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PHO in Action is Public Health Ontario’s blog. Here we tell stories of the work we do day in and day out, with our partners, to keep Ontarians safe and create a healthier tomorrow.

February 09
TOPHC 2017: A message from our President and CEO


The Ontario Public Health Convention​ (TOPHC) is quickly approaching, with just over one month until hundreds of public health professionals from around the province will meet to discuss this year’s theme Global challenges. Local solutions.

TOPHC is set to take place at the Allstream Centre from March 29 to 31, 2017. For detailed information on registration, program and travel, visit the official TOPHC 2017 website​.​

Our President and CEO, Dr. Peter Donnelly, has prepared a message just for you! Hear about why you should attend TOPHC 2017 and learn some tips for getting the most out of your TOPHC experience.

TOPHC Video screenshot: An interview with Dr. Peter Donnelly. Hyperlinked to YouTube video

February 02
Our People: Tara Harris, Nurse Consultant


Photo of Tara Harris with quote "In my job, I enjoy supporting and advising on clinical aspects of vaccine safety."

January 25
PHO at TOPHC 2017


TOPHC 2017 with colourful background

PHO is getting ready for The Ontario Public Health Convention (TOPHC). TOPHC is the perfect opportunity to meet experts in the field, find potential collaborators, stay up-to-date with the latest public health research and most importantly, to have fun. TOPHC 2017 runs from March 29 to 31, 2017 at the Allstream Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

Global challenges. Local solutions.

This year, TOPHC is taking a global perspective and PHO is ready to join the conversation on global health challenges and how to address them with solutions developed at the local level. 

PHO will be well represented at TOPHC; with 26 posters, 20 15-minute presentations, 5 panels, and 5 workshops; covering topics such as: public health systems, food safety, infection control, surveillance systems and child health. Our staff is busy preparing for what is sure to be a great event. 

The Sheela Basrur Centre​ (SBC) recognition ceremony and lecture kicks off TOPHC on March 29 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. – honouring the legacy of the late Dr. Sheela Basrur, Ontario’s former Chief Medical Officer of Health. TOPHC will also feature the SBC educational pathway — a series of presentations and sessions dedicated to leadership and communications.

To find out more about the different PHO sessions, presentations and workshops and what else TOPHC has to offer, check out the full program on the official TOPHC website​.

January 24
Public Health 101: Hand Hygiene



From: IPAC Core Competencies Course – Chain of Transmission and Risk Assessment

January 19
Our People: Sarah Morgan, Library Technician


Photo of Sarah Morgan with quote "Right now, I am working with our researchers to explore option for publishing their work."

January 16
Public Health 101: Occupational Health

From: IPAC Core Competencies Course – Occupational Health and Safety

January 13
Planning or evaluating? You need a logic model.

In the field of public health and health promotion, logic models can be a valuable tool.  Logic models show the if/then relationships between program input, activities, and desired outcomes. They can provide a clear and continuous method for establishing the logical flow of a program yet be dynamic and responsive to changes along the way.  Logic models can also serve as a tool for identifying advances towards program goals. 


In follow up to the Logic Model Theory to Practice webinars that were held in the Spring of 2016, Public Health Ontario has released additional resources to support the use of logic models as planning ​and evaluation tools.

The Focus On: Logic model – A planning and evaluation tool provides an overview of logic models and includes design examples and descriptions of their use in program planning and evaluation.  The Logic model: Theory to practice Webinar Q&A  provides practical information and answers questions that were posed during the webinar discussions.

This resource was developed by Public Health Ontario’s Health Promotion Capacity Building (HPCB) team.  To find out about the release of related resources and all of the other exciting work going on at PHO, sign up for our monthly newsletter Connections.​

January 11
PHO’s commitment to immunization in Canada — Canadian Immunization Conference 2016


PHO staff at a display at the Canadian Immunization Conference 2016For 23 years, hundreds of professionals from across Canada have been coming together every other year at the largest conference on immunization in Canada — the Canadian Immunization Conference (CIC) — to discuss some of the most pressing vaccination issues. Last month marked the 12th CIC, which was held in Ottawa from December 6 to 8, 2016.

PHO was well represented at CIC by 18 staff and students who all played a role in raising the profile of PHO’s work in immunization, shared their research and evaluation findings, their expertise and perspectives, reported on the latest advances in vaccine research, and inspired the next generation of public health researchers and practitioners.

This year was PHO’s strongest presence yet at CIC; presenting and holding workshops of a broad range of immunization topics including: influenza, policy and economics, vaccine safety, surveillance and monitoring, maternal immunization, and training. In total, PHO presented 7 oral presentations, 15 poster presentations, led 2 workshop/sessions, and moderated the Vaccinology student research program. PHO was also represented at the Antenatal Immunization Research Working Group and took on an advisory role for a History of Polio exhibit.

Applied immunization research and evaluation (AIRE) continues to be a strategic priority for PHO. Participating in events like CIC reflects PHO’s strength, expertise and commitment to strengthening immunization science and delivering national and international research and evaluation opportunities to help build the best immunization system in Ontario.  

January 09
Public Health 101: Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC)


From: IPAC Core Competencies Course – Occupational Health and Safety

January 05
Our People: Kara DeCorby, Senior Product Development Advisor

Picture of Kara DeCorby with quote: "I like to see how we factor evidence into delivering services to our clients."

January 03
Public Health 101: Social Epidemiology


From: PHO’s Health Promotion Foundations Course (Module 8) – Source: WHO

December 28
Public Health 101: Risk Communication


From: PHO’s Health Promotion Foundations Course (Module 7) – Source: Health Canada

December 21
Guest Post: Vaccine safety, protecting our families from infectious disease and misinformation


By Dr. Shelley Deeks​

Vaccination is one of the greatest achievements in the history of public health. Vaccines protect the lives of millions of Ontarians, with nine million vaccine doses safely administered each year. 

Despite this, misinformation about vaccine safety is still a problem in Ontario and throughout the world. Misinformation on vaccines can have a major influence on policy makers as well as parents. In recent years, vaccine safety has been subject to close media scrutiny and intense public debate. An example occurred in early 2015, when a media outlet reported a controversial story on HPV vaccine with the headline “A wonder drug’s dark side”.  After backlash from the public health and scientific community, the story was removed from their website, as it “led to confusion between anecdotes and evidence”. There continues to be debate in the public realm despite a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating that vaccines, including HPV vaccines, are safe. Enhanced communication about vaccine safety is needed to combat misinformation to ensure Ontarians are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. 

Since PHO began monitoring vaccine safety in 2012, the data have repeatedly shown that vaccines are extremely safe, and occurrences of serious adverse events following immunization (AEFI) are very rare. Further information is available in the recently released Annual Report on Vaccine Safety in Ontario

What is an AEFI? ​

An adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is an unwanted or unexpected health effect that happens after someone receives a vaccine, which may or may not be caused by the vaccine.

Information in the report comes from Ontario healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurses or pharmacists, as well as parents. Local public health units receive and investigate all reports of AEFIs. This includes relatively minor, expected side effects that may occur after vaccine such as fever, pain or redness at the injection site, as well as less common or unexpected health events, which may or may not be associated with vaccine. 

By routinely reviewing and reporting on adverse events, we continuously assess the safety of vaccines used in Ontario and can detect possible safety issues if these arise.  In addition, this information is available to the public to help alleviate fears and reinforce the safety and science behind vaccines. This can assist individuals in making informed decisions about vaccinating themselves and their children. This information also provides scientific evidence for healthcare providers, who are a trusted source of health information for patients. Resources like the Annual Report on Vaccine Safety in Ontario and the Immunizer Overview provides them with messaging and resources to support sound vaccination advice to their patients. 

Vaccines protect millions of lives in Ontario every year. Ongoing work by public health, like the vaccine safety report, is important to ensure that we are protecting Ontarians from misinformation as well as vaccine-preventable disease.

Dr. Shelley Deeks is the Medical Director of Immunization and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases at Public Health Ontario. Dr. Deeks and her team to put together the Annual Report on Vaccine Safety in Ontario. For more information see PHO’s Vaccine Safety page


December 19
The Ontario Public Health Convention (TOPHC) 2017: Registration is open!


TOPHCweb.jpgThe Ontario Public Health Convention (TOPHC) is an annual convention that brings together hundreds of health professionals from around the country to share knowledge and develop skills related to public health. TOPHC 2017 is set to take place from March 29 to 31, 2017, at the Allstream Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

Public health has no boundaries. With emerging infectious diseases, impacts of climate change, and increases in chronic disease, it is more crucial than ever to look at how global health issues impact us locally.

The theme for TOPHC 2017: Global challenges. Local solutions., aims to examine the impact of global health issues at the local level. It will be an opportunity for professionals in the field to explore global health issues that face Ontario, Canada and the world; showcase creative solutions that can be adapted and implemented within their local context; and examine opportunities for collaboration at the local, national, and international levels.

Public Health Ontario is excited to be partnering with the Ontario Public Health Association and the Association of Local Public Health Agencies to host TOPHC 2017.

Register today and start planning your visit. Registration is officially open and full program details are up on the TOPHC 2017 website (

December 19
Public Health 101: Advocacy for Health


From: PHO’s Health Promotion Foundations Course (Module 4) – Source: WHO

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