Fluoride Action Network

The History of Saskatchewan’s Public Health Association Policy Initiatives, 1954–86: A Regional Comparison for Preventative Health Policy Work in Canada

Source: Canadian Bulletin of Medical History | Authors: Vandenberg H, Martin W, Leurer MD, and Ens A.
Posted on April 5th, 2021
Location: Canada, Saskatchewan

After the Second World War, health prevention work in Canada shifted from a focus on sanitation and hygiene to illness prevention and health promotion. Canada became a significant global leader, beginning with the Lalonde Report of 1974. Yet less is known about the provincial public health associations and how their work differed from that of the national body. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Saskatchewan Public Health Association’s (SPHA) policy work from 1954 to 1986. Utilizing meeting minutes and newsletters, we found that while both national and provincial associations made efforts to prevent accidents, reduce tobacco use, and fluoridate water, the SPHA tended to advocate more for child health, and the cautious use of nuclear power. At the same time, the SPHA’s resolutions tended to ignore emerging factors shaping health, including the social determinants of health, regional inequities, lack of public trust in experts, misinformation, and human psychology. Examining the SPHA’s records revealed that region mattered in preventative policy work.

*Original abstract online at https://utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/cbmh.454-062020