Tag Archives: Trevor Hancock

Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

This is not going to make me popular with my beer-drinking Morris-dancing friends, or with a lot of other people I imagine, but we need to put higher taxes on alcohol and implement other proven policies that make it less accessible and less glamorous. This is the conclusion one must come to on reading the report on Alcohol Harm in Canada just released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and a 2015 report by Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO). ...continue reading

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Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

The Iroquois Confederacy’s Great Law is said to include the principle of making decisions taking into account impacts on the  seventh generation, which means thinking 140 – 175 years ahead. That is a far cry from our modern politicians, who can barely think past the next election, never mind our businesses and stock markets that are too often focused only on the next quarter’s bottom line.

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, it seems a particularly good time to think about the next 150 years. Of course we can’t predict that far ahead; imagine how much of today’s world we could have predicted in 1867. But there is no doubt that what we do today will have impacts at least 150 years into the future, and probably much further. ...continue reading

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TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

In 2002 Donald Rumsfeld, then US Secretary of Defence, mused about what we know and don’t know. He suggested there are the ‘known unknowns’ – for example, we know we don’t know how life began – and the ‘unknown unknowns’ – the things we don’t even know we are ignorant about.

But he forgot one important category – the ignored knowns; the things we know but prefer to ignore. This is what Al Gore called the inconvenient truth and is the realm of the science denial industry. With the election of Donald Trump, who seems to make a habit of ignoring science, evidence and fact, we are entering an era of what Stephen Colbert called ‘truthiness’ back in 2005: ...continue reading

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TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

Some of the fundamental principles of our health-care system — universal access to a comprehensive range of services in a system that is publicly administered — are threatened by the court challenge being mounted by Dr. Brian Day. But there is no smoke without fire.

Back in the 1990s, I organized study tours for Swedish health-care managers interested in learning from Canada’s health-care system. In introducing them to the system, I would point out that we do not have a national health-care system, as they do in Sweden, the U.K. or many other places.

Instead, we have ...continue reading

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TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

Our health care system is not the only, and not even the most important determinant of the health of the population. But it is a determinant, and thus any threat to the proper functioning of the system is a threat to health. One such threat is the court case that started this week in the BC Supreme Court, in which Dr. Brian Day and others are seeking to overturn some of the fundamental principles on which the system is based.

Day co-founded the Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver in 1996; in essence it's a private hospital with a number of operating rooms, offering a wide range of surgical procedures. There is nothing wrong in principle with a private hospital. Most Canadians don’t seem to realise this, but much of our care is provided through privately-owned clinics – that is what your doctor’s office is. ...continue reading

TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

When Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the law prohibiting the provision of assistance to someone committing suicide in February last year, I wrote a column welcoming this ruling. That led to an invitation to address the Annual Conference of the BC Palliative Care and Hospice Association in May 2015 on the topic of  ‘healthy death’.

More recently, I have collaborated with Dr. Douglas McGregor, Medical Director of the Victoria Hospice, in conversations with hospice staff and volunteers from Victoria and across Vancouver Island. Our topic was physician-assisted death (PAD) and the dilemmas this poses for the people who work in hospice and palliative care.

I am very clear that a ‘healthy death’ is one that enables someone to have control over their way of death. ...continue reading

TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

Most of my life’s work has been in the field of population health promotion – working to improve the health of the population. Thirty years ago the World Health Organisation launched the modern version of health promotion at a landmark conference in Ottawa. I was there as a participant and the author of one of the theme papers (on creating healthy environments).

The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion defined health promotion as “the process of enabling people to increase control over, and improve their health”. Three key points stand out here. First, this is a process; as such, there really is no end point, no point at which we say ‘OK, we’ve done that, let’s move on’. No matter how healthy the population is, it can always be healthier.

Moreover, since the mechanisms involved were defined in terms of developing public policies that are good for health, creating physical and social environments that are supportive of health, strengthening community action for health, developing personal skills for health, and re-orienting health care systems to focus more on health, the process is clearly socio-political ...continue reading

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TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

We live at a time of two great – and linked – transitions. The first is that about a decade ago we became an urban species, with more than half of humanity now living in urban areas. The UN reported that in 2014 we reached 54 percent urbanization, and that we will reach 66 percent – two-thirds – by 2050.

It's expected that we will add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population by 2050 - about 1.3 million new urbanites A WEEK for the next 35 years, almost all of them in Asia and Africa. And it won’t stop there. More than 40 countries are at least 80 percent urbanized, and that is where the world is headed. Interestingly, almost half the urban population lives in small cities, with less than 500,000 population. ...continue reading

TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

Canada’s Health Ministers met in Vancouver this week. All indications are that their talks were a lot about health care and funding, and very little about health itself. After all, let’s face it, our ‘health’ ministries are really ministries of illness care, there to manage a (very expensive) illness care system. And that system is there mainly to pick up the pieces once we become sick or injured or ‘unwell’ – not so much diseased as ‘dis-eased’.

Now don’t get me wrong, when the time comes when I need it, I would like a good illness care system there to look after me and – hopefully – restore me to pretty good health. And when I am too frail to manage, I hope it will be there to care for me with kindness and compassion. But wouldn’t it be better if I didn’t need it – or didn’t need it very much? ...continue reading

TH - PHSPTrevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy

 

Canada’s health ministers will meet in Vancouver on January 20, 2016. It is good to know we have a federal government that will engage with the provinces on health care. Let’s hope they will engage on health, not just health care.

Forty years ago, the Trudeau government of the day produced the fabled Lalonde report. It became the first government in modern times to acknowledge that further improvements in the health of the population would not come primarily from more health care. ...continue reading