with HIV (PLWH) need routine healthcare to manage HIV and other comorbidities. This mixed methods study investigated digital equity, constituted as access, use and quality, of HIV and spec...

    Authors: Abigail Baim-Lance, Matthew Angulo, Mary Ann Chiasson, Helen-Maria Lekas, Rachel Schenkel, Jason Villarreal, Anyelina Cantos, Christine Kerr, Aarthi Nagaraja, Michael T. Yin and Peter Gordon
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:609
  6. Research exploring telehealth expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 also experience worse access to telehealth. However, this research has ...

    Authors: Diana J. Govier, Hannah Cohen-Cline, Katherine Marsi and Sarah E. Roth
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:511
  7. Asian Americans represent one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the U.S. and are at high risk for cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs), including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and...

    Authors: Lucy Y. Min, Rehnuma B. Islam, Nikhila Gandrakota and Megha K. Shah
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:257
  8. The number of women living in Italy and seeking cross-border reproductive care (CBRC), especially for medically assisted reproduction (MAR), has increased. The purpose of this study was to explore CBRC attitud...

    Authors: Stephanie Meier, Jaziel Ramos-Ortiz, Kelsie Basille, Alyson C. D’Eramo, Adria M. Diaconu, Lesley J. Flores, Savannah Hottle, Kaylee Mason-Yeary, Yumary Ruiz and Andrea L. DeMaria
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:238
  9. This article investigates the extent and sources of late diagnosis of cancer in Tanzania, demonstrating how delayed diagnosis was patterned by inequities rooted in patients’ socio-economic background and by he...

    Authors: Fortunata Songora Makene, Richard Ngilangwa, Cristina Santos, Charlotte Cross, Twalib Ngoma, Phares G. M. Mujinja, Marc Wuyts and Maureen Mackintosh
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:189
  10. Street sex workers (SSWs) are a highly marginalised and stigmatised group who carry an extremely high burden of unmet health need. They experience multiple and interdependent health and social problems and ext...

    Authors: Lucy C. Potter, Jeremy Horwood and Gene Feder
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:178
  11. The aim of the study was a comparative analysis of legislative measures against discrimination in healthcare on the grounds of a) race and ethnicity, b) religion and belief, and c) gender identity and sexual o...

    Authors: Katarzyna Bielińska, Anna Chowaniec, Robert Doričić, Marianne Nowak, Marcin Orzechowski, Mojca Ramšak, Paweł Łuków, Amir Muzur, Zvonka Zupanič-Slavec and Florian Steger
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2022 22:100
  12. Diabetes mellitus has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. As the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise, the burden of disease is divided unevenly among different populations. Racial/ethnic di...

    Authors: Felippe O. Marcondes, David Cheng, Margarita Alegria and Jennifer S. Haas
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2021 21:1150
  13. To examine racial/ethnic and educational inequities in the relationship between state-level restrictive abortion policies and adverse birth outcomes from 2005 to 2015 in the United States.

    Authors: Sara K. Redd, Whitney S. Rice, Monica S. Aswani, Sarah Blake, Zoë Julian, Bisakha Sen, Martha Wingate and Kelli Stidham Hall
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2021 21:1139
  14. Occasions of self-discharge from health services before being seen by a health profession or against medical advice are often used by health systems as an indicator of quality care. People self-discharge becau...

    Authors: Deborah A. Askew, Wendy Foley, Corey Kirk and Daniel Williamson
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2021 21:907
  15. Transgender, or trans, people experience a number of barriers to accessing gender-affirming healthcare and have a range of barriers and facilitators to primary care and specialist services, commonly citing dis...

    Authors: Talen Wright, Emily Jay Nicholls, Alison J Rodger, Fiona M Burns, Peter Weatherburn, Roger Pebody, Leanne McCabe, Aedan Wolton, Mitzy Gafos and T. Charles Witzel
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2021 21:609
  16. Poor reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health outcomes in Nigeria can be attributed to several factors, not limited to low health service coverage, a lack of quality care, and gender inequ...

    Authors: Chioma Oduenyi, Joya Banerjee, Oniyire Adetiloye, Barbara Rawlins, Ugo Okoli, Bright Orji, Emmanuel Ugwa, Gbenga Ishola and Myra Betron
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2021 21:198
  17. More fragmented ambulatory care (i.e., care spread across many providers without a dominant provider) has been associated with more subsequent healthcare utilization (such as more tests, procedures, emergency ...

    Authors: Lisa M. Kern, Mangala Rajan, Lisandro D. Colantonio, Evgeniya Reshetnyak, Joanna Bryan Ringel, Paul M. Muntner, Lawrence P. Casalino, Laura C. Pinheiro and Monika M. Safford
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2021 21:154
  18. Valid and reliable quality measures can help catalyze improvements in health care. The care of transgender patients is ripe for quality measurement, as there is increasing awareness of the increasing prevalenc...

    Authors: Adam J. Rose, Michael S. Dunbar, Jaclyn M. W. Hughto and Guneet K. Jasuja
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2021 21:152

Tackling health inequities and social injustices in health systems is vital for achieving the SDGs

Learn more about SDG3 'Good health and well-being' and Springer Nature's SDG programme

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Learn more about SDG10 'Reduced inequalities' and Springer Nature's SDG programme

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