Ontario Sodium Summit
On February 16 and 17, 2012, the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network, the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Ontario Medical Association, the Ontario Stroke Network, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Public Health Ontario held the Ontario Sodium Summit at the University of Toronto’s Faculty Club. It was convened to identify and develop momentum for provincial action towards implementation of the Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada. Approximately 60 participants attended the Summit, representing a cross-section of local, provincial and national level organizations and agencies with expertise in the area of food policy as well as health. This report documents the proceedings of the Ontario Sodium Summit.
Ontario burden of disease reports: Mental health and addictions
Together with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Public Health Ontario is producing three reports that assess the burden of specific diseases and risk factors on the health of Ontarians. The Burden of Mental Health and Addictions in Ontario report will assess the burden of common mental health conditions and substance use disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This report is expected to be released in the first half of 2012.
The previous two reports are the Ontario Burden of Infectious Disease Study (ONBOIDS) and Seven More Years: The impact of smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity and stress on health and life expectancy in Ontario.
Child and youth health indicators report
Access to current data and determining child and youth health status and outcomes has been identified as a priority issue. However, public health practitioners focused on child and youth health programming in Ontario experience significant barriers and challenges in accessing information on key indicators and measures, for planning, monitoring, evaluation and surveillance purposes.
As a first step towards meeting the needs of many public health partners for access to quality, relevant Ontario data on child and youth health, Public Health Ontario is completing a comprehensive report that identifies and assesses existing and new indicators of child and youth health (0 to 19 years) of public health importance. In addition, the report will provide recommendations for the operationalization of these indicators in the Ontario context, including recommendations for a proposed approach for the ongoing population-level assessment and monitoring of child and youth health in Ontario.
A scientific review panel was established to bring expert knowledge and scientific rigour to support the development of the report. This panel is co-led by Ken Allison (Public Health Ontario) and Steve Manske (Propel Centre for Population Health Impact). In addition, a stakeholder advisory committee, co-led by Anne-Marie Holt (Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario) and Mary Fodor O’Brien (Public Health Ontario), will bring field knowledge and directional advice.
The launch meeting of the project team and scientific and stakeholder groups took place February 2012; a second meeting took place in July 2012. The final report is expected to be released in early 2013. For more information, contact Carly Heung, research coordinator.
Sparking Life Niagara
Public Health Ontario is supporting Niagara Region Public Health with their evaluation of pilot project, Sparking Life Niagara. In the project, at-risk students start the school day with 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity, which is supplemented with ‘bursts’ of activity throughout the day. The concept for the project is based on the research of Dr. John Ratey, who has extensively studied the impact of aerobic activity on students’ physical and mental health and academic performance. Other partners for the project include Niagara’s public and Catholic school boards and the Niagara Sport Commission.
The Sparking Life Niagara team presented at the Ontario Public Health Convention in April 2012 and shared information about the program, the partnerships and preliminary evaluation results from the first semester of the program. An evaluation report will be available soon. For more information, contact Jennifer Robertson, senior evaluator.
Health equity provides a framework for considering the social determinants of health and the impact on the risk and burden of chronic diseases and injuries. Good health and the determinants of positive health outcomes (e.g. income, education, housing, nutritious food) are not uniformly distributed in Ontario. Some Ontarians are at higher risk for poor health outcomes because of socio-economic disadvantages and other related factors.
Public Health Ontario is working to address health equity by:
- Collaborating with the Health Systems Strategy Division, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to revise the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) tool framework and develop a supplement guide that enables public health units to apply the framework.
- Applying the HEIA to assess the 22 recommendations in Taking action on chronic diseases: Recommendations for a healthier Ontario, a joint report developed by Public Health Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario.
- Coordinating an internal health equity committee with organization-wide representation
- Working with surveillance and epidemiology on analytic studies related to health inequities, including identifying areas of high deprivation in Ontario
HPCDIP staff were co-authors of the social determinants of health section in Chapter 12 of The Project for an Ontario Women’s Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER) study. This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of health inequities in Ontario associated with income, education, race/ethnicity, where one lives, and how these determinants differ by gender.
Chronic disease prevention and ethno-racial disparities
Public Health Ontario is interested in examining the effects of the built environment and ethno-racial differences in chronic disease risk. This work is being led by Maria Chiu, a CIHR post-doctoral fellow within HPCDIP. Maria recently received a CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR) Rising Star Award in recognition of her article, Deriving ethnic-specific BMI cutoff points for assessing diabetes risk. This award recognizes excellence in Canadian knowledge translation and research that is carried out by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from all fields and disciplines related to health services and policy research.
Ontario childhood healthy weights surveillance project
Public Health Ontario has co-led a project with the Association of Local Public Health Agencies to recommend a standardized approach to monitor the heights and weights of Ontario schoolchildren. The Ontario Childhood Healthy Weights Surveillance Steering Committee oversees the project, which originated from a proposal submitted on behalf of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health in April 2008. In June 2011, a progress update on the project was provided and an additional report is expected in 2012.
Recent conference presentations
- Collier S., Heung C., Holt A., Manske S., Allison K., Manson H. (April 4, 2012). Child and youth health indicators in Ontario: What are the gaps and what should we do about them? Presentation at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- Mitchell M., Manson H., Robertson J., Allison K., Goodman J. (April 4, 2012). Leveraging legacies: Do mega-sporting events really benefit public health? Presentation at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- Coppola D., Snelling S., Trumpickas V., Martin T. (April 3, 2012). Measuring the effectiveness of partnerships. Panel presentation at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- Manson H., Valaitis R., Bursey G., Dobbins M., Etches V., Garcia J., Horbul B.A., Kothari A., Mueller D., O’Mara L., Peroff-Johnston N., Pritchard J., Regan S., Saddek D., Timmings C., White D. (April 3, 2012). Implementation of the Ontario Public Health Standards in six Ontario health units: Key results and responses from provincial and health unit stakeholders. Panel presentation at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- Robertson J., Roberts M., Krimus T., Snelling S., Ward L. (April 3, 2012). Evaluating capacity building in public health. Poster presented at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- Kurdyak P., Cairney J., Ratnasingham S., Rehm J., Manson, H. (April 2, 2012). Opening eyes, opening minds: The burden of mental health and addictions in Ontario. Panel presentation at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- Manson H., Manuel D. (April 2, 2012). Results from the Ontario Burden of Unhealthy Living Report. Panel presentation at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- McCallum T, Robertson J. (April 2, 2012). Sparking Life Niagara Partnership: Using physical activity to promote academic achievement and health. Panel presentation at The Ontario Public Health Convention, Toronto, ON.
- Riley B., Hyndman B., Walsh B. (February 10, 2012). CDPAC Framework for action for integrated chronic disease prevention. Panel presentation at the 4th Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada Conference, Ottawa, ON.