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Learning from Practice: Joint Action for Equity – Fostering healthy aging through partnerships and social prescribing

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This Joint Action for Equity story is part of the Learning from Practice Series.

This and other stories from the Joint Action for Equity project — a collaboration of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) and National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) — highlight principles and practices that support improved relationships between public health and primary care, and the important role of communities in strengthening health systems.

This collection of stories provides examples of multisectoral partnerships and considerations for advancing the principles of primary health care and health for all.

This practice example illustrates how primary care partnered with community non-profit organizations to prevent frailty in older adults through social prescribing and action on the social determinants of health. Strategies that support further public health partnerships with primary care are highlighted.

Community Action and Resources Empowering Seniors (CARES) screens older adults for frailty risk and uses social prescribing to address goals alongside community-based organizations.  

CARES “looks at how we can identify seniors at the primary care level who may be approaching early frailty. Not even frail but getting to the point where we can say they may need help somewhere down the road in the next several years,” states Dr. Park, Regional Medical Director for Community Health Services in the Fraser Health Authority.   

The CARES program actions the levers for achieving primary health care outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The story demonstrates how primary care programs can strategically shift interventions upstream to improve population health and health equity.


Use this resource to:

  • Reflect on the importance of partnerships and multisectoral action to address current health inequities and prepare for challenges that impact population health
  • Shift community- based interventions upstream towards innovative health promotion and illness/injury prevention programs through a primary health care framework
  • Build support for formal networks and collaboration between public health, primary care, and community-based organizations


Related resources:

Reflections on the relationship between public health and primary care (2021)

Establishing a new interface between public health and primary care: A curated list (2021)

Strengthening community connections: The future of public health is at the neighbourhood scale (2022)

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2024). Learning from Practice: Joint Action for Equity – Fostering healthy aging through partnerships and social prescribing. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.  

Tags: Intersectoral action, Older Adults, Document, Case Study, Learning from Practice