The International Institute for Sustainable Development has made a commitment to engage and train emerging leaders in the North to ensure that the work that is being done today is continued into the future with fresh insights and new directions. In 1999, IISD, in cooperation with the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council, initiated the Circumpolar Young Leaders program. The Circumpolar Young Leaders program is an experiential training program for northern youth between the ages of 20 and 30. It gives northern youth entry to--and experience with--key organizations in other circumpolar countries and in southern Canada working on northern issues, providing the foundation for a career in sustainable development policy and practice, and the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to northern sustainability.
The principles of the Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach are not new. Their international roots can be traced back to 1978 and the Alma-Ata Declaration and the 1986 Ottawa Charter. In Finland, the roots of HiAP go back to 1972 when the Economic Council of Finland, chaired by the Prime Minister, launched the 'Report of the working group exploring the goals of health'. The paper discusses the history, rationale, and implementation of the principles underlying the umbrella concept of HiAP. A rationale for implementing a new concept - HiAP in 2006 during the Finnish European Union presidency - is given. The focus here will be on implementation of HiAP. International material supporting the implementation is introduced and practical examples from Finland presented. The Benchmarking System for Health Promotion Capacity Building is introduced, since it has been used as a primary source of information for monitoring and evaluating HiAP in Finland at the local level. The experience from Finland clearly indicates that HiAP as an approach and as a way of working requires long-term commitment and vision. For working across sectors it is crucial to have data on health and health determinants and analyses of the links between health outcomes, health determinants, and policies across sectors and levels of governance. Intersectoral structures, processes, and tools for the identification of problems and solutions, decisions, and implementation across sectors are prerequisites of HiAP. Legislative backing has proven to be useful, especially in providing continuation and sustainability.
Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Vancouver, Canada; School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; School of Population Health, The University of Adelaide, Australia; InSource Research Group, Vancouver, Canada. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the growing significance of health literacy to public health, relatively little is known about how organizational capacity may be improved for planning, implementing and sustaining health literacy interventions. This study aimed to connect decision makers in a public health agency with evidence of how organizational capacity may be improved for delivering health literacy services.
A rapid realist review of published and grey literature was conducted by a partnership between the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the InSource Research Group.
Realist review methodology attempts to understand what works for whom under what circumstances, and is characterized by its focus on strategies/interventions, contexts, mechanisms and their relationship to outcome. This review was completed in collaboration with a reference panel (comprised of a broad range of PHAC representatives) and an expert panel. Literature searching was conducted using three databases supplemented with bibliographic hand searches and articles recommended by panels. Data were extracted on key variables related to definitions, strategies/interventions associated with increased organizational capacity, contextual factors associated with success (and failure), mechanisms activated as a result of different strategies and contexts, key outcomes, and evidence cited.
Strategies found to be associated with improved organizational capacity for delivering health literacy services may be classified into three domains: (1) government action; (2) organizational/practitioner action; and (3) partnership action. Government action includes developing policies to reinforce social norms; setting standards for education; conducting research; and measuring health literacy levels. Organizational/practitioner action relates to appropriate models of leadership (both high-level government engagement and distributed leadership). Innovative partnership action includes collaborations with media outlets, those producing electronic materials, community organizations and school-based programs. Contextual factors for success include positive leadership models, interorganizational relationships, and a culture committed to experimentation and learning. Potential mechanisms activated by strategies and contextual factors include increased visibility and recognition of health literacy efforts, enthusiasm and momentum for health literacy activities, reduced cognitive dissonance between vision and action, a sense of ownership for health literacy data, and creation of a common language and understanding.
Government initiated interventions and policies are powerful strategies by which organizational capacity to improve health literacy may be affected. Using the foundations created by the government policy environment, organizations may improve the impact of health literacy interventions through supported distributed leadership.
Global public health issues, including tobacco use, will be addressed most effectively if informed by relevant evidence. Additional capacity is needed to undertake and sustain relevant and rigorous research that will inform and enable learning from interventions. Despite the undisputed importance of research capacity building (RCB), there is little evidence about how to create relevant capacities. RCB for tobacco control in Canada from 2000-2010 offers a rich experience from which to learn. Lessons were derived using structured data collection from seven capacity-building initiatives and an invitational workshop, at which reflections on major contributions and lessons learned were discussed by initiative leads. Ten years of RCB for tobacco control in Canada revealed the importance of a) taking an organic approach to RCB, b) targeting and sustaining investments in a mix of RCB activities, c) vision and collaborative leadership at organizational and initiative levels, d) a focus on building community, and e) studying capacity building. The experience also provided tangible examples of RCB initiatives and how independent investments can be linked to create a coherent approach. Looking ahead, promising directions may include positioning RCB within a broader context of "field building", focusing on practical approaches to sustainability, and enhancing research on RCB.
In organizational health promotion research, health promotion capacity is a central concept that is used to describe the abilities of individuals, organizations, and communities to promote health. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the literature on health promotion capacity building and, further, to suggest an alternative theoretical perspective which draws on recent developments in organizational theory.
The paper begins by a critical discussion of the capacity building literature, which is juxtaposed with the relational perspective of contemporary organizational theory. The theoretical argument is developed in reference to the case of Danish municipal health promotion agencies, drawing on secondary sources as well as ethnographic fieldwork among public health officers.
The capacity building literature tends to reify the concept of capacity. In contrast, this paper argues that health promotion capacity is constantly defined and redefined through processes of organizing. The case study suggests that, faced with limited resources and limited knowledge, health promotion officials attain a sense of capacity through an ongoing reworking of organizational forms.
Organizational health promotion research should look for the organizational forms that are conducive to health promotion practices under shifting social circumstances.
This paper makes explicit an inherent theoretical tension in the capacity building literature and suggests a novel theoretical framework for understanding organizational capacity.
How do you make programs more appropriate and relevant for Aboriginal youth? This toolkit grew out of conversations that a number of us in the field of violence prevention and youth programming have had about this topic. We were all in agreement that programs cannot be one-size-fits-all, and that most mainstream programs do not adequately match the unique needs and strengths of Aboriginal youth. However, there was little agreement about how to undertake this process. Furthermore, we were unable to find literature to guide us in the adaptation process. This toolkit is our attempt to provide such a guide for front-line service providers, facilitators, educators, community partners and researchers. We hope that individuals from all of these groups will find something in this manual to help them improve their work with Aboriginal youth.