It isn’t one or the other … it is both!

By:  Deanna Beck, Health Promoter

In a recent Macleans magazine article (Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 –, Sir Michael Marmot spoke about the determinants of health and why virtually everything is a health matter. He recognized the issues early on in his medical career, when he treated patients with medication but sent them back to environments where they faced challenges in everyday living. Patients’ problems, he said, ‘needed to be addressed outside the walls of the clinic as well’. Often times the focus on health is on health care, hospitals, emergency room closures, and shortage of doctors. There is no doubt that these issues impact our health, but why is it that seldom do we hear about the impacts of unemployment on health? Or education levels? Or income? Or social connectedness with our community? Sir Michael Marmot argues that we need both…we need to advance medical science and learn newer, better ways to address disease, but we also need to focus on the environments and realities (i.e. the determinants of health) in which we all live because these impact health too. If we ignore these realities, then are we ‘fixing’ people and sending them back out to the situations that impacted their health in the first place? We need to do both.

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