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Boosting momentum: Applying knowledge to advance health equity - 2014 Environmental scan

Since 2010, the NCCDH’s strategic direction has been informed by an environmental scan it conducted to assess public health sector practices, barriers, and opportunities to advance health equity. In 2013, we went back to see what had changed and what had stayed the same. Boosting momentum summarizes our findings from a review of grey and peer-reviewed literature, key informant interviews, focus groups, and written feedback.

The 2014 scan includes references to key documents, and identifies ways that the context and practice of health equity work in the public health domain have changed since 2010, including

  • an increase in the level of attention, interest, and dialogue devoted to health equity concepts—and voiced commitment to health equity action—in the Canadian public health community
  • more public health reports that apply a health equity lens to data and how it is reported 
  • more research into the factors that make public health action possible, and into the effectiveness of health equity interventions
  • increased health equity action from other sectors
  • many new structures and organizational supports for health equity work
  • great variance in the level of leadership support for health equity
  • a need for  skill and competency development in health equity assessment and surveillance, research and evaluation of interventions, policy analysis and advocacy, and community engagement.

Participants noted that there is still no significant, concrete action to reduce health inequities. Without these actions, many argued, public health interest in health equity may become a passing fad. As a framework that can help us keep an action focus, we found overwhelming support for the four roles framework for promoting action.

The scan concludes with eight recommendations for action for the NCCDH.

Use this document to

  • investigate ways your organization can strengthen its capacity for health equity action
  • learn about health equity commitments and priorities across the country
  • find support for community engagement and intersectoral work
  • identify skills needed for health equity work, and how other jurisdictions are helping people acquire those skills
  • find tools and resources related to many aspects of health equity action


Summary Document


For a copy of the PowerPoint presentation "Leveraging Opportunities for Public Health" click here


Companion Document: Integrating social determinants of health and health equity into Canadian public health practice - 2010 Environmental Scan


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2014). Boosting momentum: applying knowledge to advance health equity. Antigonish, NS: National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Assess and report, Document, Environmental Scan