BC Health Literacy Strategy (2010)


The Health and Literacy Institute organized by the Centre for Literacy and Bow Valley College in Calgary in October 2008[1] brought together people from across Canada and the United States who were interested in examining how to design health literacy curricula for health care providers. BC participants who attended the sessions realized then that the province was ideally positioned to lead the way in Canada by bringing together people from different sectors to collaboratively develop a provincial health literacy strategy (Health Literacy Strategy).

Over the next few months, the group[2] met to plan and convene the first BC Health Literacy Roundtable at Douglas College. On March 27, 2009, 34 individuals from a variety of organizations met to initiate discussion on the need for a Health Literacy Strategy for BC, identify existing strengths and actions and build on these as a foundation for the future, identify concrete steps to move the health literacy agenda forward, and seek consensus on next steps to maintain momentum and commitment.[3]

The Roundtable participants agreed that a strategic process was an important stage that would precede the development of a strategic plan. There was also strong support for the concept of a ‘network of networks’ approach to map and connect the various activities taking place and the organizations involved in the area of health literacy, as part of a longer range coordinated knowledge exchange and integrated process.

It became clear that there was enough interest and energy to collaboratively design a Health Literacy Strategy for the province. Fourteen Roundtable participants volunteered to continue in a coordinating capacity to maintain the momentum achieved during the day’s discussion by articulating the strategy and bringing it back to the larger group for further discussion.

Since that time, the coordinating committee has continued to meet and work on developing a Health Literacy Strategy for BC, resulting in this draft strategic plan for improving health literacy in BC. Reviewing this draft will be the next step in the conversation that is planned for the 2nd BC Health Literacy Roundtable, to take place on June 11 2010 at Douglas College.[4]

This document starts with a definition and articulation of the rationale for focusing on health literacy.  The next section presents a vision, goals and structures for the strategy.  The third section looks at the principles and values of the collaborative work of designing and implementing a Health Literacy Strategy. The fourth section explores issues related to monitoring and reporting.

[1] For more information on the Calgary Institute go to:

[2] Representatives from several organizations were involved in planning and coordinating the roundtable, including: Public Health Agency of Canada, Douglas College, Public Health Association of BC, Health and Learning Knowledge Centre of the Canadian Council on Learning, BC Academic Health Council, BC Ministry of Health Services, BC Mental Health and Addictions Services, and Providence Health Care

[3] For a report of the 1st BC Health Literacy Roundtable go to:

[4] For information on the 2nd BC Health Literacy Roundtable go to:

To access the full paper visit: BC Health Literacy Strategy_ 2010

Building a Sustainable Health in the 21st Century

Public Health Association of Quebec – Position_Statement_building_sustainable_health.pdf

Priority Health Equity Indicators for BC

Overall, British Columbians are among the healthiest people in the world yet good health is not evenly distributed across our province.  We know that about 75% of our overall health is determined by social factors such as working or living conditions, income, and educational opportunities. These factors affect the rates of chronic disease and injury, contributing to health inequity or unfair differences in health and wellbeing for people of different groups.  Research has shown that the lower a person’s socio-economic position, the higher his or her risk of poor health. Early adversity may be overcome by later improvements in social circumstances, however early experiences can leave a person more vulnerable to poor health later in life.  Health inequities have significant social and economic costs to individuals and to society as a whole.

The direct health system costs associated with providing care to a sicker and more disadvantaged population are substantial. These costs are dwarfed by the indirect costs of health inequities, such as lost productivity, lost tax revenue, absenteeism, family leave, and disability or premature death.

We are putting forward a snapshot of some current health inequities in BC and hoping to spark conversation about the value of this kind of information and the information needed to inform policy and practice.  Through a consensus process 52 equity indicators were identified. This report analyzes data for 16 of the 52 equity-related indicators across various population groups and sociodemographic and geographic dimensions. Collectively, this data begins to show patterns of inequity across the lifecourse, from early childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. As these patterns begin to emerge over time, we can start to understand which groups of people are being left behind, even
as the average British Columbian continues to live alonger and healthier life.

As you read this report, I hope you will consider:

„ How you could use these findings in your work?
„„ What more is needed to monitor trends on health inequity?
„„ What would be helpful in creating action on promoting health equity?

Please send us your thoughts, ideas andperspectives on the questions we have posed. You
can write to us directly at

Together, we all play a role in creating the right conditions and opportunities to support individuals and populations to reach their full potential for health.
Lydia Drasic
Executive Director, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Operations and Chronic Disease Prevention, BCCDC and Provincial Health Services Authority

TO view the full report visit:

Priority health equity indicators for BC

Okanagan Charter – International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges


The purpose of the Charter is threefold:

1. Guide and inspire action by providing a framework that reflects the latest concepts, processes and principles relevant to the Health Promoting Universities and Colleges movement, building upon advances since the 2005 Edmonton Charter.2

2. Generate dialogue and research that expands local, regional, national and international networks3 and accelerates action on, off and between campuses.

3. Mobilize international, cross-sector action for the integration of health in all policies and practices, thus advancing the continued development of health promoting universities and colleges.

The Charter has two Calls to Action for higher education institutions:

1. Embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates.

2. Lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.

To view the full document visit: Okanagan Charter


PHSA Population and Public Health Program’s Annual Highlights

Annual Highlights 2014-15

The highlights provide an overview of the activities PHSA team has led, collaborated on, and supported over the past year. We thank our many partners who have collaborated with us in continuing to make strides towards collective action for enhancing the health and well-being of British Columbians through chronic disease prevention and population health initiatives.


Lydia Drasic
Executive Director,

BCCDC Operations &

Chronic Disease Prevention
BC Centre for Disease Control

Provincial Health Services Authority

Public Health 101

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