Income and Health in Canada: Research Gaps and Future Opportunities

Revenu et santé au Canada: Lacunes sur le plan de la recherche et possibilités futures

Abstract

Background

The goal of this research project was to identify and suggest means of filling the gaps/needs in Canadian research activity and public policy action on the income and health relationship.

Methods

The research consisted of an environmental scan and analysis of 321 empirical research pieces from Canada (n=241), the United Kingdom (n=40) and Finland (n=40) followed by a systematic gaps/needs analysis of these studies by members of three advisory committees, consisting of researchers and policy advocates. These data were complemented by key informant interviews with researchers from Canada, the UK and Finland. The gaps/needs were then reviewed and assigned priority rankings by members of the three advisory committees.

Findings

Numerous gaps/needs in Canadian research on income and health were apparent. They fell into five main areas: (a) training and capacity building in addressing income as a health determinant; (b) developing adequate data and measures; (c) researching specific substantive health issues; (d) researching specific public policy areas; and (e) developing an understanding of the pathways and mechanisms mediating the income and health relationship. Members of the advisory committees achieved a high level of agreement concerning these gaps/needs and means of reducing them.

Conclusions

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Institute of Population Health should target specific research initiatives to help fill the identified gaps in knowledge. They should also work together with public policy institutes to synthesize findings concerning income, its distribution, and health, and help distribute these findings to the public in general and policy-makers in particular.

Résumé

Contexte

Ce projet de recherche avait pour but de cerner, en vue de corriger, les lacunes et les besoins existants sur le plan de la recherche et des politiques publiques en ce qui concerne le lien entre le revenu et la santé au Canada.

Méthodologie

L’étude comportait une analyse du contexte et un examen de 321 projets de recherche empirique du Canada (n = 241), du Royaume-Uni (n = 40) et de la Finlande (n = 40), suivis d’une analyse systématique des lacunes et besoins cernés par les membres de trois comités consultatifs regroupant des chercheurs et des conseillers en politiques. Ces données ont été complétées par des entrevues avec des informateurs clés, notamment des chercheurs du Canada, du Royaume-Uni et de la Finlande. Les lacunes et besoins ont ensuite été examinés et classés par ordre de priorité par les membres des trois comités consultatifs.

Résultats

L’exercice a mis au jour un grand nombre de lacunes et de besoins dans la recherche sur le revenu et la santé au Canada. Ils couvrent cinq grandes catégories: (a) la formation et le renforcement des capacités pour étudier le revenu comme déterminant de la santé; (b) l’élaboration de données et de mesures adéquates; (c) la recherche portant sur certains secteurs de la santé; (d) la recherche portant sur certains secteurs des politiques publiques; (e) l’acquisition d’une meilleure compréhension des voies et mécanismes exerçant un effet sur le lien entre le revenu et la santé. Les membres des comités consultatifs sont parvenus à un large consensus sur les lacunes et les besoins ainsi que sur les façons de les combler.

Conclusions

Les Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada et l’Institut de la santé publique et des populations doivent cibler des initiatives de recherche pour aider à combler les lacunes dans les connaissances. Ils doivent aussi collaborer avec les instituts de politiques publiques à la mise en rapport des résultats sur le revenu, sa répartition et la santé, et participer à la diffusion de ces résultats au public en général et aux décideurs en particulier.

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Correspondence to Dr Dennis Raphael Ph.D..

Additional information

Acknowledgement of sources of support: The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Population and Public Health Grant #: NGO - 54120.

Reconnaissance des sources d’appui: Les Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Institut de la santé publique et des populations, subvention no NGO — 54120.

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Raphael, D., Labonte, R., Colman, R. et al. Income and Health in Canada: Research Gaps and Future Opportunities. Can J Public Health 97, S18–S26 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03405393

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MeSH terms

  • Income
  • public health
  • research priorities
  • public policy

Termes MeSH

  • revenu
  • santé publique
  • priorités de recherche
  • politiques publiques