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Let’s Talk: Determinants of health

Cette ressource est également disponible en français

About the Let’s Talk series

This resource is part of the Let’s Talk series, a collection of resources designed to promote understanding of and discussion about how key concepts in health equity apply in public health practice. They are intended to be relatively brief, present core knowledge and evidence in an accessible format, and, ultimately, serve as conversation starters. To that end, they conclude with discussion questions to spark dialogue, reflection and action.

Let’s Talk: Determinants of health summarizes current thinking and opportunities for action

This Let’s Talk responds to two key challenges:

  1. Terms such as structural, social, ecological, political, economic and commercial determinants of health are in continuous circulation, yet they are not used consistently.
  2. Health system resources tend to invest in addressing health behaviours and specific conditions of daily life rather than dedicating resources to addressing multiple and interacting root causes of health and health inequity. 

Informed and inspired by conversations with diverse thought leaders, as well as relevant peer-reviewed and grey literature, the authors summarize current thinking about the social, ecological and structural determinants of health. The determinants of health: A curated resource list serves as an ideal companion document, particularly for those beginning their learning journey in this area.

A tree graphic illustrates the underlying drivers of health inequities

This Let’s Talk uses a tree graphic to illustrate the underlying drivers of health inequities and support reflective, action-focused discussion with public health professionals, policy makers and partners.

The tree depicts:

  • health issues observed in communities and populations (the leaves) 
  • behaviours that could be linked to these health issues (the trunk)
  • conditions of daily life that indirectly or directly influence health outcomes (the roots)
  • underlying drivers of these conditions and their inequitable health impacts (the soil)

Use this resource to

  • Reflect on the social, ecological and structural determinants of health
  • Discuss how these terms and concepts fit together and apply to your practice
  • Explore opportunities for action on the structural drivers that shape and interact with the conditions of daily life and, by extension, the health of individuals, families, communities and populations

 

Related resources:

Companion Document: The determinants of health: A curated resource list (Coming soon)

More from the Let's Talk series


Reference:

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2024). Let’s Talk: Determinants of health. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.

Suggested citation for illustrations:

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2024). Figure 1: Tree image depicting the causes of health inequities and opportunities for public health action. [Online image]. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Key concepts, Structural determinants, Assess and report, Document, Report / Document, Let's Talk