Stephanie Choquette is a medical student in the class of 2020 at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Public health is most often understood as “...the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts of society”. Its scope is broad and encompasses both physical and mental health. We are often attuned to the ways these efforts are not meeting the needs of our patients, and to the public-health crises that continue to plague us (pun, intended). Fifty-six long-term drinking water advisories remain on public systems on First Nations Reserves in Canada as of September 3rd, 2019. Although a significant reduction from previous years, this indicates that many Indigenous Canadians still lack access to clean drinking water. In Thunder Bay, an HIV outbreak affecting predominantly the homeless population was declared in June 2019 within the context of an ongoing tuberculosis outbreak. News coverage regularly includes threats to public-health programs and funding, and concerns from within the field about changes to public-health organization and infrastructure. During my Public Health and Preventive Medicine elective at the Interior Health Authority in Kelowna, B.C., I discovered that no matter how distant that fifth-floor board room might seem from the exam table in my future, public health is changing the lives of individuals for the better every day. ...continue reading
Professor Dame Carol Black is Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, Expert Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health, England, Chair of the Nuffield Trust, and Chair of the Governance Board of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence. She was a keynote speaker at the recent International Conference on Physician Health
Whatever the nature of their work, whatever skills they bring to bear, however strong their calling and dedication, employees come under the influences of their workplace and of those who employ them. It is as true for doctors as it is for the drivers of tube trains, the builders of Olympic stadia or civil servants in Whitehall. The evidence, gathered painstakingly over many years, in such different arenas of work, is consistent and strong. It leaves no doubt about the characteristics that we look for in identifying good work and a good workplace.
The effects of workplace influences are felt and measured to varying degrees in ways that are clear. First is the personal health and wellbeing of employees – their physical health and their mental health, the former often measurable declared, the latter often masked and hidden.
Second is the performance of the group, the team, and ultimately the institution for which they work. In health care such performance is measured in terms of the quality of patient experience, the safety of care and health outcome.
These measures correlate with features common to organisations which have achieved success in promoting staff physical and mental health and well-being. ...continue reading