There are increasing numbers of tremendously innovative initiatives tackling health inequities across the country. Within health care, public health, Community Health Centres and leading regional health authorities have long led the way on addressing systemic health inequities in their communities, and on coordinating services, partnering and advocating to address the underlying social determinants of health. And many community organizations and some municipalities are working to improve the foundations of healthier and more equitable communities. More and more use of Health Equity Impact Assessment and other equity focused planning will also yield increasing information on existing systemic barriers and the needs of disadvantaged populations, and we’ll be seeing more and more population-specific program interventions.
However, an enormous gap is that the experience and lessons learned from all this local innovation is not being shared systematically, and the potential of promising interventions are not being realized. We need forums and infrastructure to share and build equity-orientated innovation. The Canadian Public Health Association’s Frontline Health is making a major contribution: it documents case studies in addressing social determinants of health on the ground and has developed an interactive atlas of projects underway across Canada.