Tackling institutional racism in the public health system Alternatives and Options
In December 2018, the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ) released a report Addressing Institutional Barriers to Health Equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Queensland’s Public Hospital and Health Services (Marrie A, 2017) which used as its auditing tool the Matrix for Identifying, Measuring and Monitoring Institutional Racism within Public Hospitals and Health Services developed in 2014 by Adrian Marrie and Henrietta Marrie AM. This report, and its response by Queensland Health (QH), has introduced a new strategy for dealing with institutional racism. The Matrix is designed as an external, evidenced-based practical desk-top tool for measuring Closing the Gap health policy transparency, implementation and accountability. Based on the response by QH, the Matrix has clear potential to expose and address institutional racism in the public health system. As a research tool it has the potential to monitor public policy implementation and accountability over time and to be used to undertake health- and cost-benefit analyses of the impacts of eliminating institutional racism from the delivery of public health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The paper discusses the policy and research implications of the application of the Matrix in dealing with institutional racism and other forms of institutional discrimination.