WINNIPEG, Feb. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
today announced the latest phase of its public town hall consultations
on health care transformation, this one taking a closer look at the
social factors that cause people to suffer poor health in the first
"When you look at what most often drives poor health, it is factors such
as poverty, poor nutrition, substandard housing and lack of education,"
said Dr. Anna Reid, CMA president. "With so much pressure on access to
health care, we tend to focus on the supply side and ways to increase
services. Wouldn't it be more responsible from an economic standpoint,
not to mention more compassionate, to tackle the reasons behind the
high demand for health care in the first place?"
In 2011, the CMA began a National Dialogue on Health Care
Transformation, an online discussion and series of public town hall
meetings across the country looking at how to modernize Canada's health
care system. In this phase of the National Dialogue, the CMA is seeking
Canadians' views on how various social factors, or determinants, affect
their health and how to mitigate them.
The first town hall meeting of this series begins today in Winnipeg and
will focus on the social determinants of health as they relate to
Aboriginal health care.
The town halls are taking place in partnership with Maclean's magazine
and will be broadcast on CPAC, the Cable Public Affairs Channel.
"Some people may think that, in looking beyond health care, physicians
are treading off their usual path," said Dr. Reid. "We're not, really.
There is nothing more frustrating than diagnosing a health problem and
prescribing treatment for a patient in the knowledge that the cause of
the illness will persist.
"A multitude of studies over many years, both in Canada and abroad, have
proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the key to a healthy
population lies in tackling the social determinants of health. If we
really want a healthy population, and how could we not, it's time for
health care professionals, governments and all Canadians to take this
In addition to today's town hall meeting in Winnipeg, town halls will be
held in the coming months in Hamilton, Charlottetown, Calgary and
The discussion will be framed by the following four questions:
Many factors influence the health of individuals and communities, such
as income, early childhood development, housing and access to healthy
food. How do these factors - known as social determinants - affect
your health or the health of your community?
What initiatives or practices have you seen that offset the effects on
health of these various determinants?
What should governments, health care providers and others do to help
address the social determinants of health?
How can we ensure the health care system is equally accessible to all
Canadians, regardless of their income, background or other
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian
physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional
organization representing more than 77,000 of Canada's physicians and
comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51
national medical organizations. CMA's mission is to serve and unite the
physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with
the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association
For further information:
Lucie Boileau, Manager,
Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach
Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266