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Public Health Speaks: Advancing health equity through public health competencies

“If you are serious about practicing modern public health as indicated by the core competencies, you have to make the investment.” Dr. David Mowat

“My hope with organizations looking at core competencies is that they continue to be forward thinking in that approach.” Dr. Nancy Edwards

To make a significant contribution to improving health equity, public health practitioners require competencies—knowledge, skills and attitudes—to address the social determinants of health. In this video, Canadian public health practitioners and researchers reflect on what competencies public health staff need so that they can work effectively on creating a more equal society, and on how public health organizations can support the use of competencies.

Competencies help clarify the practice of public health by identifying a set of basic requirements. These competencies include leadership, communication, advocacy, collaboration and negotiation skills, as well as evidence-informed decision-making.

Organizations that are committed to building staff competencies dedicate resources to adequately support staff development. They remain forward-thinking and focused on the end result of improving health equity.

This video was filmed at the Researcher-practitioner workshop on health equity: Bridging the Gap held in February 2012.

Speakers include

  • Dr. Sande Harlos, Medical Officer of Health, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
  • Dr. Nancy Edwards, Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Institute for Population and Public Health
  • Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health, Peel Region
  • Dr. Patricia Martens, Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba

Use this resource to

  • identify skills required by public health practitioners to move their communities, regions and provinces towards greater fairness and equity
  • learn how competencies can guide staff knowledge and skill development to address health equity
  • improve your work effectiveness and the effectiveness of your staff and colleagues


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2013). Advancing health equity through public health competencies [video]. Antigonish, NS: National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Competencies & organizational standards , National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, Video

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