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Social Determinants: Upstream Challenges

Start Date: September, 2022

What are the factors that shape people's health? In this module we lay the groundwork for understanding a biosocial approach to health: concepts, definitions and perspectives that shape the roles of health advocates and a population health approach.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Discuss different definitions of health and define a biosocial approach to health.
  • Define global health and the local and global health connections.
  • Define and discuss the concept of equity as it relates to health and well-being.
  • Describe and discuss the social determinants of health and the impact on the burden of disease.

Globalization and Health

Start Date: October, 2022

We live in an interconnected world. In this module we will discuss the role of globalization in shaping health and well-being locally and on a larger global scale.  What role does the global movement of goods, services and, indeed, illness play in shaping equitable access to the best health possible for people around the world?

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Summarize the concept of globalization and its multiple features
  • Describe the relationship between the processes of globalization and health of populations
  • Discuss multiple pathways and frameworks of the impact of globalization on health

The Inequity of Communicable Disease

Start Date: November, 2022

This module examines, very briefly, the relationship between social conditions and communicable or infectious diseases. We know that communicable disease is spread more readily when the conditions for human hosts create the ideal opportunities. However, those conditions and opportunities are often based on some very significant social inequities and inequalities. This module asks you to consider aspects of fairness and social exclusion and ways that both local and global health practice can work to address the inequities that contribute to communicable disease as threat to health, security, and economic stability.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between social determinants of health and communicable disease using examples such as HIV, and tuberculosis.
  • Discuss the role of millennium development goals (MDGs) and sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the global fight against communicable diseases using a biosocial lens.
  • Describe the role of gender, structural violence, stigma and social inequities in perpetuating the cycle of disease and poverty.
  • Describe Neglected Tropical Disease.
  • Discuss epidemiological tools, policy approaches and health promotion activities that have a social determinants and equity focus.

Non-Communicable Disease

Start Date: December, 2022

This module addresses the growing problem of non-communicable disease globally. In low and middle income countries diabetes, heart disease and hypertension are now eclipsing infectious diseases as the leading health concerns. You will consider the importance of actions to address the social and economic determinants of disease compared to the need to address health services in both local and global contexts.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between social determinants of health and NCDs/chronic disease.
  • Describe the various population health measures of the global burden of disease.
  • Describe specific social, political and environmental changes that contribute to the increase in NCDs in both High Income Countries (HICs) and Low/Middle Income Countries (LMICs)
  • Describe the “double burden“ of disease in LMICs.
  • Compare case study examples to local context.
  • Discuss key approaches to NCDs

Inner City Health Challenges

Start Date: January, 2023

This module addresses local-global health challenges by exploring the social determinants of health and how it shapes health and illness experience for people living in urban spaces. Using a biopsychosocial and health equity lens, we explore the impact of violence, poverty, homelessness, mental illness and social isolation, and access to health care to look at the impact on health and wellness.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the impact of poverty, urbanization and slum dwelling, homelessness, addictions and mental illness on health decision-making for both individuals and care providers.
  • Discuss population health approaches to increase health equity among the urban poor.
  • Discuss the complexity of harm reduction and its many forms.
  • Describe a judgement free approach to providing health care for people with complex needs.
  • Discuss the impact of social inequities, access to political participation and health systems on health, locally and globally.

Rethinking Addictions in a Social Context

Start Date: February, 2023

This module is focussed on critically re-mapping the place of drugs and ‘addiction’ in local and global contexts, exploring issues such as the origin and definition of ‘addiction’, addiction paradigms, harm reduction, and the role of people who use drugs in influencing policy change.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify the origin and definition of ‘addiction’ as a concept.
  • Discuss the various (popular & professional) paradigms for understanding addiction over the past 100 years.
  • Discuss and critique the notion of ‘harm reduction’.
  • Situate Canada’s drug policy in a broader historical context.

Women's Health, Reproductive Health and Social Justice

Start Date: March, 2023

When we talk about women’s health, it is important to remember that this is much broader than reproductive health. Population health perspectives include occupational health and safety, access to health services, educational access and the impact of social status, roles and safety. Women are more than reproductive bodies.

This module is focussed on an exploration of the full range of issues related to women’s health including occupational health, access to services, social and political roles and relations of power.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the global burden of disease for maternal and reproductive health and its relationship with development programs.
  • Discuss the politics of reproduction and choice and how families, communities and national policies shape practices.
  • Describe the ways in which gender and sexuality have an impact on access to health services and health equity more broadly.
  • Discuss the challenges that exist in providing equitable reproductive health services in rural and remote areas.
  • Describe aspects of violence against women as a health and human rights issue.

Working Toward Equity in Child Health: Leaving No One Behind

Start Date: April, 2023

In order to improve the state of early child development, governments as well as the global communities need to continuously improve the conditions for families to nurture their children by addressing economic security, flexible work, information and support, health and quality childcare needs. Barriers of access to programs and services need to be removed for ALL children.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain how an equity lens can improve child health outcomes.
  • Discuss the social determinants of health and inequity issues in relation to health outcomes for children.
  • Describe the impact of adverse events in childhood on health and well-being later in life.
  • Describe global trends in childhood morbidity and mortality and how they are linked to inequity.
  • Describe the relationship between burden of disease among children, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG #1, #3 and #4), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Approaches to Development: Partnership, Monitoring, Evaluation & Sustainability

Start Date: May, 2023

The focus of our efforts to address health inequities often centers on low incomes countries.  These are the countries where we discuss the need to “develop”. In this module we will examine the importance of systems thinking and the role of inequality in shaping health equity – including both the inequalities between countries and the inequality within societies (including our own).

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Examine critically the long term impact of post WWII politics on approaches to global development.
  • Describe different approaches to promoting global health equity at the community level, including needs based, capability based, rights based and community based approaches.
  • Discuss the meaning of authentic partnerships in promoting global health equity and sustainability.
  • Describe approaches to monitoring and evaluation.

Providing Equitable Health Care for Indigenous Peoples of Canada: Honouring the Medicine Chest

Start Date: June, 2023

In this module we will first clarify who the various Indigenous groups are and the somewhat confusing terminology used as referents to people within these groups. Then we will focus on the current health status of Indigenous Peoples and examine more closely the historical, social and political practices that had a strong impact on their current health condition.  Finally, we will explore what role you can play as a future medical practitioner in contributing to the honoring of the medicine chest clause.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Define and interpret the terminology used when referring to various Indigenous groups.
  • Outline the historical, political and cultural issues that impact the wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Describe the connections between the historical and current government practices and policies towards First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples and the related impacts on the social determinants of health, access to health services and intergenerational health outcomes.
  • Outline strategies for helping individual health care providers and health care systems to recognise the importance of culture and inclusion in the delivery of effective and safe health care services to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.

Humanitarian Response, Complex Emergencies and Health Inequities

Start Date: July, 2023

Humanitarian Response and Disaster Relief involve local and global issues. Regardless of where a disaster occurs partnerships with local governments are crucial to ensure that response is timely, appropriate and ethical. In this module we will discuss the professionalization of humanitarian response to disasters and complex emergencies. We will explore the role inequities play in contributing to hazards and vulnerabilities to disaster. Building on the movement to provide specialized training to ensure coordinated and effective responses, this module will explore critically what it means to do humanitarian work and how partnerships and sustainability can be built.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Define and describe a complex emergency using local and international examples.
  • Describe the emerging field of the Humanitarian Professional and the importance of training for this role.
  • Describe the role of global health governance, local government participation, and local and international interagency collaboration in responding to complex emergencies.
  • Describe and discuss the importance of the Sphere Standards for humanitarian response.
  • Discuss a framework for ethics in humanitarian work.

Health Equity for Newcomers

Start Date: August, 2023

This module takes us from the global and local field Humanitarian Response to the local context where newcomers, as refugees, immigrants and migrant workers, arrive and must negotiate their health and wellbeing in a new set of circumstances.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Discuss health inequities among refugees, immigrants and temporary migrants as products of social, political, historical and medical factors.
  • Describe the major health challenges faced by refugees (i.e. lack of immunization, nutritional deficiencies, lack of health care, trauma, history of communicable disease)
  • Describe the impact of changes in social determinants in the lives of resettled newcomers
  • Discuss the need for an integrated social medicine approach to wellness
  • Describe the role of settlement agencies and community partners as part of the health care team for refugees and other newcomers.