Reaping What We've Sown: Canada's Health Profile Continues to Decline

By Dennis Raphael

Today’s reality is the result of yesterday’s decisions. The health of Canadians today is greatly influenced by the policy decisions made at the end of the last century. Our declining health status as a nation is the direct downstream effect of bad choices.

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Social change is at the Heart of Medicine: An Interview with CMA president Chris Simpson

By Ryan Meili

Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Global Symposium on the Role of Physicians and National Medical Associations in Addressing Health Equity and the Social Determinants of Health held in London, England. The meeting was organized by the Canadian, British and World Medical Associations and had, among other goals, an agenda to assist public health pioneer Sir Michael Marmot in making such issues central to his upcoming role as president of the World Medical Association. 

Among the attendees was Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Chris Simpson. I sat down with Dr. Simpson to explore the stories, the evidence and the politics that come into play when doctors are actors for social change. 

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How to make the Social Determinants of Health Matter: An Interview with Sir Michael Marmot

By Ryan Meili

Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Global Symposium on the Role of Physicians and National Medical Associations in Addressing Health Equity and the Social Determinants of Health held in London, England. The meeting was organized by the Canadian, British and World Medical Associations and had, among other goals, an agenda to assist public health pioneer Sir Michael Marmot in making such issues central to his upcoming role as president of the World Medical Association.

I sat down with Sir Michael to explore the stories, the evidence and the politics that come into play when doctors are actors for social change.

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Three signs someone is misleading you about income inequality in Canada

Contrary to conventional economic wisdom, inequality is no friend of the economy. Recently, the OECD estimated that increases in inequality in Canada during the 1990s are now costing our economy about $62 billion annually. That’s over 3% of GDP!

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Counterpoint: Growing income gap a health risk

On March 3, Upstream made the Financial Post. 

More specifically, a graphic we made about income inequality and health appeared above an article by Peter Shawn Taylor.

However, there were some pretty big holes in Taylor's assertions. Today, Ryan Meili addresses these gaps in his rebuttal in the Financial Post. 

NewCanadaConference_-_Meili.jpg

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It's Time for a Food First Strategy

By Dr. Trevor Hancock

Among the most essential determinants of our health is food. Only air and water are more vital.

At a bare minimum, we need enough food to ensure we don’t starve, and we also need enough of all the right components (protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) to keep us healthy. Starvation and malnutrition, it goes without saying, are bad for our health.

This column was originally posted in Victoria's Times Colonist.

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Food in the equation: 5 Conversations for 2015

By Nick Saul, President + CEO, Community Food Centres Canada

Every community in Canada should have a welcoming space where people can come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food. Community Food Centres provide people with emergency access to high-quality food in a dignified setting. People learn cooking and gardening skills there, and kids get their hands dirty in the garden and kitchen in ways that expand their tastebuds and help them make healthier food choices. Community members gain new skills, self-confidence, friends and support. Over a healthy meal, neighbours can meet, talk, and start sparking action on issues affecting their lives, like income, housing, and other social determinants of health. 

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Thinking differently about building a healthy society

By Danyaal Raza

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with my physician colleagues Ryan Meili and Ritika Goel at Upstream’s first major public event in Toronto. Thanks to a unique partnership between the Wellesley Institute and MassLBP, over 200 attendees filed into the Li Ka Shing’s main auditorium. Some even had to find extra chairs in aisles at the lecture hall’s edge.

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The View from Upstream: Why Canadian Babies Don't Sleep in Boxes

This piece by Cameron Dearlove launched a series called “The View From Upstream,” on The Community Edition. This series of columns will seek to answer the following questions: if the social determinants of health hold such promise, what are we doing locally, provincially, and nationally to apply these ideas? How do we rewrite conventional wisdom so that governments, institutions and communities are using the powerful social determinants framework to encourage longer, healthier, happier lives?

This column was originally posted here on The Community Edition.

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Good work = Good health

Last week, a major victory was won for worker's rights in a precedent setting decision handed down by the Supreme Court. The ruling determined that the Saskatchewan's Public Service Essential Service Act (Bill 5) is unconstitutional because it violates workers’ rights as laid out in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Connect upstream.