Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland - Building the evidence base to address health inequities

International evidence shows that minority ethnic groups have poorer health and more difficulties accessing healthcare than majority ethnic groups. Analysis of existing health datasets and the use of ethnic identifiers in health care systems are promoted internationally as valuable ways to address these differences. It is not possible to have 'neat' categories to describe ethnicity but, in the Irish context, the majority ethnic community refers broadly to Irish-born white people of Irish ancestry. The minority ethnic community refers broadly to Irish Travellers (0.6% of our population) and more recently arrived migrants (12% of our population).
There is evidence that Travellers' health status and experiences are poorer than the majority ethnic community. Migrants living in socially deprived circumstances have poor health experiences but we are lacking high-quality analyses comparing these with the majority ethnic community. In fact, there is a lack of analysis of existing datasets that could inform us about differences between all ethnic minority and majority groups and there is no routine use of an ethnic identifier in the Irish health service.
The aim of the research is to advance the evidence base so we can compare the health of majority and minority ethnic populations in Ireland. We will: Identify all existing national datasets with information about ethnicity; Use one existing dataset to compare the health of minority and majority ethnic groups; Research the implementation of an ethnic identifier to examine its utility to identify and address health differences between majority and minority ethnic groups; Disseminate findings in Ireland an abroad.
This project is being conducted in partnership with Traveller and migrant community organisations. We will use knowledge from statistics, sociology and politics to achieve our objectives and produce findings that will provide immediate relevant outputs for health service planners and policy makers.

Award Date
23 October 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Anne MacFarlane
Host Institution
University of Limerick
Health Research Awards