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Regional Wellness Coalitions in N.L.: A vehicle to work with the community to advance health equity

December 11, 2012

In October, Hannah and I met with the Co-Chairs of the Regional Wellness Coalitions

Team members from the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools joined us for a lively conversation with the Co-Chairs about their roles in addressing the social determinants of health and advancing health equity.

We enjoyed attending the joint meeting of the Regional Wellness Coalitions and the Provincial Wellness Advisory Council, which focused on built environment initiatives. We presented information about built environment initiatives at the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health and built environment initiatives at the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy.

We described how our projects, including our NCCDH Leadership Initiative, relate to the health promotion and wellness work of the Provincial Wellness Advisory Council. Following the presentation, there was a very good discussion about how health equity-related concepts can be applied to built environment interventions.

We found that working within the regional health authorities and within the communities provided a unique opportunity to act as a bridge and to provide leadership for health equity. The Regional Wellness Coalition Co-Chairs were interested in tools from the NCCMT registry that have been evaluated and could support the work of the Regional Wellness Coalitions. They were also interested in the many tools and resources that have been summarized in the NCCDH Resource Library.

A recently published assessment of the Canadian Core Competencies for Public Health: Release 1.0 was also of interest. Findings showed that content about the determinants of health and the values important to public health practice (including health equity) are found in the document’s introduction and not explicitly included in the competencies statements. Strengthening this would ensure that action on the determinants is a visible and concrete part of public health practice. This example illustrates the challenge of integrating the social determinants of health into our work, and generated discussion for strengthening practice.

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