Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Government of Canada invests over $7.7 million into the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health at StFX

August 26th, 2019
L-r, StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley, Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, and Nova Scotia Minister of Health, the Honourable Randy Delorey.

StFX welcomed a major investment in health on Aug. 26 as the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser were on campus to announce more than $7.7 million over eight years for the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH), hosted on the StFX campus. 

This renewed funding is to support research and evidence-based knowledge exchange to improve health equity for Canadians, and will enable Canada's public health community to take action on the social determinants of health, helping to close the gap between those who are most and least healthy, they said.

"The work of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health is essential in helping tackle challenges, which not long ago were not thought of as health issues. The stable funding announced today will help find new ways to improve our health care systems and to address disparities in access to health services across the country," the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor said. 

While all Canadians should enjoy the benefits of good health, she said persistent health inequalities exist for many, including those with lower socioeconomic status, Indigenous peoples, sexual and racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, and people living with physical or mental impairments, she said during a ceremony held in the foyer of StFX’s Physical Sciences building.

Investing in the NCCDH, recognized for its work on improving public health sector knowledge, skills, policy, structures and decision-making, will help advance health equity, reducing harm from social circumstances that diminish health in Canada.

Minister Petitpas Taylor said that when we talk about the social determinants of health, it’s about income, it’s about education, it’s about jobs. It’s about so, so much more. 

“That’s exactly the focus being done here at StFX, at the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health. 

“As Minister of Health, I see the role that the determinants of health play in people’s lives each and every day.”

As example, she said, we’ve always known that poverty is an issue, but we didn’t know how much it affected people’s health, how a number of inequalities that exist in society have a direct connection to the health of community members, from someone who can’t afford to take a day off work to visit a doctor when needed to those who must choose between buying fresh fruits and vegetables or paying rent.

The ongoing work at the NCCDH helps makes those links. 

“We’ve done a lot, but there is so much more work that needs to be done so that are fewer either/or choices.”

Mr. Fraser says the work happening at the NCCDH has made a real, tangible difference in the lives of Canadians. “There’s great work that’s come out of here and it’s essential that this work continue.”

This investment, he says, will help establish some of the best practices and best research available.

Mr. Fraser also took time to thank NCCDH scientific director Dr. Claire Betker and scientific director emeritus Connie Clement for all the work they have done. 

“We are so proud to host the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health at StFX,” said StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley as he noted the university’s own deep history of social justice and social responsibility.

"This important funding supports the critical research that plays a role in improving the health of all Canadians."

Nova Scotia Minister of Health, the Honourable Randy Delorey was also in attendance at the ceremony. 

The current work of the NCCDH includes inter-sectoral partnerships on building health equity organizational capacity, interventions to integrate equity targets, opioid surveillance, housing, Indigenous reconciliation, anti-racism initiatives, healthy built environment, mental health, food security, community interventions, and early child development.

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