The Subcommitte on Population Health of the Standing Senate Committe on Social Affairs, Science and Technology’s mandate is to “Examine and report on the impact of the multiple factors and conditions that contribute to the health of Canada’s population – known collectively as the social determinants of health”.
The NCCHPP was invited to speak on May 7, 2008, along with the National Collaborating Centre for Heath Determinants, the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Each centre made a presentation to the subcommittee in its own area of interest or expertise.
François Benoit, the NCCHPP lead, presented to the subcommittee on knowledge translation and also included some comments on health impact assessment in Canada.
The presentation’s first theme was a discussion of the option of investing in more population health research combined with enhanced knowledge translation (KT), in order to ensure that continuous knowledge translation by many partners is undertaken to provide timely and relevant information to public health actors. The NCCHPP highlighted the unique perspective of the NCCs: they tailor their knowledge translation according to the expressed needs of public health actors. This could be contrasted to other perfectly legitimate KT activities which are determined by the research timetable, i.e. the time at which specific research is completed.
There is another perspective that is unique to the NCCs, and especially the NCCHPP, that of the conception of knowledge that incorporates scientific evidence, but also tacit and experiential knowledge, and the significance of such knowledge to public policy. Drawing on this, it was noted that the NCCs are using discussion and interaction not only in the process of KT itself but also in the process of identifying our priorities and work plans.
In concluding the KT theme, and after having drawn the attention of the Senate subcommittee to the unique perspective of the NCCs, Fran?ois Benoit stressed that knowledge translation is an important activity in the context of the renewal of our public health network and added that, while the NCCs have a different and original perspective, all different perspectives and organizations doing KT should be supported.
The second theme was the option of implementing Health Impact Assessment at the federal level. The benefits of HIA, some challenges one would face in its implementation, and how the NCCHPP is focusing its work on HIA networks, tools, training and documentation formed the key discussion points. A key point in relation to the HIA theme is its utility in advancing the development of healthy public policies. The HIA discussion was addressing another recommendation made in the Senate sub-committee report, a recommendation that will be treated in another session.
Click here to access the transcripts from the May 7 subcommittee meeting (link to the site of the Senate of Canada):
The Subcommittee’s final report was released in June 2009 and may also be accessed on the Senate of Canada’s website:
A Healthy Productive Canada: A Determinant of Health Approach
Keon and Pépin, 2009