What . . . About Upstream

What . . . About Upstream

Postby Oscar » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:11 pm

About Upstream

[ http://www.thinkupstream.net/about_upstream ]

April 24, 2014

Upstream is a movement to create a healthy society through evidence-based, people-centred ideas. Upstream seeks to reframe public discourse around addressing the social determinants of health in order to build a healthier society. Scroll down to learn more.

Why ‘upstream’?

From the emergency room, to homeless shelters, to the prison system, we see the consequences of downstream thinking all around us. Upstream thinking means investing wisely for future success rather than spending all of our time and resources responding to and perpetuating failure.

If health for all is our goal, then upstream thinking is about addressing the things that have the greatest influence on our health, including income, employment, education, early childhood development, housing, nutrition and the wider environment.

What we do

Upstream works with the growing body of evidence on these social determinants of health and uses that knowledge to guide recommendations for change.

By sharing stories through a variety of media, Upstream seeks to creatively engage citizens, sparking within them a personal stake in the social determinants of health and a demand for upstream alternatives to the status quo.

Upstream uses this evidence and storytelling to foster a vibrant network of organizations and individuals who share this vision.

By demonstrating that a better way is possible, we can help create the conditions for wiser decisions and a healthier Canada.

Thinking and acting upstream

Upstream is a movement to create a healthy society through evidence-based, people-centred ideas. Upstream seeks to reframe public discourse around addressing the social determinants of health in order to build a healthier society.

From the emergency room, to homeless shelters, to the prison system, we see the consequences of downstream thinking all around us. Upstream thinking means investing wisely for future success rather than spending all of our time and resources responding to failure.

If health for all is our goal, then upstream thinking is about addressing the things that have the greatest influence on our health, including income, employment, education, early childhood development, housing, nutrition and the wider environment.

Upstream works with the growing body of evidence on these social determinants of health and use that knowledge to guide recommendations for change.

By sharing stories through a variety of media, Upstream seeks to creatively engage citizens, sparking within them a personal stake in the social determinants of health and a demand for upstream alternatives to the status quo.

Upstream uses this evidence and storytelling to foster a vibrant network of organizations and individuals who share this vision.

By demonstrating that a better way is possible, we can help create the conditions for wiser decisions and a healthier Canada.

Why health?

People care about health. It’s a value we all share, transcending class, colour, and political ideology. This shared value of health, understood as full social, physical and mental wellbeing, and expanded to encompass not just the health of individuals but also the health of our communities and institutions, gives us a focus for our shared aspirations.

Despite the emphasis we place on health care, which continues to rank at the top of Canadians' concerns, health care actually isn't the biggest factor in determining our health. The social determinants of health — our income, education, social supports, housing, nutrition, the environment, and more — are what make the greatest difference in our health outcomes and life quality.

Addressing these determinants enables people to live longer, fuller and healthier lives. If we can build the political will to push for evidence-based, root-focused and forward-looking policy innovations, we can foster a common purpose that deepens community, builds solidarity, and rejuvenates democracy.

Helping others, helping ourselves

Giving everyone the opportunity to improve their circumstances, to escape poverty and experience the fullness of health, is not just the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Why? Because the evidence shows that our future well-being depends not on our selfishness but our generosity, our sense of justice, and our willingness to invest in all children, not just our own.

As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett demonstrate in their groundbreaking book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, everyone’s safety, prosperity, and satisfaction with society all suffer when inequality increases. Even the wealthiest people in an unequal society are less healthy than they would be in a more equal society. Life in a more egalitarian country, on the other hand, benefits the health of everyone, from the least advantaged to the most successful.

The implications of these findings are, frankly, revolutionary. Addressing the social determinants of health doesn’t just help those most in need; it helps everyone, from the poorest to the richest. Everyone benefits.

The vision of a truly healthy society offers us a shared goal with the power to reach across the differences that separate us. It allows us to connect with our neighbours in recognition of our common vulnerability and our common desire to live full and healthy lives. By systematically addressing the determinants of health, and continually tracking the effectiveness of our measures, we can do what is right and what is smart. We can improve the health of people and the health of the political system at the same time.

Watch our short introductory video here:

[ http://www.thinkupstream.net/about_upstream ]
Oscar
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