Leveraging Technology for What Already Exists

Bringing Existing Resources to Marginalized Communities

Earth’s greatest challenges have historically been pollution, whether in the form of greenhouse gasses or waste disposal, but tech leaders are leading that fight and may have us on a path to a fully sustainable world.  From the mass introduction of electric-powered vehicles to ocean clean-up systems, technology has contributed to an increasing quality of life around the globe.  As technology takes a greater hold of our lives, it also has the potential to solve smaller-scale systemic challenges that have held back marginalized groups such accessibility barriers to public services.

The most important element for new-generation entrepreneurs that are eager to right the wrongs of our past will be to gain exposure to different schools of thought and to better understand the diversity of life.  The reality of life is that people from different walks of life will all have different life experiences, and realities will greatly differ from person to person.  The starting point for a community-oriented technology-based solution has to be rooted in the understanding of the nature of the problem.

When it comes to accessing different public services, the largest barrier has to do with individuals not having knowledge on how to navigate the public services available.  For new-generation entrepreneurs that live in countries that guarantee access to health care services, there is the opportunity to leverage tech to bridge those services to marginalized communities.

Poverty is perhaps the single largest determinant of quality of health, and poor health is an obstacle to social and economic development.  While poverty has many dimensions, poverty and health are inseparably linked.  The social determinants – like education, healthcare, and child development – are of great importance to impoverished adolescents.

I remember hearing the World Health Organization state that the biggest threat facing adolescents had to do with mental health and wellbeing, and that had me thinking.  While tech solutions are often portrayed as complex systems that work in real-time to provide solutions, not every solution requires a high degree of complexity.  One way to leverage tech to bridge health care services with marginalized communities can be to focus on facilitation.

Even though Canada guarantees access to health care services, there are still adolescents that grow up without family doctors.  The adolescents that are without a designated family doctor in today’s Canada tend to have at least one of these two commonalities: they are living in low-income communities, or they are members of racialized groups.  These adolescents face many barriers and the only way they will experience success in life is through education.  However, they are also more likely to go down the dark path of self-medication and addiction.  That is how the starting point for a web-based tool that paired adolescents with family doctors based on distance came about, and is one that I’ve now been working on for some time.

The world we live in is changing faster than at any point in time, and we seem to be on a path towards a more sustainable Earth.  While everyone’s goal should be a better earth, to get there, tech solutions will need to trickle-up and make sure that no one is left behind.