Learning to work differently: implementing Ontario’s Social Determinants of Health Public Health Nurse Initiative
As a part of our Public Health leadership initiative, the NCCDH produces a series of case studies exploring leadership to advance health equity in Canada. These documents are learning tools; they are designed to help public health staff reflect on the role of leadership in advancing health equity, as well as on the strategies and conditions that develop and support leaders at all levels.
In 2012, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (Ontario) provided funding for 2 new full-time equivalent positions for all 36 public health units in the province. This case study explores the development and implementation of social determinant of health public health nurse (SDH PHN) positions across local public health agencies. Using case study methodology the authors interviewed 42 participants and reviewed over 200 documents to understand the factors that influenced the implementation of these positions at the local level. The findings indicate that the following themes were important for implementation:
- Learning to work differently
- Shifting organizational practice environments
- Aligning policy expectations with implementation
The case study found that leadership played an important role in the implementation of the SDH PHN positions and in an organization’s health equity work more broadly. It highlights supports and barriers and concludes with recommendations for policy, practice, education and research.
Use this resource to
- enhance your understanding of the supports and barriers for the implementation of health equity positions in your organization
- facilitate a discussion about the role of leadership in supporting health equity action
- learn the importance of systems guidance for local action
- identify components for building the capacity for public health organizations to act on the social determinants of health and health equity
Download the summary documents
National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2015). Learning to work differently: implementing Ontario’s Social Determinants of Health Public Health Nurse Initiative. Antigonish, NS: National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health.
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