social determinants of health

Refugee decision a victory for compassion and common sense in Canadian health care

On June 18, 2012, I joined dozens of health care providers and concerned citizens in Saskatoon for the 1st National Day of Action against the cuts to the Interim Federal Health (IFH) program, which then offered health coverage to refugees in Canada.

Health providers in scrubs and lab coats, sporting stethoscopes and placards with slogans, marched in similar demonstrations across the country. I remember being struck then by the fact that 50 years earlier in Saskatoon, doctors had gone on strike in opposition to the...

Upstream: talking differently about health

Social factors play a significant role in determining whether we will be healthy or ill. Our health care is but one element of what makes the biggest difference in health outcomes. This has been understood for centuries, and empirically validated in recent decades with study after study demonstrating health inequalities between wealthy and disadvantaged populations. 

Yet political conversations about health still tend to fall into familiar traps. When we talk about health we return by reflex to doctors and nurses, hospitals and pharmacies. And when we talk about politics ...

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