NCCDH participates in prenatal environmental health forum
I was personally and professionally excited to participate in the PEHE Forum. My public health work with pregnant women and their families instilled a passion in me to support the conditions that help society’s children get off to the best start possible in life. We know that pregnant women who live with health inequities caused by the unfair distribution of the social determinants of health are at an increased risk of a variety of negative health exposures. PEHE provided a great opportunity to highlight that pregnant women living with health inequities have an increased risk of being exposed to contaminants in the environment that can cause negative health effects for those women and their babies.
The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) participated in a panel presentation titled Addressing prenatal and children’s environmental health inequities in the context of socioeconomic, culture and community factors. Myself, along with Dr. Jeff Masuda (Queen’s University), Jill McDowell (Toronto Public Health) and Lynda Banning (FASD Program worker, Union of Northern Indians) worked together to set the stage for the factors that make pregnant women and their children vulnerable to the negative health effects of various environmental contaminants including chemicals and other toxins. The opportunity to have dialogue with the audience after the panel presentations is where some strong ideas for potential action came out, including how primary care practitioners and public health can work together with other community organizations in an intersectoral approach to lessen the impact of the health inequities they face.
The PEHE Forum integrated the health equity focus with other key topics, including prenatal health education, science on the impact of early exposures to environmental contaminants, environmental health education challenges and opportunities, and population level strategies to impact pregnant women as well as individual patient care. A final report on the PEHE Forum is now available, which includes recommendations for moving forward and future actions. In addition, you can watch the NCCDH and other presenters at the PEHE Forum through video footage of the event.
Collaboration is key to addressing the issue of how health inequities impact the risk of prenatal environmental health exposures. The dialogue starts now! Please feel free to contact me with input, ideas, and any resources you can suggest.