What had the biggest impact on health outcomes?

Dr. Ryan Meili provides some insight into what has the biggest impact on our health outcomes. The answer may surprise you! 

#UpstreamThinking is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. 

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"My Basic Income": Michael Bohmeyer's Story

More than exercise or diet, income is the leading factor in determining our health, with poverty being the root cause of poor health for so many Canadians.

Enter: basic income. That is, a minimum income below which no Canadian would fallan idea that could make an enormous difference to our collective, long-term well-being. 

But beyond keeping us healthy, a minimum annual income could also revolutionize the way we look at our time, our relationships, and our work, truly challenging the idea of what's good for us.

Check out this interview with Michael Bohmeyer, a German 29-year old who decided to stop working and instead live off the $1300/month he gets from his tech startup. Bohmeyer might get you thinking-

"What would you spend your time doing if your basic needs were met?"

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Money for Nothing? The idea of a guaranteed annual income

Increasingly, we understand that social factors are better predictors of health than genetics, or lifestyle choices like diet and exercise. It may surprise you to hear that income is the leading social determinant of health in Canada.**

A Guaranteed Annual Income is one upstream idea that is getting a lot of attention these days. While not everyone agrees that a so-called "money for nothing" solution is the answer, it is one of few ideas that seriously addresses mounting income inequality and poverty in this country. Or, as the author of this Walrus article puts it, "It forces us to ask what we owe each other."


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Good Health is Good Business

Health begins in the everyday spaces of our lives. Check out this great infographic from The Public Health Institute.

"A healthy, thriving workforce makes for a healthier business. Investing in health improves productivity and makes businesses stronger." 


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The end of neighbours: How our increasingly closed-off lives are poisoning our politics and endangering our health

Do you know your neighbors? Could you pick them out of a police line-up? As our urban landscapes shift and adapt to 21st century life (much of which is experienced online), researchers are seeing some startling health effects.

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What costs more: Child care or university tuition?

This month's Hennesey's Index takes a look at the dollars Canadians shell out for child care.

To illustrate just how difficult it is to afford, child care rates are stacked up against average university tuition dollars. The results may surprise you!

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Trees Save Lives

A new study by U.S. Forest Service scientists reveals the life-saving power of trees (and no, we're not actually talking about Groot*).

By removing just 1% of pollutants from the air, trees save Americans about $7 billion annually. 1% might not sound like much, but it's making a big difference- especially if you're a city-dweller (like 81% of Canadians**). 

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Our Health Matters: Dogwood Initiative

Health begins in the spaces we live and the air we breathe. It is shaped by the choices we make together.

Check out this Dogwood Initiative campaign seeking environmental and health impact assessments for a proposed coal export project.

They are calling on British Columbians to ask their representatives for a provincial environmental assessment and a comprehensive, independent health impact assessment covering the full scope of the Fraser Surrey Docks-Texada coal export project. Read on for more info and consider signing the petition today!

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Blogging Mozambique 3: Income from Within

Upstream Executive Director, Dr. Ryan Meili, is in Mozambique this summer as part of a program that gives medical students an opportunity to work with underserved populations and get a better understanding of the social determinants of health! Back in 2010, when Ryan was on a similar trip coordinating the program, he took some time to blog about his experience.

We’re going to share a few of those experiences with you here, some four years later.

Wishing all the best to Ryan, Mahli, Abraham, and the students!

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Faces of Mental Illness


Upstream is so pleased to see Jack Saddleback, a member of our Saskatoon community, selected for the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health "Faces of Mental Illness" campaign.

As we strive for a healthy society, where everyone can enjoy full physical, social, and mental well-being, it is vital that we consider the factors that influence our mental health. The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us that these factors include "life experiences, workplace or other environments, and the social and economic conditions that shape our lives."

Sound familiar? Yep, we're talking about the social determinants of health.  Read on for Jack's story and more information about the campaign. 

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