Advancing Health Promotion Priorities: Stories of Capacity Building from the Canadian Heart Health Initiative (CHHI)
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The purpose of this paper is to explore how public health professionals built capacity to carry out health promotion despite a low level of investment and competition for financial resources with acute-oriented healthcare services. Three data sources are used in this analysis: key-informant interviews with project participants, final reports from three provincial Heart Health projects in Canada (Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Manitoba) and major provincial health policy documents prior to and during each project. We use a narrative policy analysis to identify contextual factors influencing health promotion priority and progress through capacity building. Common capacity building themes emerged from the data despite the different contexts within which the projects were situated: building community trust and support, developing a linking system that promotes provincial partnerships and assisting in sustainability efforts by coordinating resources and efforts towards a common chronic disease prevention strategy. Each of these provincial projects overcame instances of resistance to advancing a health promotion agenda by concentrating on building relationships, by making better use of existing structures and organizations and by developing new productive unions that shared a primary prevention agenda.
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