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Letters to the Editor and Comings and Goings, Late April 2005

I Introduction

This week we have some comings and goings and letters updating previous articles on the provincial stroke strategy, public health and alcohol policy, and technology tips for health promoters.

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II Letters to the Editor

A Health Promotion for the Ontario Stroke Strategy, 2004-2005

[Ed: Recent OHPE articles on the Stroke Strategy include OHPE 401.1, The OPC Stroke Prevention Initiative,= (, and OHPE 404.1, The Self-Help Resource Centre's Empowering Stroke Prevention Project (]

Thanks to Suzanne Schwenger from Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse and Erin Gilgan, from the Self-Help Resource Centre for their articles on February 25, 2005, and March 28, 2005, describing their respective stroke prevention projects. These are two of many initiatives supported through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care's Ontario Stroke Strategy (OSS). Since its introduction in 2000, the Ontario Stroke Strategy has been implemented using a "continuum of care" approach--focusing on aspects of health care including health promotion, primary and secondary care, acute services, rehabilitation, and long-term care.

Other Ontario Stroke Strategy health promotion projects supported in 2004-2005 have focused on

* public education and awareness building related to stroke prevention

* supports for addressing relevant stroke risk factors and avoiding risk factors

* fostering collaboration and capacity building for stroke prevention

* creating environments supportive of stroke prevention

Specific projects have included

* Public Education and Awareness

1) Maintaining Public Awareness of Stroke Warning Signs through the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario's (HSFO's) television media campaign

2) Enhancement and continuation of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario's (HSFO) Blood Pressure Initiative

Supports for addressing relevant stroke risk factors and avoiding risk factors

3) Support for enhanced local programming promoting physical activity through enhancements of the program "Walk this Way" to address walking promotion for older adults and seniors

4) Support for community programming promoting healthy eating through enhancements to existing programs managed by the Nutrition Resource Centre

5) Development of an implementation guidebook for the Community Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP), a community-based program through which seniors trained as peer health educators help other seniors obtain vital information concerning their cardiovascular health status in pharmacy clinics. Pharmacists and family physicians receive "alerts" about each patient who attends a clinic through the program's "feedback loop".

Collaboration and Capacity Building

6) Dissemination of Best Practices in Stroke Prevention, through adoption and adaptation of Best and Promising Practices for Stroke Prevention at the local level in 6 communities

7) Continued investment through the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse (OPC) Stroke Prevention Initiative in building partnerships between stroke sites and health promotion initiatives and enhanced integration with community health promotion initiatives and organizations (described by S. Schwanger, 2/25/05)

8) Provincial coordination support offered within the OSS "system" -- led by the HSFO to foster collaboration between many stakeholders in the stroke system

* Creating environments supportive of stroke prevention

9) Support for comprehensive workplace health promotion in Ontario through efforts of The Health Communication Unit to build capacity with consultation supports, enhancements to the virtual web community and development of resources.

For more information about Health Promotion for the Ontario Stroke Strategy, contact Sarah Lambert at (416) 314-5514.

Sarah Lambert

Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Branch

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

B Update on Technology for Health Promoters

[Ed: Previous technology articles include OHPE Bulletin 65.1, Reflections on 13 years of information systems for Health Promotion (, OHPE Bulletin 123.1, The Competition for Online Community (, and OHPE Bulletin 52.1, A Socio-Technical Information Infrastructure for Community and Organizational Development (]

A web site is known by the connections it keeps. In life, the number and quality of connections we have can determine everything from personal longevity to organizational success. Similar phenomenon apply to web sites. The number of links to a web site effects the placement of that web site in search listings. Links show who is thinking of you and also willing to refer to you. Links should generate desired attention.

The value of a network increases with the number of connections among its members. Carefully selecting links to quality resources useful to the readers on your web site is sound online strategy. Similarly, knowing who is referring to your site rounds out the online network picture.

Google is best for finding out who is linking to a specific page. For example, using the Google home page, entering

displays 14 links to the comprehensive subject area search on OHPE. And all but one are from the OHPE site itself.

This was a surprise. If you don't have the subject area search on your web site, bookmark it as a personal favourite to tap into years of collective wisdom and information about health promotion.

Yahoo is best for finding out who is linking to any part of a site. On Yahoo, enter: to see the 728 links to the entire OHPE Bulletin web site!

As expected, many links will be from the same collaborators. What is interesting, in the OHPE example, is the large number of links to specific feature articles and other items in OHPE. Such information helps validate the orginal intent for establishing an online presence to make e-bulletin content widely available.

Take a moment and get a network view of the web site that represents your online contribution to health promotion. Replace the examples above with your web address of interest. Note that neither Google nor Yahoo special link commands include the familiar http://.

Web site tracking software can provide additional details for evaluating a web site. The above will provide a picture of your web connections.

A. Simon Mielniczuk - ITS Co-operative Inc.

Tel: (416) 828-2118

Please visit our community asset demo at

C Alcohol and Public Health: Implications to changes to the LCBO

[Ed: Our last article from OHPE on alcohol policy was OHPE 233.1, Taking Action on Alcohol-related Problems in the Workplace: Lessons Learned (].

On January 11, 2005, the Ontario government appointed an expert panel to conduct a broad review of Ontario's beverage alcohol system and to develop recommendations on how to get more value from the system for both consumers and taxpayers (, 2005).

Regrettably, the Premier refused a public health voice on the panel. This lack of input from the public health field causes great concern on a number of levels.

To begin, alcohol is not an ordinary commodity and should not be sold like one. Alcohol is a dangerous and misunderstood psychoactive drug that needs to be regulated. Alcohol is one of the most avoidable health risks in developed countries while imposing an under-reported burden on public health and safety. According to the World Health Organization (2003), global alcohol-related harm is nearly equal to that caused by tobacco and far greater than for illicit drugs, costing the province $2.9 billion annually in lost productivity, increased health care and enforcement services (Single et al. 1998).

"Expanding the sales network for beer and wine, and breaking the LCBO's public monopoly on liquor sales would increase the number of alcohol outlets and hours of sale" writes Dr. Garry Aslanyan (2005), president of the Ontario Public Health Association, in a recent opinion editorial in The Toronto Star. More private retailers pushing product to increase revenue would result in greater sales to youth and the already intoxicated. Additionally, advertising would increase, as private retailers would be in constant competition to increase the bottom line. In general, an increase in population alcohol consumption "leads to more people suffering from liver cirrhosis, alcohol-related cancers and other chronic diseases. It means more alcohol-related car crashes, drownings and falls, more public disorder and more domestic violence," Aslanyan (2005) explains.

Recent WHO research shows that one of the most effective ways to minimize alcohol-related harm is to maintain public alcohol retail distribution systems with a strong duty of social responsibility. Public monopolies "are typically more restrained than their private counterparts in promoting alcohol sales and more likely to aggressively challenge and refuse to sell alcohol to underage youth and the already intoxicated," which ultimately reduces alcohol-related problems, writes Dr. Aslanyan (2005) in a recent letter to all MPPs.

Alberta is a prime example of this where since privatization in 1995, the province has experienced a great increase in alcohol consumption (highest per capita in Canada), which risks an increase in social ills, highlights Professor Greg Flanagan (2003) in Sobering Result: The Alberta Liquor Retailing Industry Ten Years after Privatization.

In March, the government-appointed panel solicited views from anyone interested in commenting on the future of the province's beverage alcohol system to be considered when the final report is presented in July 2005. To this end, various public health groups have provided input to the panel while being published in such media as The Toronto Star, Saturday Night Magazine, Rogers Cable, Grey Bruce Radio, and TV Ontario discussing the potential changes to the LCBO. In addition, a public health forum involving experts in the field convened for a day of presentations and discussions around these issues as recorded by Scott Simmie (The Toronto Star, March 12, 2005, A10).

Aslanyan (2005) closes his opinion editorial with the advice that "no matter how desperate the government may be for short-term cash, there's no future in mortgaging citizens' health to get it." The public health field has spoken to this issue. For the health of Ontarians, we hope that they have been heard.

Ben Rempel, Alcohol Projects Manager, Ontario Public Health Association

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III Comings and Goings

A. People on the Move from CharityVillage

* Jane A. Rogers is the new director of resource development at the Distress Centres of Toronto. * Nicole Turner is the new fund development and special events coordinator (Calgary) for Chrysalis: An Alberta Society for Citizens with Disabilities.

* Peter Bleyer began his two-year term as interim president of the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) in early April.

* Barbara Coyle is the new Executive Director of the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF).

* Stewart Wong is the new national manager, media relations for the MS Society of Canada.

* Frank Prospero is the new general manager of The Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability.

* Dr. Jane E. Aubin is the new CEO and John Riley the new managing director of the Canadian Arthritis Network .

For the complete list of People on the Move from CharityVillage, visit