Organizational Stigma Assessment Cycle Project

Logo with multiple coloured points and the abbreviation OSAC.


Stigma reduction is a core value threaded throughout PAN’s work. One project we are currently working on to enhance stigma reduction is the Organizational Stigma Assessment Cycle project (OSAC), a combination of evaluation and capacity-building in a multi-step process to support organizations to learn where stigma and discrimination may inadvertently occur in their services. Using the learning from the initial analyses, capacity building will help organizations deepen their learning and implement changes. Organizations may work through the process once or multiple times, depending on their organizational capacity.

This idea for organizations to look inward at their own services came out of community discussions at PAN-hosted events, including the Stigma Reduction Interventions Deliberative Dialogue and Let’s Talk Stigma Reduction! OSAC is built around intersectionality, a way to think about multiple inequalities people experience, and the larger systems that produce these inequalities: policies, societal attitudes, political and economic systems. For instance, intersectional stigma and discrimination looks at how someone might encounter stigma based on their HIV status and race, and sexuality, and drug use, rather than looking at stigma experiences based on HIV status alone.

Illustration of figure showing intersecting statuses in a circle around them: hep C or HIV status; race; geographic location; housing; substance use; ability; Indigeneity; class; mental health; gender.


Stigma and discrimination are affected by the multiple characteristics that makes us unique individuals, including gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, ability, and many other things. We recognize that  not everyone feels stigma in the same way or faces the same types of discrimination.


The project is led by PAN and guided by people with lived and living experiences, along with community organizations and allies working in community services in BC.



A Learning Cycle Approach

The OSAC Project is a learning cycle for BC organizations to assess their work, and it uses a stigma reduction best practices framework to guide them through the process. The stigma reduction best practices framework is based on an extensive review of stigma reduction literature. Assessment activity based on the stigma reduction best practices framework will help in the examination of policies, programs, procedures, service access, and other areas within an organization’s functioning.  With the information gathered, organizations can identify target areas for improvement, and action plans for change. The learning cycle will continue with regular evaluation of progress on targets, and assessment of further growth opportunities.

Peer review and support will come from a surveyor team made up of a person with lived experience and a community worker, who will help organizations in various stages of the process.

A provincial advisory group has worked with us to establish the Best Practices Framework, the working copy of Learning Assessment Cycle User Guide, and assessment tools.


Pilot Phase

We are pleased to be working with two community-based organizations in five locations across two health authority regions. We are rolling out our systematic process designed to provide a holistic understanding of where stigma can exist in an organization despite best intentions of design and delivery of services.

We are also regularly connecting with various provincial groups undertaking their own stigma reduction work to see how we may work with or in support of each other.

The Organizational Stigma Assessment Cycle Project is being evaluated at all stages of the project so that we may adapt our work as needed to make it as effective as possible. We look forward to sharing more of our learning as OSAC continues to evolve. Please read on below for more information on this project as well as others.


Learn more about OSAC

OSAC update: Exploring paths for change

Launching the Pilot Phase of the Organizational Stigma Assessment Cycle (OSAC) Project 

Using Developmental Evaluation: Learn, Adapt, Accomplish

Digging into Difficult topics in Stigma Activism 

Exploring Interest and Community Capacity for Organizational Stigma Assessment


Explore some of PAN’s additional stigma reduction work

People With Lived Experiences’ Strengths in the Face of Stigma Study

Personal Experiences of Stigma Survey

Let’s Talk Stigma Reduction

Stigma Reduction Interventions Deliberative Dialogue

BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index project



For more information, contact Leanne Zubowski (leanne @


Thank you to the Vancouver Foundation for funding this project to address systems change.
Logo designed by Nahanee Creative