KMb press release / MdC communiqué de presse

York University and United Way of York Region examine link between living conditions and health. Two funding announcements will move university research into communities.

L’Université York et United Way de la région de York examinent les liens entre les conditions de vie et la santé.  L’annonce du financement de deux projets va permettre à la recherche universitaire de rejoindre les communautés

First posted by York University.

TORONTO, June 15, 2011 −If where you’re born, live and work − and the healthcare system you access − determines a lot about how healthy you’ll be, what can local governments and community agencies do to improve your well-being?

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has awarded York University and the United Way of York Region $93,000 to develop research initiatives that will examine how living conditions − the social determinants of health − affect health.

The funding, being announced today at York University’s fifth annual Knowledge Mobilization Expo at the Markham Convergence Centre, will be used for projects that will draw on the university’s strong interdisciplinary health research to respond to community needs and systemic social challenges identified by United Way of York Region.

“Social determinants of health are experienced where Canadians live − right in their communities,” said Ian Graham, vice-president of Knowledge Translation at CIHR. “University researchers and their partners in community health agencies, including those supported by the United Way, are critical to developing novel health services and health policies that have a direct outcome on the health of Canadians.”

“Collaborating and making research more accessible to our community partners and co-developing knowledge is a cornerstone of York University’s research enterprise,” said Stan Shapson, vice-president Research & Innovation. “For the last five years, we have collaborated with the United Way of York Region to connect researchers and graduate students with community and government organizations to find novel approaches that impact health and human services. York’s faculty members and our partners in community health agencies continue to work together to create innovative solutions that benefit the quality of life in our community.”

United Way of York Region is also announcing funding during the Knowledge Mobilization Expo. It is committing $150,000 through Change Inc., a social innovation incubator that it developed with York University to invest in new solutions to persistent social and health challenges faced by York Region residents. Based at the university’s research offices in York Region, Change Inc. was launched in October 2010. The United Way funding, through its Strength Investments will allow Change Inc. to provide socially-focused entrepreneurs, organizations and collaboratives with seed funding, physical space, shared administrative services and access to mentors, York researchers and graduate students. Continue reading

What determines your health? / Qu’est-ce qui détermine votre santé?

By David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York)

A KM in the AM on social determinants of health brought consensus on the challenge but fell short of imagining solutions. At ResearchImpact-York we will continue this dialogue to try to nudge the discussion forward. What will you do?

La dernière matinée de mobilisation des connaissances (KM in the AM) portant sur les déterminants sociaux de la santé a permis d’arriver à un consensus concernant les défis, mais n’a pu dégager clairement des pistes de solution partagées. Chez ResearchImpact – York, nous poursuivrons le dialogue afin de faire avancer la discussions. Et vous, qu’allez-vous faire?

Denis Raphael (School of Health Policy and Management, York University has written, “the primary factors that shape the health and well-being of Canadians – the factors that will give us longer, better lives – are to be found in the actual living conditions that Canadians experience on a daily basis.” WHO defines these conditions as social determinants of health (SDOH), “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The SDOH are mostly responsible for health inequities.” On April 12, ResearchImpact-York hosted a KM in the AM on social determinants of health (SDOH). Part of our suite of KMb services, KM in the AM is a monthly breakfast meeting where university researchers and non-academic stakeholders exchange information and sow the seeds of future collaborations.

Mina Singh and Beryl Pilkington from York’s School of Nursing presented along with Carolyn Mooi from the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Nicky Wright from the York Region District School Board. The presentations kicked off a discussion among the 18 attendees from community and municipal agencies and throughout York Region. Discussion (and there was plenty) focused on the health outcomes related to SDOH: immigration, poverty, homelessness, disability, seniors with people experiencing increased health challenges when more than one of these SDOH intersect. Everyone in the room could speak to the challenges but few were moving to solutions. Local solutions like Mississauga’s investment in community fitness program like Pilates were cited as one example. Nicky charged us to go home and help one person that evening illustrating that we all bear responsibly for being part of the solution.  Continue reading