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Stories from the field


By Lesley Dyck

It is a privilege to work in the field of health equity and the social determinants of health, in part because of the powerful stories we hear every day of public health work that is making a difference.  These stories come from across Canada and demonstrate the many creative ways practitioners apply often limited resources in their mission to decrease health inequities. 

We noticed that many of these stories illustrate nicely the 10 Promising Practices that can guide local public health work.  These practices were identified and described by the Sudbury and District Health Unit in 2011 and they continue to serve public health practitioners and organizations as they develop and implement strategies to address the social determinants of health. 

Today we are introducing a “blog series” to share some of the stories we have collected over the past year or so, and to encourage you to contribute your stories.  Starting this week we will blog about initiatives that ground the promising practices in experience and that celebrate the diversity of approaches across Canada.  Each blog will include links to essential resources available from our Resource Library as well.

We would like to hear from you!  What experiences have you had in applying any of the promising practices to improve health equity?  What resources do you use?  Please send your ideas and examples to Lesley Dyck, Knowledge Translation Specialist and help us share your stories from the field.

With thanks to Helena Wall for her work capturing the initial stories, to Hannah Moffatt for her ongoing vision for the series, and Karen Fish for her support in getting the stories to completion.


Health equity integrated into organizational practice and community engagement

Looking back at the last 10 years I have worked in the field of environmental health, the most memorable and rewarding career moments all involved connecting with the public, educating others and effecting change. These are the moments that inspire me and motivate me to continue my career in public health.

Collaborating across sectors to work through jurisdictional challenges

In over 20 years of working in public health, I have seen how Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) can be effective advocates for individual clients, but knowing when to intervene in an individual case in the name of public health can be a challenge.

Sharing Popular and Scientific Knowledge to Advance Practice

An ongoing challenge for those working to reduce inequities in health has been finding and using evidence, due in part to the traditional divide between research and practice. This challenge underscores the importance of public health organizations contributing to the evidence base. This can be done through mechanisms such as journal publications, reports, and blogs, and also through communities of practice.

Building in Equity

Health Impact Assessment is a structured method to assess the potential health impacts of proposed policies and practices. When applied correctly, health impact assessments make it possible for staff to strengthen the health-enhancing elements of a plan, and minimize the aspects that may be harmful to health.

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