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Glossary

Upstream/downstream

Upstream interventions and strategies focus on improving fundamental social and economic structures in order to decrease barriers and improve supports that allow people to achieve their full health potential.

Downstream interventions and strategies focus on providing equitable access to care and services to mitigate the negative impacts of disadvantage on health.

When speaking with a member of a service club like Rotary, you could say:

“It is very important that we provide services to everyone, but if we don’t also work upstream we will never get at the root causes.  How can public health help you to invest in the social structures that make it possible for everyone to reach their full potential? ”

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