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Our Impact: Social Determinants of Health

“There is strong and growing evidence that higher social and economic status is associated with better health. In fact, these two factors seem to be the most important determinants of health.”

Public Health Agency of Canada, Social Determinants of Health (2004)

Click here to view Wellspring Strategies Environmental Scan on Effective Action by Physicians on the Social Determinants of Health.


This year we added Social Determinants of Health to our areas of focus within the Division. Our first project was the production of The Poverty Intervention Tool which launched on May 27, 2014.

Using the successful version created by Ontario's Dr. Gary Bloch as our template, we produced both a local Kootenay Boundary as well as BC-wide version of the tool. The Poverty Intervention Tool guides doctors with a list of questions to help address the impact of poverty on their patients’ health and puts the resources they need to connect patients with the appropriate community supports and services at their fingertips.

Poverty is a critical social determinant of health that affects 15% of BC residents* (source: Statistics Canada). We believe strongly that using practical tools such as these will help doctors across BC have a positive impact on the lives of patients living in poverty.

The multi-discipline editorial team was supported by Nelson's Advocacy Centre; the Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation; and  input from about 100 supporters. Both the Kootenay and BC versions are available on our website's dedicated page. Media and supporters have been sharing the documents and spreading the word via social media.

Future plans include tools to further support patients, seniors, children, and First Nations.


Social Determinants News

Poverty Intervention Tool update and province-wide event

Since launching in 2014, the Poverty Tool has been adapted by multiple communities around BC. In early 2016, KB Division was approached to support development of ‘version 2.0’ of the tool at the provincial level by organization. The updated tool is expected to be available for practitioners in the fall of 2016.

In the spring 2016, KB Division with the support of Blue Cross hosted a province-wide day-long event in Vancouver discussing physician leadership in the Social Determinants of Health. The entire afternoon was dedicated to exploring what collective action on SDH might look like in BC.

Next steps that will be actioned through 2016-17 include:

  1. Creating an interdivisional network for addressing SDH supported by the Provincial Division Office.
  2. Initiating universal poverty screening in all GP practices, integrating this into EMRs.
  3. Advocating at local municipalities for a provincial poverty reduction strategy. 
  4. Creating a toolkit for integrating SDH into Primary Care Home practice.

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