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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Public Health year in review - top stories from the readers and writers perspectives

As the year rolls to an end what are the biggest stories in public health over the past year? Trite by some standards however a reflection of where we have come from in the past 12 months.  The site having received its 33,000th visitor this week

First your votes based on views of various postings in descending order by number of views.  The list of most popular sites contrasts dramatically with the list of what DrP thinks about the key public health issues for 2014 which follows

  1.       Hookah use:  A Science Update on a widely read subject  Feb 17
  2.       Public health officers under duress.   How well do we stand up for Canadians?Nov 20
3.       Assessing Minister of Health Ambrose's first 8 months in office. Not even close to a passing grade  March 5
4.       One year of Minister what’s-her-name? Ambrose’s first year.   Aug 13
5.       Quebec's public health system under siege  Oct 16
6.       Influenza 2014 - pandemicH1N1 the sequel  Jan 3
7.       Minimum wage, Living wage, Assured Basic Income, and the shift to Part-time work  Jan 19
8.       Positioning public and population health: An optimistic view for the future Aug 5  
From DrPHealth’s perspective, the major Canadian public health stories.
1.       Ebola and its implications July 30 threat analysis ,  Oct 20 Ebola-ied ,  Oct 20 Ebolaphobia 
2.       Appointment of the new Chief Public Health Officer and the immediate stripping of his responsibilities.  Aug 25,  Nov 13
3.       The siege against public health in Canada  Nov 20 ,  Oct 16

4.       The rise of the Oil and Gas sector – and while published in 2013, the series speaks to the very issues that played out in 2014 Dec 27, 2013 summary posting

Exploration, specifically fracking                                   Dec 5, 2013 and Oct 18, 2012
Upstream issues (mining, collection and pumping)          Oct 29, 2013
Pipeline and transport issues                                        Oct 30, 2013
Downstream operations (refining)                                  Nov 4 2013
End user contributions                                                  Nov 6, 2013
Boom- bust economies of rural and remote development Oct 9, 2013
Boom economies and the community left behind            Dec 10, 2013
5.       The rise of Transportation infrastructure as a contributor to health

Part 1 Transportation and health:  Apr 22

Part 2 Cars: Our love and addiction to the vehicle may be making us sick.   Apr 24

Part 3 Moving to active transportation: A Public Health winner: Apr 28

Park 4 Public Transit - moving the masses in a sustainable fashion. Apr 30

Part 5 Mass transit. Which method is healthiest? May 5

Part 6 A Rural Reply. May 12

Part 7 Your role in contributing to the public's health. May 15

6.       Coming of age of public health economics Dec 3

7.       The rise of Generation Squeeze Apr 9

8.       The death of the Canada Health Council and the Canada Health Accord Mar 26,  Mar 24

9.       Chikungunya disease that in one year has infected over 1 Million people and has crossed into the USA Feb 18

10.   The untold story that may belong at the top of the list is the resurgence of discrimination as manifest by racial protests in the US following police shootings, sexual discrimination at University and by own Minister of Health’s (Twitter profile showing her standing among a group of handsome males), persistent policy neglect of Canadian Aboriginal peoples, mistreatment of residents of African countries hit by Ebola, immigration debates in the US, Religious tensions that fuel the tensions between Islamic and Western nations

Please comment on which stories you believe should have made this list, or perhaps those that don’t belong here. 

May the year 2014 close with happy holidays for those who enjoy a break and our heartfelt thanks to those dedicated to serving others who selflessly work during the season so colleagues may spend time with their families and friends, or serve to protect us from others and ourselves during festive times.  

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Happy Holiday tidings - a time for Public Healthers to reflect on our personal vocations

The holiday season is upon us and DrPHealth wishes everyone the best for the season, however you celebrate.  Be sure to connect with those that have fewer friends than you, live by themselves or in whatever fashion are isolated.  Set an extra place at dinner and take the time to find someone to sit with you, your family and friends so they can share in your generosity.

Canadians are know for their generosity, a giving trend that has slowly slid over the past decade, perhaps in part from tighter finances and tighter pocketbooks.  Throughout global religions a common theme of caring for those that are less fortunate than yourself is pervasive.  Most of use have entered the caring professions with a true desire to be charitable.  At this time of the year take a moment to look into your heart and ask how true you have been personally to this lifetime commitment?

It is a time to relish in the eyes of children, whose view of this vast world is full of optimism, wonder and joy.  Our world will fall to them in the near future, and we will be dependent on their wisdom, leadership and sense of globalism for our personal wellbeing.  Keep those children within your reach filled with hope, charity and happiness - and reach out to those children who if touched by just one silent angel may blossom.

Look in the mirror and ask those insightful introspective questions - what more can I do to be a better person and what can  I do to make the world a better place now and in the future.

Happy holidays to all our friends.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Inequity – an economists view of the public health issue (and very supportive)

When economists speak to the need to address a central public health issue, we need to pay attention. 

A special report from TD Bank Economics discusses the implications of income inequality on economic growth and long-term prosperity.  TD economics special report November 24, 2014

The headline message to take home is the TD report references an OECD 2014 report  that shows a 1% increase in inequality results in a 0.6-1.1% reduction in GDP growth.  The TD study details further how Canada has performed internationally (and there are some positive indicators).   Both these resources will aid in future conversations.

Notable in the discussion is the debunking of the myth that global productivity growth benefits everyone and detailed analysis of who is benefiting the most and least. It further demonstrates that the Canadian misalignment of growth has actually been carried mostly by the middle-income earners.  The change in relative average income is reproduced below.

The growth by highest-income earners is punctuated graphically with the Canadian income share earned by the highest 1% having increased from 7 ½% to 12 ½% in the past thirty years, and one of the larger absolute and relative increases among developed countries. 

Our colleagues south of the border may well be interested in the report as well as it lays out the relatively poor performance of the US (and Mexico) on an international basis.   Comparisons between the US and Canada are notable as charted below in the disproportion of the distribution of wealth, however less “fair” work practices has fueled recent productivity gains in the US and stymied Canadian competitiveness in the international marketplace. 

The paper explores a variety of options to continue to support equity in Canada and draws heavily on analysis of changes in Gini coefficients arguing Canada’s relative success at holding the Gini coefficient relatively constant. (For more on the Gini coefficient September 2011  June 2012)   While negating increased taxation, the document does explore alternative approaches to ensuring income equality mostly through differential costs of services based on means (a more palatable form of taxation based on actual use and less open to taxation avoidance).  DrPHealth March 2014 discussed an International Monetary Fund report that supports redistribution of wealth as an economy improvement activity as well as reducing inequity.

A great read and an invaluable resource for those engaging with business and economists about the value of addressing a central public health issue.  The economic case for public health continues to mount.