You are invited to participate in an ongoing journey to re-imagine, regenerate, and reinvigorate public health in Nova Scotia.
We know the challenges faced by public health in Nova Scotia. We know that renewal is essential.
The change we desire requires collective will and a commitment from all public health practitioners and partners to adopt a new way of approaching the challenges of the public health system. This new approach requires whole-system thinking, is focused on successes, seeks innovation, and is forward-looking and action-oriented.
You are invited to co-create solutions for the future.
The Renewal of Public Health in Nova Scotia: Building a Public Health System to Meet the Needs of Nova Scotians was accepted by the Government of Nova Scotia in 2006. It outlines a ten-year blueprint for the future of public health in the province and presents 21 recommendations. The first of asks us, Nova Scotia’s public health practitioners, to “articulate and be guided by a collective vision for the public health system.”
That’s all well and good, but “public health” represents a large, diverse group of individuals. How do we go about “articulating a collective vision?”
A Journey Towards Renewal outlines the steps taken in articulating a collective vision.
In December 2008, a group of practitioners and partners in public health from across the province took on this challenge. We initiated a search to find a process that would bring people together to seek new solutions for the common good. We knew the process would have to take into account the complexity of public health. We also felt that any attempt to address the current challenges of public health demands the collective intelligence of all stakeholders. We wanted a process that would catapult us into a new beginning, an approach that would foster leadership and innovation.
We feel we’ve found a way to come together and co-create the kind of change the system requires. Based on input from a broad range of practitioners, partners and stakeholders from across the province, we have been able to articulate a purpose statement for public health and, even more exciting, identify four strategic opportunities for innovation where, if we collectively focus our attention, we can really effect some positive change in Nova Scotia’s public health system and improve the health of our population.
The purpose statement and the four strategic opportunities for innovation are outlined in this document. It may mean changing the way you work. It will almost certainly mean changing the way you think. But we feel strongly that it will also bring us all much closer to fulfilling the core functions of public health, a change that ultimately means improved health for all Nova Scotians-a goal shared by all.
Through this process and other ongoing initiatives, as well as our day-to-day work as public health practitioners it has become clear that as Nova Scotians, we need to improve our collective health. Nova Scotians need this not only for the economic viability of the health care system, but for all to be able to live to their full potential in a healthy society.
It is about concretely addressing the determinants of health to foster an environment that contributes to the optimal health of the population. This articulation of what public health now understands to be our work is articulated in Moving Forward, a document launched and presented to public health managers on September 17, 2010 and states clearly our six stakes as leaders - what we are now committed to do to improve the health of Nova Scotians.
We understand we are not there yet and we must develop the knowledge, skills and abilities over time. The six stakes are:Purpose Statement for Public Health
The Nova Scotia Public Health Standards establish the expectations for public health at provincial and District Health Authority system levels. Their development is an important milestone to renew the province’s public health system. These Standards have been driven by our purpose statement:
Public health works with others to understand the health of our communities, and acts together to improve health.
Achieving this purpose necessitates a shift in the emphasis of our work ‘further upstream’ to address the social, economic and physical environments that strongly influence the health of Nova Scotians. This shift in emphasis requires rebalancing the focus of our efforts from individuals to the health of groups and populations. These Standards have been written to support this shift. Achievement of this shift will not occur overnight, but will be actively pursued as the Standards guide public health`s actions over the coming five years. Working with our partners, we can successfully achieve this shift to optimize our impact on the health of Nova Scotians. While there will likely be great interest in these issues of how to achieve the Standards, the purpose of this document and associated protocols is to describe what public health in Nova Scotia should be doing. This is a necessary prerequisite to being able to engage in the subsequent steps of achieving their implementation."
If you have any questions or want to find out more, please contact one of the above members, the Director of Public Health Services in your District Health Authority, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep watch for updates on the progress!
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Page last updated 2012-02-23.