“We need to talk to each other”: Crossing traditional boundaries between public health and occupational health to address COVID-19 Journal Articles uri icon

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  • IntroductionThis study examined how public health (PH) and occupational health (OH) sectors worked together and separately, in four different Canadian provinces to address COVID-19 as it affected at-risk workers. In-depth interviews were conducted with 18 OH and PH experts between June to December 2021. Responses about how PH and OH worked across disciplines to protect workers were analyzed.MethodsWe conducted a qualitative analysis to identify Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) in multisectoral collaboration, and implications for prevention approaches.ResultsWe found strengths in the new ways the PH and OH worked together in several instances; and identified weaknesses in the boundaries that constrain PH and OH sectors and relate to communication with the public. Threats to worker protections were revealed in policy gaps. Opportunities existed to enhance multisectoral PH and OH collaboration and the response to the risk of COVID-19 and potentially other infectious diseases to better protect the health of workers.DiscussionMultisectoral collaboration and mutual learning may offer ways to overcome challenges that threaten and constrain cooperation between PH and OH. A more synchronized approach to addressing workers' occupational determinants of health could better protect workers and the public from infectious diseases.


  • Hopwood, Pamela
  • MacEachen, Ellen
  • Majowicz, Shannon E
  • Meyer, Samantha B
  • Amoako, Joyceline

publication date

  • 2022