Public Health in Focus

Public Health in Focus is a newsletter by Public Health Sudbury & Districts to inform our community on the public health issues of the day and is issued following our regular Board of Health meetings.

Words for Thought

June 2024

Exploring the potential of AI in Public Health

Dr. Mustafa HirjiArtificial Intelligence (AI) is currently receiving a great deal of attention and interest, and for good reason. This suite of technologies, already an integral part of our daily lives, is now at the forefront of discussions as powerful new tools and product ideas emerge. We recognize that AI holds the potential to transform some aspects public health. While it is a tool that could help us to better understand and serve our population, leveraging AI responsibly requires a balanced approach that prioritizes ethical considerations, data privacy, and staff engagement.

The Artificial Intelligence for Public Health (AI4PH) at the University of Toronto, in collaboration with Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, has released a report titled Laying the Groundwork for: Artificial Intelligence to Advance Public Health in Canada (PDF). We are reviewing this report to see how its insights might align with the vision, mission, and values of Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

With ongoing resource constraints and funding that doesn’t keep up with our needs, our workload continues to grow. AI promises innovative solutions, potentially streamlining processes so we can work more efficiently and effectively.

The opportunities presented by AI are both exciting and daunting. We remain committed to exploring the possibilities of AI to enhance public health outcomes for the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts and will keep our partners informed along the way. I would also like to extend my very best wishes to all for a safe, healthy, and restful summer.

M. Mustafa Hirji MD, MPH, FRCPC
Acting Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

Need to do

Stay safe and healthy this summer!

With warm weather arriving, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reminding you to stay active, healthy, and safe! Protect yourself from heat, stay safe in the water, and remember to do a tick check when spending time outdoors.Reminder

Early summer is a time of increased risk from heat because your body has not yet adapted to the heat. Visit for tips to prevent heat-related illness!

Maintaining healthy beaches!

Public Health regularly samples the water at local public beaches. Inspection results and beach status from across our service area can be viewed by visiting the Check Before You Go! website.

Remember to do a tick check!

In May, 28 ticks were submitted to the Public Health Ontario Laboratory for identification. Nine (9) of these were identified as Ixodes scapularis, commonly known as the blacklegged tick or deer tick. Infected blacklegged ticks can spread Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.

When enjoying the outdoors, remember to check for ticks immediately after activities like gardening or hiking. This is one of the simplest ways you can protect yourself from Lyme disease.

How can Lyme disease be prevented? Visit

For the latest advice and updates, follow us on Facebook and X (Twitter) and visit our website. Don’t forget to share this information with friends and family.

Need to know

We strive for health equity by championing equal opportunities for health.

Promoting health equity: A community collaboration

On May 28, in collaboration with the Centre de santé communautaire du grand Sudbury, Public Health staff members from various teams—including health equity, healthy families, oral health, vaccine preventable diseases, and sexual health—delivered a presentation to newcomers.

Attendees learned about public health in Ontario, local public health programs and services, and how these differentiate from health services accessed within hospital or clinic settings. This distinction is crucial as it helps newcomers navigate the healthcare system more effectively.

We were honoured to be included to help create more awareness about the mandate, values, and vision of Public Health Sudbury & Districts. By ensuring that all community members, regardless of their background, have access to vital health information and resources, we take significant steps towards a more inclusive and equitable health system.

We look forward to more opportunities to engage with diverse communities to continue building a healthier future together and build impactful relationships with newcomers and racialized community members.

By participating in this event, we demonstrate our commitment to our strategic priority of equal opportunities for health by supporting awareness, education, advocacy, and policy development to address the root causes of health inequities.

We strive for ongoing excellence in local public health practice, including demonstrating accountability and monitoring the effectiveness, impact, and quality of our programs and services.

Supporting new parents

On May 13, staff attended Our Children Our Future’s Baby Basics event at Minnow Lake Place. The goal of this program is to provide information on topics such as preparation for parenting, positive parenting strategies, and healthy growth and development. The intended audience is new parents with a special focus on newcomers to Canada.

The event specifically aims to support newcomers to Canada, providing them with the resources and information they need to navigate the challenges of parenthood in a new country. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about effective parenting techniques and practices that promote the well-being of their families.

We are proud to be part of initiatives that promote positive parenting and healthy family development, especially for those who are adjusting to life in a new country

We are proud to be part of initiatives that promote positive parenting and healthy family development, especially for those who are adjusting to life in a new country.

Public Health offers parenting classes every month. Visit

Fostering Indigenous engagement

Throughout the month of June, our Indigenous Engagement Team developed a series of articles to recognize National Indigenous History Month and celebrate Indigenous ways of wellness. As part of these efforts, Public Health staff participated in a strawberry teaching and beginner beading workshop, demonstrating how connecting with culture supports spiritual wellness. Activities to support spiritual wellness will look different for everyone, but can include attending ceremonies, singing, dancing, connecting with the land, sitting with Elders, learning about traditional medicines, and crafts, such as beading.

We continue to strengthen our capacity for a culturally competent workforce with our new Indigenous Engagement Orientation module. This is now available for all staff and will be part of the orientation for all new hires to enhance understanding and experience in serving Indigenous peoples. This comprehensive module covers our Indigenous Engagement Strategy and associated policies. By enhancing knowledge in serving Indigenous peoples, we continue to build a more inclusive and respectful workplace.

Through a variety of Public Health services, we see our strategic priority of Excellence in public health practice in action for clients, communities, and stakeholders.

We establish relationships that lead to impactful partnerships, collaborations, and engagement.

Insights from Public Health Ontario’s Learning Exchange

On May 27, Public Health staff participated in a panel for Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) Learning Exchange: Sharing Experiences, Building Resilience for the Future. We were one of the public health units to present on local experiences of our review of our COVID-19 response.

Public Health highlighted key takeaways from our COVID-19 debrief sessions with our partners and staff. By sharing our findings, we contributed to the collective knowledge on improving future emergency preparedness.

This work is grounded by our strategic priority of Impactful relationships. Though this work, we are collaborating in a way that is meaningful to identify, plan, implement, and evaluate initiatives and services to work toward improving the health of the population.

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This item was last modified on June 24, 2024