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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.
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November 07
PHO Talks Videos are available now!

​11/07/2017

 

On October 26th, audiences tuned in for PHO Talks, a brand new series of short, compelling talks by our diverse experts.

In one hour, we heard three short talks from PHO experts Dr. Natasha Crowcroft, Rhonda Pollard and Stacie Carey. These talks helped us to re-think how we can work together to address health issues and challenges and ultimately move knowledge to action. ​

To see what you missed, or to re-live the experience, watch the recordings of the talks below!

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October 30
Antibiotic Awareness Week 2017 – stewards needed!

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Antibiotic resistance has been identified as one of the biggest public health threats of our time. With mounting numbers of infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria and a lack of new antimicrobial agents in development, a crisis is slowly emerging.

Antibiotic stewardship (in other words, using antibiotics wisely) is an important way we can help thwart this crisis; but a concerted effort is required, from hospitals to the community, from human use to agriculture, from clinicians to the general public. We all need to be antibiotic stewards!

From November 13th to 19th, 2017, countries all over the world recognize Antibiotic Awareness Week. The aim of this week is to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and how we can better use antibiotics to prevent this growing problem.

This year, Public Health Ontario (PHO) has partnered with Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) to create an exciting antibiotic awareness campaign to help spread the message! Of more than 200 Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations, over 20 encourage antibiotic stewardship. Check out key recommendations here:

Join in the conversation on social media by following our Twitter – don’t forget to use the hashtag #SaveABX!​

Already a steward in your healthcare setting? Check out our ASP resources.

Are you a clinician interested in learning more? Join us for our November 14 webinar.

Management of community-acquired infections: A case-based approach to improve antibiotic use

During this webinar, Dr. Kevin Schwartz will discuss commonly encountered infections in community practice. This case-based presentation will provide practical tips to help improve the management of these infections and use antibiotics more appropriately to preserve their effectiveness into the future.

Date: November 14, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Registration: No registration required! Simply join in on our webinar -
http://pho.adobeconnect.com/management-community-acquired-infections/

Call in details:

  • 1-416-850-2050
  • Participant Code: 14596671

Keep exploring Antibiotic Awareness Week! Here’s a list of some of the participating organizations in Canada and around the world and links to their resources:

October 23
How to get the most out of PHO Talks

10/23/2017


PHO Talks is coming up this week! Here’s how to get the most out of this event:

Get ready to watch:

  • Register now for the live-stream on October 26th and book the hour in your calendar to watch. You won’t want to miss the talks (but there will be videos of them posted later if you do!)
  • Be open to new ideas. This isn’t your regular lunch and learn session. These talks will introduce new ideas and challenge you to re-think health topics.

Share the experience with others:

  • Organize a viewing with your colleagues, peers, or classmates. Book a space and encourage everyone to bring their lunch.
  • Facilitate a short group discussion to talk about what you just heard. You can use the questions below, or come up with your own.

Reflect on what you learned:

  • Did you agree with the ideas? Why or why not?
  • How could you apply what you learned in your personal life, work or community? What action could you take right away to address this? One month from now? One year?              

Start a conversation:

  • Share the talks with others. We’ll post the talks on Youtube after the event. Whether you agreed, disagreed or just learned something new, sharing the talks is the first step in starting a conversation.
  • Tell us what you think! We’d love your feedback on the topics, the talks and the event format to help us plan the next event.

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October 12
PHO Talks Speaker Profile: Rhonda Pollard

10/12/2017​

PHO Talks is a brand new series of short, compelling talks by our diverse experts. In one hour, you’ll hear three talks from our speakers. Register now for the live stream on Thursday, October 26, 2017.

Meet one of our speakers, Rhonda Pollard.

Rhonda is a Senior Advisor in leadership development and organizational development.  Most of her 17 year career has been spent leading strategic facilitation, management coaching, succession planning, change management, leadership and team development to provincial health care agencies. At Public Health Ontario, Rhonda has created a leadership framework and development strategy for PHO, facilitated staff engagement sessions during the strategic planning process and lead team development and change management sessions for various departments.

Watch the teaser video below to learn more about Rhonda and her talk! Learn more about our other two speakers, Stacie Carey and Natasha Crowcroft. ​ 

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October 11
PHO Talks Speaker Profile: Stacie Carey

10/11/2017​

PHO Talks is a brand new series of short, compelling talks by our diverse experts. In one hour, you’ll hear three talks from our speakers. Register now for the live stream on Thursday, October 26, 2017. 

Meet one of our speakers, Stacie Carey.

Stacie Carey is a knowledge exchange specialist at PHO, where she is working to build knowledge exchange capacity, processes and tools across the organization. Her experience spans multiple public health priority areas including physical activity promotion, mental health and injury prevention. She has worked with local, provincial and national organizations to design and evaluate creative knowledge exchange strategies.

Watch the teaser video below to learn more about Stacie and her talk! Learn more about our other two speakers, Natasha Crowcroft and Rhonda Pollard​.  

stacie twitter blog.jpg

October 10
PHO Talks Speaker Profile: Dr. Natasha Crowcroft

10/10/2017

PHO Talks is a brand new series of short, compelling talks by our diverse experts. In one hour, you’ll hear three talks from our speakers. Register now for the live stream on Thursday, October 26, 2017. 

Meet one of our speakers, Natasha Crowcroft.

Dr. Natasha Crowcroft leads Applied Immunization Research​ at Public Health Ontario, developing strategy, direction and partnerships, providing training and mentorship and leading the research program. Natasha has published over 150 articles and has international experience working at the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency. She has also been a member of the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

Watch the teaser video below to learn more about Natasha and her talk! Stay​ tuned to our blog to learn more about our other two speakers, Stacie Carey​ and Rhonda Pollard​.  ​

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September 20
What you need to know: Emerging Multidrug Resistant Bacteria

​09/20/2017

PHO expert, Dr. Jennie Johnstone, recently appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal’s podcast to talk about emerging multidrug resistant bacteria. These bacteria, including Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriacaeae, or CPE, are resistant to most or all antibiotics. They are common in hospitals and nursing homes and are difficult to treat, making them extremely deadly. 

Tune in below to hear Dr. Johnstone talk about why CPE is so dangerous, how we can detect and treat it, and what public health and healthcare providers can do to help prevent the spread. 

Dr. Johnstone also recent published an article with Dr. Samir Patel in CMAJ, Five Things to know about an Emerging Multidrug Resistant Bacteria

Want to learn more? See our infographic on Antibiotic overuse in Ontario’s long-term care homes, or the Ontario Health Profile on Antimicrobial Resistance. To find more about Dr. Johnstone’s work, see her scientist video profile

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September 13
Save the Date! PHO Talks: Big ideas, short talks

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​9/13/2017

New ideas and creative minds help drive innovation in public health. Hear some of the brightest minds at Public Health Ontario share their ideas in this unique event on October 26th. 

This brand new series of short, compelling talks by our diverse experts are appropriate for all audiences. In one hour, you’ll hear three short talks from experts Dr. Natasha Crowcroft, Rhonda Pollard and Stacie Carey. These talks will help you re-think how we can work together to address health issues and challenges, and ultimately move knowledge to action. 

Register now for the live stream and save the date!

We’ll be revealing more information about the speakers and events over the coming weeks. Stay tuned to our blog or follow us on Twitter (@PublicHealthON)!

July 26
Vector-borne diseases in Ontario — annual update

07/26/2017​

What are vector-borne diseases? 

Vector-borne diseases are infections that are transmitted by a vector such as a mosquito, tick or flea. The most common types of vector-borne diseases in Ontario are:

  • West Nile virus: a virus transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It was first detected in Ontario in birds in 2001, with the first human cases following in 2002. 
  • Lyme disease: an infection transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. In Ontario, the majority of these human cases have occurred in areas associated with the blacklegged tick populations.
  • Eastern equine encephalitis virus​ (EEEV): a virus that circulates between birds and mosquitoes, with bridge vectors (mosquitos) transmitting the virus to humans and horses. EEEV has been reported in Ontario’s horse population since the 1930s; however, the virus has been detected sporadically in the Ontario mosquito population since 2009.

Annual trends in vector-borne diseases

VBD-Square.jpgIt’s important to monitor the trends in vector-borne diseases across the province. That’s why every year, with support and routine surveillance from the local public health units in Ontario, we publish our annual report on vector-borne diseases. We are happy to announce the release of the Vector-Borne Diseases: 2016 Summary Report​, which provides an overview of the 2016 data on the vectors that transmit West Nile virus, EEEV and Lyme disease in Ontario.

Interesting findings from the report:

  • ​There was an increase in West Nile virus positive mosquito pools over the last two years – with 211 positive pools identified in 2016.
  • While human data are not included in this report, it was noted that Ontario had the first ever human case of EEEV reported in Canada.
  • There was an increase in the number of blacklegged ticks submitted to PHO from 1,903 in 2015 to 2,041 in 2016.

Please note that human data are not included in this report. However this information is still available on our website through the Infectious Diseases Query tool and Reportable Disease Trends in Ontario.

Additional resources 

We offer a number of great resources and tools on vector-borne diseases. Check out our interactive West Nile virus surveillance page (updated weekly) or our Lyme disease page for more information.

Stay tuned to our PHO in Action blog for more vector-borne disease posts in the coming weeks.

Questions about the report?

Please feel free to contact us at ezvbd@oahpp.ca


July 25
For clinicians: Best Practices for pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria

​07/25/2017

NTM_Species.PNGNontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are organisms that can naturally be found in soil and water, including treated drinking water distribution systems and showerheads and faucets. Human NTM infections most often occur in the lungs (pulmonary) and typically cause slowly progressing respiratory and systemic symptoms. NTM infections are becoming increasingly common in Canada2, so it’s important to have updated information to understand the epidemiology and clinical management of NTM.

Best Practices for Pulmonary Nontuberculous Mycobacteria​ is a new resource that provides clinicians such as: chronic disease managers, family physicians, internal medicine and respirologists and infectious disease practitioners an overview of human NTM infections, including:

  • ​sample collection and microbiology
  • diagnostic and treatment criteria 
  • clinical presentations
  • treatment

The report also highlights the emerging evidence of potential human-to-human transmission involving cystic fibrosis patients and addresses the potential methods for reducing exposure to environmental pathogens for at-risk individuals.

This resource was developed by the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (PIDAC-CD), Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Working Group, with support from Public Health Ontario.

For more information, please contact pidac@oahpp.ca.  

July 18
Public Health 101: Latent Period
July 17
Tobacco control: A spotlight on cessation

07/17/2017

Cessation.PNG

In early May, we launched the new Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016) report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of 56 tobacco control interventions and highlights their impact on reducing tobacco use and associated burden in Ontario. The report is organized into four main chapters which align with the four pillars of tobacco control: industry, prevention, protection and cessation.

The Cessation chapter outlines 15 tobacco control interventions and their potential contribution for motivating and supporting people to quit smoking. The chapter was written by a working group made up of tobacco prevention scientists and experts and led by Dr. Brice Baskerville, Senior Scientist and Associate Research Professor with the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo

“The Cessation chapter is extremely important,” says Dr. Baskerville. “It can help us make great advances toward having lowest prevalence of tobacco use in Canada.” 

The chapter introduces a number of cessation interventions which can be used at the local and provincial levels. It expands on previously implemented interventions and policies such as price and taxation and describes new evidence on technology-based interventions like text messaging.

“We need a comprehensive and integrative tobacco cessation strategy — a hub of services where smokers who want to quit can get the help whenever and wherever they need it,” emphasizes Dr. Baskerville.  “There will not be an *endgame for tobacco unless we have well developed cessation strategies in place.” 

Importance of the Cessation chapter

This chapter can be used to:

  • ​enhance knowledge about evidence on existing tobacco policies
  • learn about new technology-based interventions 
  • learn new cessation strategies for subpopulations such as Indigenous populations, LGBTQ+, individuals of low socioeconomic status, individuals with lower educational levels, and individuals dealing with mental health and addiction issues 

More information on the report

To read the full report or view a recording of the webcast showcasing highlights from the report, please visit the Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016)​ webpage. 

Did you miss any of our other spotlights? Check out our posts on industry​, prevention and protection​

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* A tobacco endgame frame defines strategies that address tobacco control at a system level (structural, political and social) in order to achieve and end to the tobacco epidemic.


July 10
Tobacco control: A spotlight on protection

07/10/2017

Family with baby

In early May, we launched the new Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016) report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of 56 tobacco control interventions and highlights their impact on reducing tobacco use and associated burden in Ontario. The report is organized into four main chapters which align with the four pillars of tobacco control: industry, prevention, protection and cessation.

The Protection chapter outlines 10 tobacco control interventions and their role in protecting people from physical and social exposures. The chapter was written by a working group made up of tobacco prevention scientists and experts and led by Dr. Pamela Kaufman, Scientist with the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, and Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health​, University of Toronto

“We know from the scientific literature that tobacco smoke is harmful to our health,” says Dr. Kaufman. “Yet Ontarians are still exposed to secondhand and thirdhand smoke in their homes and vehicles, in some outdoor public places and workplace settings, and on post-secondary campuses.”

The Prevention chapter examines how creating tobacco-free and clean air environments protect people from the harms of tobacco smoke. Smoke-free laws and related policies, such as the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (2016) are integral to comprehensive tobacco control.

“In addition to protecting people from exposure to tobacco smoke, there is evidence that smoke-free policies support people who are trying to quit or have recently quit by reducing physical and social cues for smoking,” explains Dr. Kaufman. “They also help to prevent youth from starting to smoke by reducing social exposure to smoking and changing social norms about smoking.”   

Importance of the Protection chapter

This chapter can be used to:

  • ​highlight policy gaps and opportunities where Ontarians are still exposed (e.g., multi-unit housing, entrances to buildings, post-secondary campuses)
  • support a comprehensive approach to tobacco control by encouraging and sustaining attempts at quitting and changing social norms which influence tobacco use among young people
  • understand the integration of other products such as waterpipes and e-cigarettes into smoke-free policies

More information on the report

To read the full report or view a recording of the webcast showcasing highlights from the report, please visit the Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016) webpage. 

Check out our posts on industry and prevention and stay tuned to our PHO in Action​ blog for more chapter spotlights.


June 30
Tobacco control: A spotlight on prevention

06/30/2017

Man smoking a cigarette

In early May, we launched the new Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016) report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of 56 tobacco control interventions and highlights their impact on reducing tobacco use and associated burden in Ontario. The report is organized into four main chapters which align with the four pillars of tobacco control: industry, prevention, protection and cessation.

The Prevention chapter outlines 14 tobacco control interventions and their potential contribution for preventing people from starting to smoke. The chapter was written by a working group made up of tobacco prevention scientists and experts and led by Dr. Kelli-an Lawrance, an Associate Professor at Brock University, Health Sciences Department, and co-Director and Principal Investigator of Leave the Pack Behind

“The Prevention Chapter is unique because it goes beyond our conventional thinking about preventing tobacco use,” explains Dr. Lawrance. “I hope this chapter reinforces the message that we can move to a tobacco-free Ontario.”

Prevention is an important part of tobacco control. Adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable because:

  • ​the transition period to young adulthood increases risk of starting to smoke 
  • once individuals start smoking, they are at greater risk of progressing to increased tobacco use 
  • new products (e.g., e-cigarettes) may increase tobacco use among youth and young adults

The Prevention chapter addresses both primary and secondary prevention and broadens the scope of the tobacco prevention dialogue. “The chapter not only focuses on children to include youth and young adults,” says Dr. Lawrance, “it also looks at the individual, their families, social networks, school or workplaces as well as the social structures in which they live.” 

Importance of the Prevention chapter

This chapter can be used to:

  • ​learn about factors that contribute to smoking uptake 
  • help prevent tobacco use by understanding why youth and young adults start to smoke 
  • extend conventional smoking prevention initiatives into different age groups 
  • understand how to use mass media campaigns in even more compelling ways 

More information on the report

To read the full report or view a recording of the webcast showcasing highlights from the report, please visit the Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016) webpage. 

Check out our post on industry and stay tuned to our PHO in Action blog for more chapter spotlights.


June 22
Tobacco control: A spotlight on industry

06/22/2017

Image of cigarettes
In early May, we launched the new Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016)​ report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of 56 tobacco control interventions and highlights their impact on reducing tobacco use and associated burden in Ontario. The report is organized into four main chapters which align with the four pillars of tobacco control: industry, prevention, protection and cessation.

The Industry chapter outlines 17 tobacco control interventions and their potential contribution to counter the tobacco industry’s efforts to promote and sell their product. The chapter was written by a working group made up of tobacco prevention scientists and experts and led by Dr. Robert Schwartz, Executive Director of the Ontario Tobacco Reduction Unit.

The Industry chapter is important because it looks at ways to decrease and eventually eliminate the use of use of tobacco by focusing on interventions aimed at the tobacco industry and products.

“For the first time this chapter takes a tobacco endgame frame,” states Dr. Schwartz. “It is really delightful to say that the federal government has adopted a tobacco endgame goal of reaching less than five per cent of the population using tobacco by the year 2035.”

A tobacco endgame frame defines strategies that address tobacco control at a system level (structural, political and social) in order to achieve and end to the tobacco epidemic. Tobacco endgame strategies are largely focused on the tobacco industry as part of a comprehensive tobacco control policy using approaches to address:

  • patterns of use
  • new products and users
  • changing populations of users
  • industry efforts to expand the market

Importance of the Industry chapter

This chapter can be used to:

  • ​learn about emerging and innovative approaches to addressing the tobacco industry
  • identify strategies for reducing the number of new and current tobacco users and achieving an end of the tobacco epidemic
  • understand the tobacco industry’s role in producing, marketing and delivering tobacco products to consumers 

More information on the report

To read the full report or view a recording of the webcast showcasing highlights from the report, please visit the Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016) webpage

Stay tuned to our PHO in Action blog for more chapter spotlights over the next month.


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