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Webinar: Living health equity values part 2: Promoting alignment between intention and practice

This webinar took place in English. Click here to access the recording (English only).

Social and cultural values are structural drivers of health inequities. Values shape our attitudes, beliefs and everyday decisions at the individual, institutional, organizational and public policy level. It follows that by engaging in values-driven responses, the Canadian public health community can collaborate across sectors to address the root causes of interconnected health problems.

Operationalizing values

For over a year, Canadians have been confronted with the devastating and disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income, racialized and Indigenous communities. Amidst calls to end police violence, engage in Indigenous reconciliation and build a future where everyone can thrive, local public health actors have been challenged to address racism, colonization and the looming climate crisis. To do this, they need to be supported to operationalize foundational public health values such as social justice, reciprocity and solidarity.

Misalignment of values

While some public health organizations explicitly name foundational values that support advancing health equity, they do not always engage in health equity action grounded in those values at the practice, program, organizational and policy levels. This misalignment between intended values and action can amplify the inequities already faced by disadvantaged communities.

Next steps

Living health equity values part 2: Promoting alignment between intention and practice will build on the knowledge exchanged in a 2019 webinar, Living health equity values within public health organizations.

In the current conversation, participants will reflect on core values that support a health equity approach in public health organizations and on value tensions that can arise in public health practice and policy. 

Pemma Muzumdar, NCCDH, guided by related NCCDH resources such as Living health equity values in public health organizations: A review and dialogue-based tool, will focus on strategies and opportunities to shift organizational cultures and operationalize health equity values (increase alignment between stated values and actual practice).

Dr. Mustafa Hirji and Kate Harold, Niagara Region, will share stories about the development and implementation of the values-driven Niagara Region Public Health & Emergency Services health equity strategic plan

Dr. Lawrence Loh and Paula Smith, Peel Region, will reflect on how values, and the values that support health equity, have been operationalized throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response. 



Claire Betker, Scientific Director, NCCDH


Pemma Muzumdar, Knowledge Translation Specialist, NCCDH Dr. Lawrence Loh, Medical Officer of Health, Region of Peel
Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Medical Officer of Health (Acting), Niagara Region Public Health
Paula Smith, Advisor, Equity and Community Engagement (seconded), Region of Peel
Kate Harold, 
Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Niagara Region Public Health

Related resources

Living health equity values in public health organizations: A review and dialogue-based tool (2021) Let’s Talk: Values and health equity (2020)
Values are not enough: Qualitative study identifying critical elements for prioritization of health equity in health systems (2020) Webinar recording: Living health equity values within public health organizations (2019)


Click here to access the recording (English only).

  • Presenters:
  • Lawrence Loh, Mustafa Hirji, Kate Harold, Paula Smith, 
  • Pemma Muzumdar
    Pemma Muzumdar

    Pemma Muzumdar, MPH

    Knowledge Translation Specialist (on parental leave)

    Pemma Muzumdar is motivated by a desire to improve well-being and planetary health, particularly those who, through intersecting factors, experience marginalization and exclusion. She is based out of Montreal, Quebec.

    Pemma has worked with the six National Collaborating Centres (NCCs) for Public Health in various capacities since 2011, developing and sharing knowledge, networks and resources for improved public health action. She completed her Masters of Public Health at the University of Waterloo in 2010, and draws from significant experience in science communication, public speaking, group facilitation, team learning and organizational development. Prior to joining the NCCs, Pemma contributed to dynamic teams at the Ontario Science Centre, Discovery Channel Canada, the Program Training and Consultation Centre of the Smoke Free Ontario Strategy, TakingITGlobal and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital.

    [email protected]
  • Claire Betker
    Claire Betker

    Claire Betker, RN, MN, CCHN(C), PHD

    Scientific Director

    Claire arrived on March 4, 2019, as the NCCDH’s scientific director. A registered nurse, she was most recently the acting Executive Director of the Population and Public Health Branch with Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. Her career has included roles in rural public health and home health, primary health care, a regional health authority and the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as previously serving as a senior knowledge translation specialist with the NCCDH. Claire is currently the president of the Canadian Nurses Association and a past president of the Community Health Nurses of Canada. Her PhD work focused on the capacity for public health leadership to advance health equity, a knowledge base that greatly informs her contributions to the NCCDH and the public health field. Claire brings a wealth of expertise, rich networks and a passion to translate knowledge and evidence, especially to position public health to advance health equity.

    [email protected]

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