News

Workshop Results from the Hamilton Health Symposium

  • August 2, 2016
  • News

Hamilton Health Symposium-March 2016          

In March, PHRI hosted a half-day symposium to understand the following:

  1. A determination of what studies are currently being done to understand and improve the health of our city and region
  2. An identification of the gaps in knowledge both locally and globally, and
  3. A consideration of the possible role of PHRI/HHS in enhancing and supporting efforts to improve the health of residents in the Hamilton region.

 There were approximately 50 attendees who hailed from several regional organizations including PHRI, HHS, McMaster University, The Social Planning and Research Council, CFC, Indwell, Mohawk College and the Hamilton Community Foundation, among others.

Online Survey Results

 

Prior to the commencement of the symposium, an online survey was sent out to groups aimed at improving and understanding the health of our city and region. The participants hailed from three main groups: academic researchers, administrative staff, and community agency personnel.

The survey results showed that current research in Hamilton fell into three categories: health outcomes, determinants of health, and research and intervention approaches.

Plenary Session

 

Welcome by Dr Yusuf, Executive Director of the Population Health Research institute. Dr. Yusuf noted that the survey results were heavily weighted toward observational studies and that he hoped that the workshop would lead to ideas for research that had a stronger intervention and analytical focus.

Jim Dunn, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University addressed future health challenges for the Hamilton region, referring to the WHO framework (a framework for action on tackling social determinants of health inequities) and pointing out its relevance in linking underlying social processes and socio-economic drivers of population health status to possible intervention approaches.

Terry Cooke, President and CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation emphasized the importance of public policy interventions on a regional scale with specific references to initiatives that the Hamilton Community Foundation has helped support. Terry also stressed the importance of community capacity building at the neighbourhood level to achieve sustainable positive change in the health and well-being of the Hamilton region population, and especially for those sub-groups who are materially and environmentally disadvantaged.

Following the Plenary sessions, the participants were then asked to participate in focused workshops.

WORKSHOP SESSION 1

Question: What do we know and what do we need to know?

 

 

 

 

 

Main points arising from the group discussions were reported back and summarized as follows:

Future Health Changes

Health determinants

Intervention approaches

Policy changes

·         Focus on wellness and quality of life issues

 

·         Chronic disease in an aging population

 

·         Child and youth physical and mental health

 

·         Child and adult obesity

 

·         Immigrant health and well-being

 

·         Healthy aging

 

·         Physical inactivity

 

·         Food security

 

·         Health education

 

·         Access to health care

 

·         Social isolation

 

·         Poverty

 

·         Income and employment; job security; income inequality

 

·         Safe neighbourhoods

 

·         Education

 

·         Housing

 

·         Locus of control for individuals, families and communities

 

·         Built environment – housing and urban infrastructure

 

·         Access to health care

 

·         Social isolation

 

·         Poverty

 

·         Income and employment; job security; income inequality

 

·         Safe neighbourhoods

 

·         Education

 

·         Housing

 

·         Locus of control for individuals, families and communities

 

·         Built environment – housing and urban infrastructure

 

·         Zoning

 

·         Mixed housing development

 

·         Local community engagement on policy and health issues

 

 

 

The issues raised could be grouped under three main headings, while realizing their interdependence: future health challenges, health determinants, and intervention approaches.

WORKSHOP SESSION 2

 

Big picture scope: What is the role of PHRI/HHS in future research to improve population health in Hamilton?

Questions asked:

 

  1. What are the implications for the research plans and priorities of PHRI/HHS?
  2. How can the expertise and assets of PHRI be applied to local health challenges in the Hamilton region?
  3. How can PHRI/HHS most effectively collaborate with other stakeholders in an integrated approach to improve population health in Hamilton region?

Recognizing the broad range of health challenges and health determinants identified in the first workshop, the groups were encouraged to focus on research priorities for what they considered primary health issues in Hamilton region. There was consensus that major priorities were: healthy aging, mental health, especially among children and youth, and obesity. In each case, participants suggested research themes and topics they considered important to advance understanding of each issue and to inform development of programs and policies designed to improve population health over the next decade.

What are priorities for future research to improve population health in the Hamilton region?

 Research on Aging

  • Dementia research
  • Family support systems and capacity to provide care
  • Employee policy re elderly care giving
  • Social supports for independent living
  • Transportation and other community services for increasing mobility
  • Determinants of quality of life for dependent seniors
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery models
  • Mental health affects caregivers and families
  • Vulnerability of inner city seniors
  • Care system “navigation” aids/advice for the elderly
  • Health literacy and community health education
  • Age-friendly community and public transit planning
  • KT of research for community planning and policy development

What are priorities for future research to improve population health in the Hamilton region?

Research on Mental Health

  • Early childhood development
  • Social skills and financial literacy in school curricula
  • Physical activity and mental health
  • Access to mental health services
  • Community workers as service providers
  • Employment and housing opportunities
  • Stigma and labelling
  • Dementia
  • Children at risk
  • Peer support for youth
  • Community coalition for children and youth mental health
  • Continuity of care services

What are priorities for future research to improve population health in the Hamilton region?

Research on Obesity

  • Social determinants of obesity
  • Prevention in early childhood
  • Health promotion of physical activity programs and places
  • Healthy eating
  • Reaching low-income populations
  • Food banks and community food programs
  • Innovative food programs – urban farm    Informed by the results of the workshop, the next steps are to form a small working group led by PHRI and involving allied agencies in the Hamilton region. The task of the working group would be to consider the design of a possible research study, probably at a neighbourhood scale, focused on analyzing mental health outcomes in children and youth in response to an intervention program delivered through community based sites.
  • Recognizing the breadth of health issues and possible research priorities identified in the two workshops, the participants were challenged in the closing discussion to decide which of the three topics of focus for the second workshop should be a priority for a research study in the Hamilton region. While there was not unanimity, the consensus of support was to focus on the mental health of children and youth.

 

  • CLOSING DISCUSSION AND NEXT STEPS
  • Martin Taylor
  • Recognizing the breadth of health issues and possible research priorities identified in the two workshops, the participants were challenged in the closing discussion to decide which of the three topics of focus for the second workshop should be a priority for a research study in the Hamilton region. While there was not unanimity, the consensus of support was to focus on the mental health of children and youth.

    Informed by the results of the workshop, the next steps are to form a small working group led by PHRI and involving allied agencies in the Hamilton region. The task of the working group would be to consider the design of a possible research study, probably at a neighbourhood scale, focused on analyzing mental health outcomes in children and youth in response to an intervention program delivered through community based sites.