Learn more about the foundations:
- The Social Determinants of Health
- Health Equity
- Health Ecosystem
The Social Determinants of Health
Health isn't simply a matter of our genetics or our lifestyle. It's shaped by our experiences and the environments we live, learn, work and play in.
The social determinants of health are a broad range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors that determine individual and population health. These determinants include things like our childhood experiences, access to social supports, ethnic backgrounds, gender, genetics and physical environment. Discrimination, racism and historical trauma are also important social determinants of health for many Albertans, creating further barriers to accessing health care.
Social determinants of health contribute to about 50 per cent of our overall health and well-being, while healthcare is only responsible for around 25 per cent!
Income is one of the most important factors.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shed new light on the complex ways that the social determinants of health influence health outcomes.
- What determines health?
Government of Canada
Health equity is the fair and respectful way we treat all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups. Health equity is created when individuals have the fair opportunity to reach their fullest health potential. Achieving health equity requires reducing unnecessary and avoidable differences that are unfair and unjust. Many causes of health inequities can be related to social and environmental factors such as:
- social status,
- and physical environment. Health Equity | Public Health Ontario
82 per cent of health and community leaders in Alberta agreed that there can be no progress on health care quality without progress on health equity Health Equity: Prioritization, Perception, and Progress (2021) | IHI - Institute for Healthcare Improvement
A healthcare system can be imagined as an ecosystem with patients, families, providers and organizations all coexisting and working together to create conditions that are beneficial for all. The integrated, high-performing, complex Health Ecosystem is constantly evolving to reflect changing environmental conditions, demographics, emerging technology and cultural norms.