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Two Stories - PHP1 - Introduction to Public Health

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PHP1 - Introduction to Public Health


Table of Contents Lesson 4 - How Public Health Operates Two Stories

Two Stories

11/26/2015 12:54 PM

Two Stories - PHP1 - Introduction to Public Health

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Two Stories About Collaboration


The public health system is different but complementary to the medical care system.

1. A story about collaboration between public health and medical services

Mrs. Smith is a 75-year-old woman who has osteoporosis and is very active in her community. Her
neighbour, Mr. Mancini is 68. He lives alone and finds it difficult getting up and down the stairs at
his front entrance.
In their province, public health practitioners had implemented an annual Falls Prevention Day,
when information on how to prevent falls is shared through community organizations and the
media. Mrs. Smith went to a lunch-and-learn session at her church. She took home a checklist of
changes that she could make around her house to help eliminate the risk of falling, such as
tightening up the handrails on her stairs. She decided to increase her indoor walking program from
one to three days a week, to help her stay in shape. She planned to ask her local city councillor to
advocate for sidewalks in her neighbourhood.
Mrs. Smith decided to visit Mr. Mancini and share some of the ideas she had heard. When she
arrived at his house, Mr. Mancini was not there. He had fallen and broken his hip. He was now in
hospital and had received a total hip replacement.

Mrs. Smith visited him in the hospital. She was pleased to find that he was being given excellent
care, as well as exercises to do at home, a list of precautions about how to protect his new hip and
tips on how to prevent falling in the future. An occupational therapist who would help reinforce
these things was scheduled to visit him when he was discharged from hospital.

Concerned about others like her neighbour, Mrs. Smith phoned the public health department. She
was invited to join a local network of individuals and organizations interested in falls prevention.
The network had recognized that a combination of interventions were needed in health care settings
such as hospitals, physicians offices, emergency departments and pharmacies, and in peoples
homes and the broader community.
This story demonstrates how the best approach is a combination of activities involving interested
people and groups affected by the problem, including public health, medical care services and other
partners. Clinical services did its job to treat Mr. Mancini and worked in collaboration with public
health. Through public health, Mrs. Smith was able to channel her energies and help the broader
community, as well as her friend, Mr. Mancini.
Public health practitioners often work with voluntary health organizations to develop
comprehensive strategies in the community.

2. A story about collaboration between public health and voluntary health


organizations

Municipal council asked the public health department to take the lead on developing and
implementing a comprehensive tobacco control strategy in the community. They began by calling
together a range of stakeholders and interested parties. Three voluntary health organizations the
Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Lung Association described the types
of education, information and cessation programs they were already offering in municipal schools,
workplaces and communities. They also wanted to advocate for smoke-free policies in public
spaces. The public health department lead asked for a co-chair from one of the voluntary agencies,
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11/26/2015 12:54 PM