Restructuring public health in Ontario: implications for heart health promotion.
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Community-based heart health promotion is viewed as an effective means of reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Although public health agencies have a central role in the implementation and dissemination of heart health programmes, their effectiveness is being challenged by major structural changes to Provincial public health systems across Canada, although the impacts of the changes have received relatively little attention in the research literature. As part of the Canadian Heart Health Initiative--Ontario Project (CHHIOP), this study used a qualitative approach to address the perceived implications of these changes to Ontario's public health system for heart health promotion. Interviews (n = 38) were conducted in eight public health units with staff most familiar with managing and/or delivering heart health activities. The results are mixed; that is, while many see the future of heart health promotion programming in Ontario as being at risk, others see recent changes as a step forward toward their institutionalization, particularly in light of recent funding decisions made by the Ministry of Health's Health Promotion Branch.
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