Public Health: a powerful resource to help create change
Through local boards of health, the public health system is a powerful resource to help increase health opportunities for everyone in the community.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Healthy smiles ROI=3700%
Saving $38 in dental care for every $1 invested in adding fluoride to drinking water.
Chronic disease prevention ROI=1900%
Saving up to $20 in future health care costs for every $1 invested in tobacco prevention programs.
Saving $16 in health care costs for every $1 spent on vaccinating children with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.
Early childhood development ROI=800%
Saving up to $9 in future spending on health, social and justice services for every $1 spent on early childhood health and development.
Source: Canadian Pubic Health Association. (2013). Public health: A return on investment. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from https://youtu.be/ TVZxtuZhN_M.
Global – National – Provincial – Local
Past and recent events have clearly demonstrated how public health concerns that originate and manifest themselves elsewhere can quickly become priorities for heightened vigilance and response at the local level. Whether it be SARS, Ebola, annual outbreaks of influenza, or the transmission of food-borne illnesses through the food chain, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is prepared and has the ability to effectively intervene and help protect the health of our community.
Alongside the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, Public Health Ontario, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency—even the World Health Organization—Public Health Sudbury & Districts is part of a much larger, coordinated public health system that is always at the ready.
Public health occupies itself with much more than acute emergencies. For example, the epidemics of obesity and diabetes are proving to be significant, chronic public health emergencies. And, the proliferation of foods high in fat, salt, and sugar that are void of significant nutrients require additional efforts to advocate for reductions through mandatory regulations, as well as clearer labelling for consumer awareness and informed decision making.
The health of the people in your riding and the health of your community are key considerations in community planning and policy decisions. We are proud to collaborate with you to explore ways to further support health.
The opportunities are endless
From working towards:
- enhanced alcohol policies,
- to supporting the construction of paved shoulders, sidewalks, and cycling lanes that provide safe, active transportation,
- to recognizing the importance of a food-secure community where everyone has convenient access to safe, affordable, healthy and personally acceptable food,
- to supporting housing options for people of all ages, incomes, and abilities,
- to supporting policies that will protect the health of those who are most vulnerable,
- to recognizing the importance of children’s health and development.
Vision – Action – Opportunities to benefit everyone
A broad range of factors influences our health: genetics, individual lifestyles and behaviours, as well as the physical, social, and economic environments in which we live. These factors do not have the same impact on everyone within our communities.
Not all individuals and groups of people in our communities have the same opportunities to be healthy. Some people are at greater risk of negative health outcomes due to their social and economic positions within society.
Differences in health status experienced by different groups of people that are systematic, socially produced, and unfair or unjust are defined as health inequities.
Source: Priority Populations Primer, SDHU, 2009.
Significant differences exist in health outcomes
For example, people living in Greater Sudbury’s most deprived areas have higher rates of:
- emergency department visits due to all causes—1.7 times higher
- infant mortality (the percentage of infants who die before age 1)—2.4 times higher
- premature mortality (the percentage of residents who die before age 75)—1.9 times higher
- obesity—2.0 times higher
Just as every community has challenges to overcome, each also exhibits great resilience, strengths, and opportunities for health. The actions that will have the greatest impact in each community we serve will be best informed by our collective knowledge and experience. It is important for our leaders to keep the conversation alive in their communities.
Information about our communities can be used to advocate for local, provincial and national policies and programs to improve the social and economic conditions in which we live—for example, in relation to education, employment, poverty reduction, transportation, agriculture, housing, and food security and safety.
Sudbury & District Health Unit. (2013). Opportunity for All: The Path to Health Equity. Sudbury, ON: Author.
Health equity vision 2020
Public Health Sudbury & Districts and its partners are working to improve the overall health and health equity of area citizens so that:
- Systemic and avoidable health disparities are steadily reduced and the gap in health between the best and worst off is narrowed.
- All citizens have equal opportunities for good health and well-being.
- All citizens have equitable access to a full range of high-quality public health programs and services.
Examples of vital contributions made by public health
- Preventing the spread of diseases, like influenza and measles, by offering free immunizations.
- Preventing childhood dental problems through dental health screening and emergency dental care for school-aged children.
- Responding 24/7/365 to public health emergencies, adverse drinking water events, etc.
- Protecting the community by inspecting restaurants, grocery stores, and other food premises.
- Teaching parenting skills to moms and dads so they can feel confident in raising their children to be emotionally and physically healthy.
- Promoting healthier populations and communities by collaborating with local municipalities to develop healthy public policies.
Adapted from: Association of Local Public Health Agencies. (2007, July). A public health primer for provincial candidates. Toronto, ON: Author.
What does public health do?
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is part of a network of 36 local public health units in Ontario. We are supported by provincial infrastructure including ministries and a provincial agency. Funding for public health is shared between the provincial and municipal government at a ratio of approximately 75:25. Similarly dedicated public health entities exist across Canada’s provinces and territories, while Health Canada is the source of funding and some infrastructure for Indigenous communities.
Through the delivery of strategically tailored public health programs and services, Public Health Sudbury & Districts deliberately focuses its resources and efforts to benefit people of all ages in a variety of settings—all with the goal of increasing health opportunities for all.
About Public Health Sudbury & Districts
Healthier communities for all.
Working with our communities to promote and protect health and to prevent disease for everyone.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is a progressive public health agency committed to improving health and reducing social inequities in health through evidence-informed practice.
We deliver a multitude of provincially legislated public health programs and services to 19 municipalities, and an autonomous Board of Health provides governance. We have built strong community and inter-agency partnerships with key stakeholders in the community including municipalities, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Health Sciences North, Laurentian University, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal, as well as the Sudbury Social Planning Council, and local community and health agencies.
We are guided by research, ongoing education, and the development of innovative programs and services that are responsive to community needs. We work with our community partners to improve the social, economic, and lifestyle factors that impact on health. Our goal is healthy communities where everyone can attain their full health potential—because everyone should have equal opportunities for health.
With an area of approximately 46 500 km², Public Health Sudbury & Districts has the fourth largest catchment area in Ontario. Our main office is located in Greater Sudbury and four district offices are located in Chapleau, Espanola, Mindemoya, and St. Charles.
Board of Health Structure
The Public Health Sudbury & Districts is comprised of 11 municipally elected officials and up to 10 members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Links to public health websites
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts www.phsd.ca
- Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care www.health.gov.on.ca
- Public Health Ontario www.publichealthontario.ca
- Association of Local Public Health Agencies www.alphaweb.org
- Public Health Agency of Canada www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
- Ontario Public Health Association www.opha.on.ca
This item was last modified on November 21, 2018