In March 2007, the Public Health Agency of Canada, supporting Canadian involvement in the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health, held a consultation with civil society organizations on how to move a social determinants of health agenda forward. I participated on behalf of the Wellesley Institute. Key challenges were identified:
- public policy discourse that focuses only on economic growth and efficiency is too restricted to accommodate SDoH approaches
- limited public awareness of the impact of social determinants, and
- how to build a case for investment in SDoH
Prevailing themes in the discussions were the importance of comprehensive coordinated polices across social, economic, education, health and other key spheres that address SDoH, the need for governments to develop far better cross-sectoral collaboration and to get beyond departmental and jurisdictional silos, simpler clearer language to promote SDoH, and building on the many community-based initiatives that take broad SDoH approaches.