Navigating the Evidence: Communicating Canadian Health Policy in the Media
355 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2015
Since 2011, we’ve worked to create a dialogue between Canada’s journalists and academic health policy experts to enrich the quality and quantity of health policy stories in the Canadian media. We work with a Media Advisory Board made up of journalists and professors of journalism from across the country who let us know what their needs, constraints and objectives are from a journalistic perspective. We also have a network of more than 80 health policy academics who are ready and available to be interviewed by the media and provide a non-partisan, evidence-based perspective from their areas of expertise.
Working together, we have created a number of tools for enabling media coverage of health policy issues in Canada, including the preparation of media backgrounders, infographics, posters, podcasts and videos that highlight the evidence, and we conduct webinars, seminars and conferences by and for both journalists and academics alike.
But our most successful initiative thus far has been having our academic experts author
Op-Ed articles on health policy issues — highlighting the evidence; they work with a professional editor to follow specific media guidelines, and then we publish the commentaries in the biggest media outlets across the country. The table below illustrates how successful this strategy has been and how receptive media outlets have been to these stories — increasingly so.
This book is a selection of Op-Eds we’ve published in media outlets across the country (in both French and English) from October 2013 to October 2014. It thus provides a snapshot of Canadian health policy in the news. It is the third volume in our series (see also Canadian Health Policy in the News (2013) Making Evidence Matter in Canadian Health Policy (2014)) — all made available for free so that they may be read and used widely in educational settings.
Topics are organized by chapter headings that address issues such as our challenges with providing Mental Health care; new models for Pharmaceutical Policy and commentaries that flag the myths and truths about our Aging Population and how it will impact health services. Health Care Costs and Spending are always a concern and are raised by many of the essays here including the costs of health human resources and technology. Many of our academics address the ways in which Health is More than Health Care including such issues as poverty, housing and education, while others caution that More Care is Not Always Better. Still other commentaries highlight the dangers and opportunities with Private, For-Profit Solutions to health care funding and delivery, and others compare Canadian and American Health Systems.
Collected together, we hope these Op-Eds engage and enrich the dialogue and debate on a health care system that’s so important to Canadians. As we head into a federal election year in 2015, it seems certain that many of these issues will come to the fore, and it serves our democratic system that they be aired and discussed with evidence as the foundation. With journalists and academics in partnership to communicate health policy in the news, we can help navigate the evidence together.
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