Annual Report 2013

Public Health: It’s All Around You!

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Public health is all around you

Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

The Sudbury & District Health Unit’s catchment area is massive. Extending our services to 19 communities spanning over more than 46 000 square kilometres, the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts cover a region just slightly larger than The Netherlands.

Whether you live, work or play in Greater Sudbury, Chapleau, St. Charles, Mindemoya, Markstay-Warren, or Massey—if you look closely—public health is all around you.

Public health keeps you safe while dining at your favourite restaurants, protects international travellers with up-to-date vaccinations, and informs the public with timely messages of beach closures and product recalls. Public health promotes a healthy and balanced lifestyle through nutrition and physical activity, offers free or low-cost clinical services to at-risk clients, and provides a breastfeeding friendly environment for mothers. Public health protects children from preventable childhood diseases through vaccination and prevents influenza outbreaks through flu shot clinics and hand washing awareness. Public health calls for supports to prevent chronic diseases or cancer including advocating for smoke-free parks, tanning salon legislation, and health equity for all members of our community.

In the 2013 annual report, we showcase examples of how the public health professionals of the Sudbury & District Health Unit work to prevent disease and promote and protect health in our communities

A great year for public health

Ron Dupuis
Sudbury & District Board of Health Chair

This is the sixth year that I have the honour as Chair of the Sudbury & District Board of Health to present our Annual Report, highlighting the activities of our dedicated public health staff.

The 2013 Report provides insight into the valuable work of these staff members to improving the health of our communities and preventing disease.

A key accomplishment this year was the development of the Health Unit’s Strategic Plan. The 2013–2017 Strategic Plan acts as a roadmap to guide the SDHU as we respond to issues that impact the public’s health. Informed by staff, partners, community needs and key public health drivers, our five strategic priorities reflect the essential concepts of public health practice which include community engagement, relationships, evidence-informed practice, health equity, and public health workforce adaptability and flexibility.

None of public health’s accomplishments would be possible without important community engagement and the ongoing policy support and funding from our provincial and municipal governments. Working together, we make a difference in bettering the health of our communities.

I hope you are able to take the time to learn from and enjoy this report.

2013 Sudbury & District Board of Health

Ron Dupuis, Chair
Madeleine Dennis, Vice-Chair
Claude Belcourt
Claude Berthiaume
Janet Bradley
Evelyn Dutrisac
Brigita Gingras
Terry Kett
Ken Noland
Rita Pilon
Ursula Sauvé
Paul Schoppmann
Brenda Spencer

Smoke-free for all to enjoy

Residents in our community could breathe easy on May 1. With the help of the City of Greater Sudbury and Sudbury City Council, by-law 2013-54 was successfully passed, making all of the city’s parks, beaches, and sports fields smoke-free.

Getting an edge on physical activity

Skating is a great way to stay active in the winter. With their active, playful children in mind, community members in Markstay-Warren sought help from the Health Unit to advocate and support the need for an outdoor skating rink. Municipal council approved the motion and the rink is now successfully maintained by volunteers and parents. Partnering with the Health Unit’s Skate Exchange program, this community is making sure every child and adult who wants to lace up their skates gets the chance to get out and be active.

Making healthy food choices possible

The Health Unit works to help sow and grow healthier communities. Access to healthy, nutritious food in our community is possible through our work to promote local foods and the Sudbury & District Good Food Box program. The NutriSTEP Toddler Screening program helps parents make more informed decisions about what they are feeding their children. Food security is assessed with the annual Nutritious Food Basket report.

Coming to a theater near you

Lights, camera, action! The Health Unit made its silver screen debut with a short series of cartoons that aired at Rainbow Cinemas during the March break. A skydiving water droplet, food relaxing in a sauna, and an active apple slice show that nutritious foods can be fun too.

Is all well in your workplace?

In June, the Health Unit’s Workplace Wellness Team hosted workshops on the National Voluntary Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Standard. Attendees included 60 decision makers representing organizations from across several sectors. The keynote speaker, Andrew Harkness, who played a key role in developing the standard, provided the group with valuable information on creating safe and healthy workplaces.

Get out and get immunized

Daycares, workplaces, schools and long-term care homes are just a few of the places that contagious diseases can spread through at an alarming rate. The Health Unit’s control of infectious diseases team works year-round to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses like the flu and measles. The team immunizes in our schools, at public clinic locations, and on-site.

Let’s have a safe talk about safe sex

The Health Unit’s sexual health team provides confidential clinic services including low-cost birth control, pregnancy testing, options counselling, testing and follow-up for sexually transmitted infections, and blood-borne illnesses. Clients are educated about safe sex, harm reduction, birth control options, sexually transmitted infections, and safe relationships. Our team can be found at our downtown clinic located in the Rainbow Centre, as well as in local high schools and throughout the community providing outreach services.

Clean, safe, and ready to serve

In every restaurant, at every public event where food is served, the Health Unit works in the background to make sure food is handled safely and served properly. With inspections of food premises and training for kitchen staff on safe food handling practices, the Health Unit diligently strives to prevent food borne illnesses and outbreaks.

Enjoy the water

Not a day goes by that the Health Unit isn’t testing, sampling, or inspecting the water around us. Outside, our team of inspectors test and inspect municipally-owned beaches, splash pads, and outdoor pools and respond to hazards like e-coli and blue green algae. Inside, our team inspects public pools and spas to ensure everyone is enjoying clean and safe water.

The Baby-Friendly way

The Board of Health adopted a breastfeeding policy demonstrating the Health Unit’s commitment to support the infant feeding practices of all mothers. Members of the board, all staff, and volunteers were oriented to the Baby Friendly Initiative BFI and this new policy.

The BFI is a 10-step program that reinforces the benefits of breastfeeding. Within the Health Unit’s service area, 82% of pregnant women intend to breastfeed their newborns. However, we have found that after returning home from the hospital and for various reasons, many mothers choose not to breastfeed.

It is our goal to increase the number of breastfeeding moms in our community. Working with Health Sciences North, Our Children, Our Future, Better Beginnings Better Futures, community health centres, Best Start hubs, and health care providers, the Health Unit advocates for a more accepting, supportive, understanding, and welcoming community for breastfeeding moms and babies.

Opportunity for All—The Path to Health Equity

In May, the Health Unit revealed a comprehensive population study of its service area—Opportunity for All: The Path to Health Equity. This report unveils startling differences between the most deprived and the least deprived areas of the city, including emergency room visits, obesity, and mental health hospitalizations. The results of this study informs the programs, community outreach, and research conducted by our organization. Understanding the factors that cause inequities in health allows the Health Unit to find ways to help all members of our community reach their full health potential.

Together we can build a community in which there is Opportunity for All.

Working towards barrier-free public health services

One in seven people in Ontario has a disability. In the next 20 years, that number will rise as our population ages. Our goal is to create an accessible health unit for every employee working here and each client we serve.

The SDHU Accessibility Plan, released in December 2013, outlines our strategy and will guide our organization and its activities forward into the future.

This plan is available in both official languages and braille.

2013 Approved Budget


This item was last modified on September 21, 2023