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Health care professionals are powerful advocates for change to broader health, socioeconomic and environmental conditions that impact on health.  In this section, you will find information and opportunities to advocate on select issues that the SMDHU is currently advocating on.
Social Determinants of Health
Health professionals play an important role in assessing and managing the impact of social determinants of health (SDOH) on an individual or family, and as strong advocates for systemic change.  Here are some resources to support the integration of the SDOH, and poverty in particular, into your work.

 

Clinical resources:

Professional development:

Patient resources:

 

Reports: 

 

Advocacy opportunities:

 

Novel approaches:

Health Leads  

Health Begins including Yelp for Health

 

 

Climate Change
The health unit has identified climate change as an important public health issue and is developing an action plan that is targeted for implementation by March 2015. The health unit will be communicating Environment Canada’s heat warnings to the public and community partners during the summer of 2014. Going forward, the health unit will also be working with municipalities, community agencies, school boards and daycare centres on comprehensive community heat alert planning.
Oral Health

Oral Health Advocacy, Financial Assistance and Resources

Oral health is integral to good overall health, yet is not part of our universal health care system.  Many people without dental coverage who cannot afford care visit primary care providers to alleviate oral health problems. Primary care providers interested in advocating for clients and communities to reduce oral health disparities can access information on current Ontario oral health advocacy campaigns, information on financial assistance programs and oral health reports and resources through these links. 

LGBTQ Health

The health unit continually strives to put in place best practices to create safer more positive spaces for staff, clients and community members of all gender identities and sexual orientations (LGBTQ).  We collaborate with local community partners to increase the capacity of our health and social service providers to offer equitable, culturally competent and inclusive services.

According to Rainbow Health Ontario, “LGBTQ people have many of the same health concerns as anyone else, but cultural differences and the impact of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and systemic discrimination mean that these health needs may be experienced quite differently. Due in part to negative past experiences, many LGBTQ people may delay or avoid seeking health care or choose to withhold personal information from health care providers. In general, LGBTQ people end up receiving less quality health care than the population as a whole.”

A 2008 Statistics Canada study showed that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals were more likely than heterosexuals to report having had an unmet health care need in the past year (Health Reports, Vol.19, No.1, March 2008).

Here are some resources to support the integration of LGBTQ inclusive services into your work.