Equity lens in public health (ELPH) reducing health inequities: The contribution of core public health services in BC

In BC, there are significant differences in life expectancy among geographic regions. People with low incomes have significantly poorer health than people with high incomes. Of particular concern is that many Aboriginal peoples have lower life expectancies and poorer health than the general population.

Several Canadian reports have recommended strengthening the public health system to increase health equity by closing the gap on differences in health outcomes. The recent and important development of Healthy minds, healthy people: A ten-year plan to address mental health and substance use in British Columbia and the associated public health renewal processes have been identified as a key area for research to strengthen public health action to reduce health inequities.

The overall purpose of this project is to explore and foster learning about the use of an equity lens during a period of complex system change in public health in BC, including the implementation of the ten-year plan. Our aim is to produce new knowledge for reducing systemic health inequities, especially in two key areas: mental health promotion and prevention of harms of substance use. This project includes four studies to be carried out over five years, and is linked to the Core Public Health Functions Research Initiative (CPHFRI).

Progress to date: The Equity Lens in Public Health (ELPH) project has generated knowledge relevant to improving health outcomes and experiences for those across the population impacted by the health inequities and limited access to the social determinants of health. Six KTE resources have been released to assist partners to increase the capacity for and application of a health equity lens to reduce health inequities and promote health equity; two journal articles were recently published and the team is working on several other papers. 

 For more info please visit www.uvic.ca/elph