Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Prologue

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Prologue

Article excerpt

Many governments in Canada are adopting the broad view of health known as the population health approach. By focussing on a broad range of determinants of health, many of which lie largely beyond the traditional health care system, a population health approach implies a sharing of responsibility for health across multiple levels of governments, multiple government ministries and various sectors of society.

In May 1999, the Institute of Health Promotion Research at the University of British Columbia hosted the "National Conference for Shared Responsibility for Health & Social Impact Assessments: Advancing the Agenda" in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Conference focussed on current issues facing policy makers in their attempts to promote a population health approach and engender greater accountability for the impact of policies and programs. A core focus of the Conference was strategies for engaging different levels of governments, government ministries and the private and non-profit sectors in promoting the population health approach. Program planners and policy makers from across government and other sectors (public, private, non-profit) came together to discuss their mutual responsibilities for population health and the impact of their respective activities on the health of Canadians. The objectives of the Conference were:

* to explore models, theories and methods relevant to population health and related decision making in health policy, research and practice;

* to examine practices and studies of population health in Canada and to identify the latest developments and exemplar experiences pointing to which approaches have worked best in which circumstances;

* to clarify the policy and program implications of adopting a population health approach in health policy, research and practice;

* to identify priorities, challenges and opportunities and to propose strategies to enhance Canadian capacity for adopting a population health approach in policy, research and practice. …

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