Advertisement

Why public health matters today and tomorrow: the role of applied public health research

  • Lindsay McLarenEmail author
  • Paula Braitstein
  • David Buckeridge
  • Damien Contandriopoulos
  • Maria I. Creatore
  • Guy Faulkner
  • David Hammond
  • Steven J. Hoffman
  • Yan Kestens
  • Scott Leatherdale
  • Jonathan McGavock
  • Wendy V. Norman
  • Candace Nykiforuk
  • Valéry Ridde
  • Janet Smylie
Special Section on Why Public Health Matters Today: Commentary

Abstract

Public health is critical to a healthy, fair, and sustainable society. Realizing this vision requires imagining a public health community that can maintain its foundational core while adapting and responding to contemporary imperatives such as entrenched inequities and ecological degradation. In this commentary, we reflect on what tomorrow’s public health might look like, from the point of view of our collective experiences as researchers in Canada who are part of an Applied Public Health Chairs program designed to support “innovative population health research that improves health equity for citizens in Canada and around the world.” We view applied public health research as sitting at the intersection of core principles for population and public health: namely sustainability, equity, and effectiveness. We further identify three attributes of a robust applied public health research community that we argue are necessary to permit contribution to those principles: researcher autonomy, sustained intersectoral research capacity, and a critical perspective on the research-practice-policy interface. Our intention is to catalyze further discussion and debate about why and how public health matters today and tomorrow, and the role of applied public health research therein.

Keywords

Public health Population health Applied research Policy Sustainability Equity 

Résumé

La santé publique est essentielle à une société saine, juste et durable. Pour donner forme à cette vision, il faut imaginer une communauté de la santé publique capable de préserver ses valeurs fondamentales tout en s’adaptant et en réagissant aux impératifs du moment, comme les inégalités persistantes et la dégradation de l’environnement. Dans notre commentaire, nous esquissons un portrait possible de la santé publique de demain en partant de notre expérience collective de chercheurs d’un programme canadien de chaires en santé publique appliquée qui visent à appuyer « la recherche innovatrice sur la santé de la population en vue d’améliorer l’équité en santé au Canada et ailleurs ». Nous considérons la recherche appliquée en santé publique comme se trouvant à la croisée des principes fondamentaux de la santé publique et des populations, à savoir : la durabilité, l’équité et l’efficacité. Nous définissons aussi les trois attributs d’une solide communauté de recherche appliquée en santé publique nécessaires selon nous au respect de ces principes : l’autonomie des chercheurs, une capacité de recherche intersectorielle soutenue et une perspective critique de l’interface entre la recherche, la pratique et les politiques. Nous voulons susciter des discussions et des débats approfondis sur l’importance de la santé publique pour aujourd’hui et pour demain et sur le rôle de la recherche appliquée en santé publique.

Mots-clés

Santé publique Santé des populations Recherche appliquée Politique (principe) Viabilité Équité 

Notes

References

  1. Brundtland G, Khalid M, Agnelli S, Al-Athel S, Chidzero B, Fadika L, Hauff V, Lang I, Shijun M, Morino de Botero M, Singh M, Okita S, and et al. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future (‘Brundtland report’). United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development.Google Scholar
  2. Canadian Public Health Association Discussion Paper. (2015). Global change and public health: Addressing the ecological determinants of health. Ottawa: Canadian Public Health Association.Google Scholar
  3. Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) (2008). Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  4. Dutton, D. J., Forest, P.-G., Kneebone, R. D., & Zwicker, J. D. (2018). Effect of provincial spending on social services and health care on health outcomes in Canada: an observational longitudinal study. CMAJ, 190(3), E66–E71.Google Scholar
  5. Fafard, P., & Hoffman, S. J. (2018). Rethinking knowledge translation for public health policy. Evidence & Policy.  https://doi.org/10.1332/174426418X15212871808802.
  6. Frumkin, H., Frank, L., & Jackson, R. (2004). Urban sprawl and public health: designing, planning and building for healthy communities. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
  7. Guyon, A., Hancock, T., Kirk, M., MacDonald, J., Neudorf, C., Sutcliffe, P., Talbot, J., Watson-Creed, G. (2017). The weakening of public health: a threat to population health and health care system sustainability. Can J Public Health, 108(1), 1–6.Google Scholar
  8. Last, J. M. (Ed.). (2001). A dictionary of epidemiology (4th ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Leatherdale, S. T., Brown, K. S., Carson, V., Childs, R. A., Dubin, J. A., Elliott, S. J., Faulkner, G., Hammond, D., Manske, S., Sabiston, C. M., Laxer, R. E., Bredin, C., & Thompson-Haile, A. (2014). The COMPASS study: a longitudinal hierarchical research platform for evaluating natural experiments related to changes in school-level programs, policies and build environment resources. BMC Public Health, 14, 331.Google Scholar
  10. Lucyk, K., & McLaren, L. (2017). Is the future of “population/public health” in Canada united or divided? Reflections from within the field. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada: Research, Policy and Practice, 37(7), 223–227.Google Scholar
  11. Manuel, D. G., Perez, R., Sanmartin, C., Taljaard, M., Hennessy, D., Wilson, K., Tanuseputro, P., Manson, H., Benett, C., Tuna, M., Fisher, S., & Rosella, L. C. (2016). Measuring burden of unhealthy behaviours using a multivariable predictive approach: life expectancy lost in Canada attributable to smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, and diet. PLoS Med, 13(8), e1002082.Google Scholar
  12. McLaren, L., & Petit, R. (2018). Universal and targeted policy to achieve health equity: a critical analysis of the example of community water fluoridation cessation in Calgary, Canada in 2011. Crit Public Health, 28(2), 153–164.Google Scholar
  13. Morton Ninomiya, M. E., Atkinson, D., Brascoupé, S., Firestone, M., Robinson, N., Reading, J., Ziegler, C. P., Maddox, R., & Smylie, J. K. (2017). Effective knowledge translation approaches and practices in indigenous health research: a systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 6(1), 34.Google Scholar
  14. O’Neill, B., Kapoor, T., & McLaren, L. (2019). Politics, science and termination: a case study of water fluoridation in Calgary in 2011. Rev Policy Res, 36(1), 99–120.Google Scholar
  15. Olivier, C., Hunt, M. R., & Ridde, V. (2016). NGO-researcher partnerships in global health research: benefits, challenges, and approaches that promote success. Dev Pract, 26(4), 444–455.Google Scholar
  16. Potvin, L., & Jones, C. M. (2011). Twenty-five years after the Ottawa charter: the critical role of health promotion for public health. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 102(4), 244–248.Google Scholar
  17. Ridde, V. (2004). Une analyse comparative entre le Canada, le Québec et la France: l’importance des rapports sociaux et politiques eu égard aux determinants et aux inégalités de la santé. L’antilibéralisme, 45(2), 343–364.Google Scholar
  18. Ridde, V. (2007). Réduire les inégalités sociales de santé: santé publique, santé communautaire ou promotion de la santé? Promot Educ, XIV(2), 111–114.Google Scholar
  19. Ridde V, Yaméogo P (2018). How Burkina Faso used evidence in deciding to launch its policy of free healthcare for children under five and women in 2016. Palgrave Communications ;119(4).Google Scholar
  20. Rotondi, M. A., O’Campo, P., O’Brien, K., Firestone, M., Wolfe, S. H., Bourgeois, C., & Smylie, J. K. (2017). Our Health Counts Toronto: using respondent-driven sampling to unmask census undercounts of an urban indigenous population in Toronto, Canada. BMJ Open, 7, e018936.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018936.Google Scholar
  21. Rutty, C., & Sullivan, S. C. (2010). This is public health: A Canadian history. Ottawa: Canadian Public Health Association.Google Scholar
  22. Schell, S. F., Luke, D. A., Schooley, M. W., Elliott, M. B., Herbers, S. H., Mueller, N. B., & Bunger, A. C. (2013). Public health program capacity for sustainability: A new framework. Implement Sci, 8, 15.Google Scholar
  23. Shaban-Nejad, A., Lavigne, M., Okhmatovskaia, A., & Buckeridge, D. L. (2017). PopHR: a knowledge-based platform to support integration, analysis, and visualization of population health data. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1387(1), 44–53.Google Scholar
  24. Steinmetz-Wood, M., Wasfi, R., Parker, G., Bornstein, L., Caron, J., & Kestens, Y. (2017). Is gentrification all bad? Positive association between gentrification and individual’s perceived neighbourhood collective efficacy in Montreal, Canada. International Journal of Health Geographics, 16(1), 24.Google Scholar
  25. Talbot J. (2018). Keynote presentation at Campus Alberta 2018 annual conference, In defense of public health: identifying opportunities to strengthen our field. Calgary, May 9.Google Scholar
  26. Tremblay, M. C., & Parent, A. A. (2014). Reflexivity in PHIR: let’s have a reflexive talk! Canadian Journal of Public Health, 105(3), e221–e223.Google Scholar
  27. Truth and Reconciliation Canada (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.Google Scholar
  28. Whitmee, S., Haines, A., Beyrer, C., Boltz, F., Capon, A. G., Berreira de Souza Dias, B., Frumkin, H., Gong, P., Head, P., Horton, R., Mace, G. M., Marten, R., Myers, S. S., Nishtar, S., Osofsky, S. A., Pattanayak, S. K., Pongsiri, M. J., Romanelli, C., Soucat, A., Vega, J., & Yach, D. (2015). Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet ommission on planetary health. Lancet, 386(10007), 1973–2028.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay McLaren
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paula Braitstein
    • 2
  • David Buckeridge
    • 3
  • Damien Contandriopoulos
    • 4
  • Maria I. Creatore
    • 5
  • Guy Faulkner
    • 6
  • David Hammond
    • 7
  • Steven J. Hoffman
    • 8
  • Yan Kestens
    • 9
  • Scott Leatherdale
    • 7
  • Jonathan McGavock
    • 10
  • Wendy V. Norman
    • 11
  • Candace Nykiforuk
    • 12
  • Valéry Ridde
    • 13
    • 14
  • Janet Smylie
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  5. 5.CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health and University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  7. 7.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  8. 8.CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health and York UniversityTorontoCanada
  9. 9.Université de MontréalMontrealCanada
  10. 10.University of Manitoba and the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  11. 11.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  12. 12.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  13. 13.IRD (French Institute For Research on Sustainable Development), CEPED (IRD-Université Paris Descartes), ERL INSERM SAGESUDUniversité Paris Sorbonne CitésParisFrance
  14. 14.University of Montreal Public Health Research Institute (IRSPUM)MontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations