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Using Common Messages to Address Chronic Disease in Ontario: A Utilization Framework

Using Common Messages to Address Chronic Disease in Ontario: A Utilization Framework

I Background about Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance
II Common Message Project Phase 1: Development of common messages
III Common Message Project Phase 2: Development of the utilization framework
IV Benefits and values in advancing the common messages
V Opportunities to advance the common messages
VI OCDPA’s next steps

Submitted by Hoi Ki Ding, Acting Manager, Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

I Background about Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

The Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA) is a collective voice of health-related organizations on effective chronic disease prevention policy and programming and is dedicated to improving the health of all Ontarians. The OCDPA envisions communities where population and individual health are supported by healthy societal conditions, public policies, and personal behaviours. Our mission is to provide collaborative leadership to support a comprehensive chronic disease prevention system for Ontario.

II Common Message Project Phase 1: Development of common messages

The OCDPA believes that it is essential in Ontario for community and health practitioners, groups and organizations whose work relates to chronic disease and its prevention to think, and act, like a system in order to address prevention and reduce the burden of chronic disease in this province.

Through its membership and feedback from external field experts, the OCDPA developed consistent messaging for use by individuals, groups and organizations to focus attention on important issues and priorities in chronic disease prevention and to promote collective action on these issues across Ontario. The Common Messages document, Supporting Collective Priorities and Action on Chronic Disease Prevention in Ontario, was released in February 2009 and is available on the OCDPA website at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_CommonMessages.htm .

The messages take a “socio-environmental approach” to preventing chronic disease, and are framed around the central themes of “access and availability” to encourage the promotion of healthy eating, physical activity and mental health as well as the prevention of tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol.

In an effort to encourage greater focus on the promotion of health and the prevention of chronic disease, the messages provide focal points to address either broader chronic disease prevention or risk factor specific issues. The messages focus on key policies and environmental supports required to address chronic disease and its risk factors. Each message provides examples and recommendations, based on evidence, of actions that can be taken to support healthier living conditions.

III Common Message Project Phase 2: Development of the utilization framework

The OCDPA worked with consultants from One World Inc. to engage OCDPA members in developing a Common Message Utilization Framework. The objectives for the framework are to identify ways that common messages can be advanced, disseminated, promoted, used and integrated, and to engage members in the promotion, utilization and integration of the common messages.

The framework intends to be a launch point for future planning to use the common messages to align policy, planning and practice among Alliance members, external stakeholders and across the province. The content of the framework reflects input of OCDPA members and staff, it identifies opportunities and challenges in using the common messages, and it maps out practical ways in which the messages can be used, integrated and promoted.

Through surveys and focus group discussions, respondents indicated overall interest in advancing the messages and that the common messages align with organizational mandate/priorities. Respondents indicated some capacity in advancing the messages (e.g., ability to lead specific risk factor messages), but additional supports/resources are needed (e.g., brief evidence-based papers, tools, templates, etc) to further operationalize the common messages for use. Respondents indicated their ability to support the dissemination and promotion of common messages and to integrate common messages into planning and priorities. They saw value in operationalizing a system-wide approach and in tracking the dissemination and use of common messages as well as their outcomes.

IV Benefits and values in advancing the common messages

There are benefits to advancing the OCDPA common messages, they include (but are not limited to):

  • Facilitate a shift in policy and practice to an evidence-informed, multiple-risk factor, multiple-setting approach that promotes healthy living conditions.
  • Identify common chronic disease prevention priorities to advance by Alliance members.
  • Support strategic alignment of policy, planning and practice within OCDPA member organizations/networks and with external stakeholders.
  • Increase impact of chronic disease prevention efforts through the delivery of frequent, consistent messages through multiple channels; planning and implementing concentrated action in priority areas; and more focused and coordinated collective effort in advancing healthy public policy.
  • Put into practice a comprehensive, system-wide approach to chronic disease prevention by demonstrating strategic alignment and partnerships in action to funders and decision-makers; and by complementing and integrating with current social marketing campaigns and related work to support policy initiatives in planning and development.

V Opportunities to advance the common messages

Within the OCDPA membership, the common messages could be advanced, primarily, through senior managers responsible for policy, planning, government relations, program and/or resource development, as well as through local practitioners and volunteers. Other opportunities include local or regional office staff and program coordinators and communications departments.

Outside of the OCDPA membership, the common messages could be advanced, primarily, through public health professionals, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), provincial government and representatives, as well as through other systems and/or networks. Other opportunities include primary care providers (e.g., family health teams, community health centres), municipal governments, professional and health provider associations and educators.

In addition, the common messages could be disseminated and promoted through various networks which focus on: alcohol, healthy eating, heart health, health promotion, mental health, physical activity, public health, or tobacco, etc.

 VI OCDPA’s next steps

The OCDPA is currently pursuing funding opportunities and support to increase the visibility of the common messages, to disseminate, promote and support the integration of the common messages in stakeholders’ activities, to support the sharing of learnings from the use of common messages, and to evaluate use/impact of the common messages.

The OCDPA recognizes and appreciates the work being done by all staff and organizations to help Ontarians lead a healthier life. We believe that a variety of individuals, groups and organizations, working in parallel to advance these common priorities, will be the most effective way to bring about the needed changes to support the health of our communities and populations across Ontario.

Resources

Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA) has a variety of resources including more information on the Common Messages Project.

Contact:

Hoi Ki Ding
OCDPA Acting Manager
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.ocdpa.on.ca

OCDPA’s Resources on Chronic Disease Prevention:

Supporting Collective Priorities and Action on Chronic Disease Prevention in Ontario was released in February 2009 and is available on the OCDPA website at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_CommonMessages.htm

OCDPA’s bi-monthly newsletters with a chronic disease prevention focus are available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/e_bulletins.htm

Economic Cost for Chronic Disease in Canada – 1995–2003 and 2007 summarizes the direct cost attributable to illness and indirect costs attributable to productivity and other losses due to morbidity or mortality in Canada. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_EconomicCost.htm

Chronic Disease in Ontario and Canada: Determinants, Risk Factors and Prevention Priorities (2006). This report draws links between evidence, determinants, and risk factors of chronic disease in Canada, and considers options for health messages and action steps in chronic disease prevention. It is also designed to inform best practices by providing an overview of available evidence. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_ChronicDiseaseOntario.htm

Thinking like a system: The way forward to prevent chronic disease in Ontario (2006). In this document, the OCDPA sets out its proposed plan and model for a province-wide system that enables effective coordinated planning, delivery and continuous improvement of health promotion and chronic disease prevention interventions at a population level. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_SystemPlan.htm

Informing Directions for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Ontario: Environmental Scan of Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Strategies in Ontario and Collaboration Efforts of the Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance. (2005). This report broadens an environmental scan report begun by the OCDPA in 2003. It is includes risk factor strategies (alcohol and other drugs, determinants of health, environment, nutrition and physical activity, mental health, tobacco use and ultraviolet radiation), chronic-disease-based strategies (asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart health, osteoporosis and stroke), as well as the Ontario Health Promotion Resource System, and the Public Health Research, Evaluation and Development Program. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_EnviroScan.htm

OCDPA’s Recent Letters to Government

Letter to Ministry of Education regarding the Ontario Curriculum Review – Social Sciences and Humanities Sections (2009). Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/ltr_MEd_Feb09.htm

OCDPA submitted a letter to the Ministry of Education to affirm support of the joint submission provided by the Dietitians of Canada (DC), the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health (OSNPPH) and the Ontario Collaborative Group on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (OCGHEPA) on the revision of the Ontario Curriculum, Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), January 2009.

Letter to the Ministry of Education regarding the Ontario Curriculum Review – Health and Physical Education Sections (2008), specifically the Original Grade 1-12 Healthy Living Expectations 2008. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/ltr_MEd_Dec08.htm

Letter to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services regarding childhood obesity, poverty and health in Ontario (2008). Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/ltr_MCYS_Aug08.htm

Letter to the Ministry of Health Promotion regarding investment to reduce childhood obesity in Ontario (2008). Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/ltr_childhoodobesity.htm

Health Disparities Related Resources:

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (2008). Available at http://www.growingstronger.ca/en/index.html

Primer to Action – Social Determinants of Health – Revised Edition (2008). Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_PrimertoAction2.htm

Primer to Action – Social Determinants of Health, (2007). This report is a resource for health professionals, lay workers, volunteers and activists to explore how the social determinants impact chronic disease. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_PrimertoAction.htm

Risk Factors Related Resources

Systems Think Tank on Mental Health and Chronic Disease Prevention: Moving Forward as a System. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/KE_MH_CDP-Feb09.htm

Moving the Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy Forward in Ontario (2008) consultative report describes four priorities for action which need to take place in order to move Ontario’s Action Plan for Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) forward. Available at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_MovingHEALForward.htm

Ontario’s Action Plan for Healthy Eating and Active Living (2006). Available at http://www.mhp.gov.on.ca/english/health/HEAL/actionplan-EN.pdf