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Canadian Public Health Association

2019

An Overview of the Healthy Parks Healthy People Movement.

April 15, 2019

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’” ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Author and biologist Rachel Carson released her famous book, Silent Spring, in September 1962 (Lytle, 2007). Credited with starting and providing support to the environmental movement in North America, this book had far reaching impacts on overarching societal cultures, as well as government and private policies, in relation to the environment and nature (Vanderburgh, 2012)…


How does a post-legalization society restrain cannabis-impaired driving? Here are two strategies that Canada is using

March 11, 2019

Has legalization caused you to worry about an uptick in cannabis-impaired driving? An article authored by Laura Kane and published by the CBC on November 15th, 2018 suggests that your fears are misplaced. Anecdotes and preliminary data collected one-month post-legalization, from various police agencies across the country, indicate that cannabis-impaired driving did not increase (Kane, 2018). An officer interviewed in the article notes that marijuana’s widespread use in Canada prior to legalization means that we likely will not see a drastic change in the prevalence or incidence of impaired…


Do You Trust Me? How Changing Public Perceptions Might Influence Public Health in Canada

January 10, 2019

In a recent public opinion survey conducted by the Ontario Science Centre in August 2017,1 it was revealed that, amongst a representative sample of 1,514 Canadians, just under half (43%) agreed with the statement that “scientific findings are a matter of opinion”, and 31% agreed that “because scientific ideas are fluid and subject to change, they cannot be trusted”. In addition, only 43% of participants agreed that they trust the government for “accurate, fact-based information”.1

Given that overall, public trust in science seems to be decreasing, it is…


2018

An Uphill Trek

August 28, 2018

Before beginning my career in public health, I worked in acute medicine as a Registered Nurse. I enjoyed being on the front lines. I monitored fevers, mixed antibiotics and reoriented confused patients. I can still hear the beeps of IV pumps and call bells ringing in my sleep. A noise with the same pitch can make me jump up, look around and imagine the worst. I enjoyed this work because I helped people at their worst. I've been at the patient’s side when they are taking their last breath. I've helped a patient take their first steps after recovering from a stroke. I've comforted family…


The marathon of health equity and public health: My journey as an undergrad

July 9, 2018

I have always been passionate about promoting social justice. Growing up in Tanzania, I witnessed equity imbalances and was part of the United Nations (UN) Youth Clubs working to raise awareness and support UN goals and initiatives at the ground level. Although there has been positive progress in health care delivery in Tanzania, much remains to be done to improve overall living conditions of all citizens. Health equity and social justice are being addressed in many countries all over the world, and being an equity champion or change agent means having the sheer will to act and develop a…


Health Literacy and Public Health

June 4, 2018

Increasingly complex health care systems require individuals to assume a high degree of autonomy and employ self-management strategies to achieve their best health. Health literacy is one primary skill useful in navigating such complex systems. To date, there is no commonly accepted definition of health literacy in either academic or grey literature. It is a relatively new concept and ambiguities prevail.  Originally defined as literacy skills such as reading, writing and numeracy in the health domain, some sources claim that health literacy has evolved into a more fluid…


Towards Reconciliation Efforts: The Need for Indigenous Voices in Indigenous Health Strategies

April 30, 2018

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its Calls to Action to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation” (TRC, 2015, p.1). Many of the calls are applicable to universities and researchers because institutions of higher learning have the resources and influence to enable change in education, health and reconciliation. This article is a precursor to the emerging literature on institutional best practices of answering the calls. The purpose is to encourage individuals who are involved and capable of being…


Wisdom2Action: Mobilizing youths' lived-experience knowledge to inform mental health services

February 22, 2018

Many young people under the age of 25 in Canada struggle with mental health issues. Overall, 75% of ongoing mental health issues develop during adolescence, with 10-20% of youth affected by some kind of mental illness, while suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–24 year olds. As our current healthcare system transforms to…


Why are students using study drugs, and what can we do about it?

January 24, 2018

Student use of off-counter stimulants for studying purposes is becoming an increasingly challenging issue as more students use them to study and negative health effects becoming increasingly reported. Recent studies suggest that more than 1 in 20 North American university students have engaged in the use of ADHD treatment drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, or Focalin for studying purposes in the past year [Non-medical use of prescription stimulants among US college students: prevalence and correlates from a…


2017

Can you imagine a public health response without signs telling people what to do?

December 20, 2017

On 9 September 2017, following an emotional fact-finding mission on tuberculosis [TB] in Igloolik and Iqaluit, Stephen Lewis concluded: “There is a TB crisis in Nunavut at this very moment…” TB is preventable and Canada is among the countries with the lowest incidence in the world. Higher rates of TB in the North are largely driven by social determinants of health, including a devastating housing crisis and chronic overcrowding, food insecurity, and a perpetual shortage of specialized nursing services. Persistent rates of infection are also fueled by a deep and long-standing mistrust of Canadian government officials in northern communities complicated by the forced removal of many Inuit from their homelands in the name of public health in the 1950’s and 60’s.