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Centre for Determinants of Health funded with $4 million

ANTIGONISH, N.S. – St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) will receive more than $4 million over the next three years from the Public Health Agency of Canada to host the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, announced the Honourable Tony Clement, federal Minister of Health, at a press conference in Antigonish.

The health of Canadians varies widely from region to region, and population to population, and is influenced by a number of factors. Determinants like mental health, income levels, employment rates, and risk behaviours such as smoking and lack of physical activity can all have negative effects on the health of Canadians.

“This new Centre will allow public health experts across the Atlantic region and the country to focus on providing new information and tools that will help health practitioners and policy makers make better decisions,” said Minister Clement. “Canada is seen as being a world leader in identifying factors that determine health, and this Centre will improve on our current expertise.”

The Centre will help address the root pressures on Canada’s healthcare system. The information gathered and tools developed by the Centre will allow for better decision making when it comes to developing disease control strategies for such healthcare issues as cancer and diabetes, and for developing successful health promotion programs.

The Centre will build partnerships with a variety of stakeholders – governments, academic institutions, international experts, non-government organizations, researchers, and health professionals. Working together in collaboration, these partners will convert research into usable information.

“This is a major step in building collaborative health research and knowledge translation in Atlantic Canada in a way that will benefit all Canadians.” said Dr. Sean Riley, President of StFX. “Although the Centre will be housed at StFX, it is the result of a long process of collaboration and partnership with other academic and health institutions. The importance of the consortium in making this successful cannot be understated.”

StFX is partnering with Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, Cape Breton University, Cape Breton District Health Authority, University of New Brunswick (Saint John campus), Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation, the PEI Health Research Institute, and the Government of Prince Edward Island (Population Health).

Steps are being taken to expand the consortium to other applicants for the Centre. For example, negotiations are underway to include Memorial University of Newfoundland, including Grenfell College and the Nursing Department in Corner Brook.

“I am extremely proud of St. Francis Xavier University for being selected to host the Centre,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and MP for Central Nova. “In hosting the Centre, StFX is representing all of Atlantic Canada.”

To ensure that the country’s research is shared with international partners, and in turn that Canada can access a global pool of knowledge, the Centre will participate in the Canadian Reference Group to the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health.