Public policy and health
It is widely accepted that the health of a population is influenced by a set of factors known as health determinants. These are linked to social and physical environment, level of education, socioeconomic conditions, and individual lifestyle habits. In short, impacts on health have various origins and involve a multitude of actors from different fields with widely ranging practices and knowledge. Seen from this angle, health depends on many sectors.
A lack of reflection and effort invested at the source is likely to lead to real health problems.
Yes, but… it's not our priority!
Decisions involving issues such as housing, urban planning, school dropout rates, atmospheric pollution, income and access to bicycle paths have an impact on health. A lack of reflection and effort invested at the source is likely to lead to real health problems, which then become the responsibility of the health sector and its ministry. As a result, the proportion of public funding provided to the health sector will constantly increase. A little more cohesion could lead to a better sharing of resources!
Yes, but… it's too complicated!
There is consensus on the process for conducting a prospective health impact assessment. The steps to follow begin with screening and end with a summary analysis, and may include a more in-depth analysis and monitoring of impacts.
Yes, but… we don't have enough time or resources!
While more and more knowledge is available, we have less and less time to consult it. Nevertheless, we now have various tools such as summaries and news bulletins that facilitate our access to knowledge. Making better-founded decisions could lead to long-term benefits. It is time to take action!
Main researcher: Jean Turgeon, École nationale d'administration publique
Original title: L'adoption de politiques publiques favorables à la santé pour le Québec