DeSantis report gives snapshot of Regina
September 25, 2012
A “snapshot” of organizations working with vulnerable populations finds that offering social supports and community engagement activities are the most common services provided.
The report, A Snapshot of Regina’s Organizations at Work on the Determinants of Community Well-being, examines 37 community-based organizations (CBOs) and 11 quasi-government organizations whose work takes into account the determinants of community well-being (DCWBs) among vulnerable populations in the city.
SPHERU’s Dr. Gloria DeSantis presented the findings of this report at a recent Canadian Public Health Conference in Edmonton.
“People got the message about the role of community organizations and working on the social determinants of health,” she says.
At one point during the discussion, one person commented that these groups face a major challenge – specifically, being given little money to do pivotal, healthy communities work.
“Many of these programs rely heavily on donations and fundraising,” DeSantis says.
The report was released in late 2011 and was the subject of a community meeting in Regina earlier this year.
DeSantis worked in collaboration with consultant Carla Bolen Anderson and Wendy Stone of the Regina Police Service to produce the 88-page report.
“This research is extremely important because it forces us to draw lines between things that aren't often linked – for example, social service CBOs and health – but the research also begs numerous questions about the human service industry,” DeSantis says.
The underlying theme of the report is that most of what affects people’s health lies in influences outside the formal health treatment system. Despite this, Canada and Saskatchewan have not reduced health inequities, which in turn has negative social and economic consequences.
Saskatchewan is in a good position to have a positive impact on population health because of how it integrates service planning and delivery across sectors, through structures such as the Regional Intersectoral Committees and the Senior Inter-Ministry Steering Committee, DeSantis says. She adds that the province, however, needs to examine the outcomes and impacts of this restructuring on population health.
The Regina Regional Intersectoral Committee (RIC) initiated this research in 2009 to gain a better understanding of the community and plan strategic action for a healthier community.
As to what happens next, DeSantis suggests some directions. For one, SPHERU is interested in further exploring the health and well-being impacts of social service CBOs – in other words, how they make a difference in people’s lives and their communities. As well, she hopes the organizations that participated in the study will continue to connect with each other to advance their own work and research on the determinants of community well-being.