Online Program

Working together to address the social determinants of health: Effects of a continuing education program for public health practitioners

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Lucie Richard, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
François Chiocchio, PhD, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
Éric Litvak, MD, MSc, MM, FRCPP, Public Health Department, Montreal Health and Social Services Agency, Montréal, QC, Canada
Sara Torres, PhD, Institut de recherche en santé publique, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Laurence Fortin-Pellerin, PhD, Institut de recherche en santé publique, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Nicole Beaudet, MSc, Public Health Department, Montréal Health and Social Services Agency, Montreal, QC
Implementing health promotion programs targeting social determinants of health often represents a challenge for public health practitioners working at the local level. Combining reflexivity, community of practice and competencies development, the Montreal Health Promotion Laboratory program is a continuing education program aimed at supporting local multidisciplinary teams in the development and implementation of innovative health promotion interventions. The purpose of this paper is to present the program and to report evidences of its effects at the professional and organizational levels at one community health center site. A longitudinal multi-method approach was used.  Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with program participants and colleagues (n = 9) after three years of  implementation. Questionnaires assessing work group processes and emerging states (e.g., communication, coordination, cohesion) were administered every nine month or so over 36 months. Quantitative results showed significant increases for process variables such as team learning, mutual support, cohesion, engagement and satisfaction early in the implementation phase with a return at the baseline level afterwards. Many of these results are echoed in the interview materials. Qualitative analysis revealed two classes of effects: professionals’ competencies development (e.g., work group skills, program planning) and improved networking with colleagues and external partners. Evidence of knowledge diffusion to other colleagues in the organization were also reported. The Health Promotion Laboratory appears as a promising strategy to develop new competencies among health professionals. The discussion will highlight the potential of the laboratory to overcome limitations of more traditional continuing education strategies as well as issues of applications in other jurisdictions.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Describe an innovative continuing education program for public health practitioners: the Health Promotion Laboratory Identify the mechanisms of action at play in the Health Promotion Laboratory Describe the professional and organizational effects of the laboratory

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, Professional Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally or provincially funded grants focusing on public health program planning or evaluation. I am currently leading the evaluation of a professional development program implemented in local community health centers in Montreal (Funding CIHR). I currently serve as a professor of public health at the Université de Montreal Faculty of Nursing. I am also currently director of the IRSPUM (University of Montreal Public Health Research Institute)
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.