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A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health can Revive Canadian Democracy Paperback – Apr 16 2012
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Through a mix of scholarship and story, the author proposes a new approach to politics. The use of human health as a measure of our success as a society appeals beyond political lines to common values. By synthesizing diverse ideas into a plan for action based in the lived experiences of practitioners and patients, A Healthy Society breaks important ground in the renewal of politics toward the goal of better lives for all Canadians. Income, education, employment, housing, the wider environment, and social supports: far more than the actions of physicians, nurses, and other health care providers, it is these determinants of health that make the greatest difference in our health. Brought to life by the stories of patient experiences, A Healthy Society explores a number of specific health determinants, and ends in a discussion of democratic reforms that could help reshape the way we organize ourselves to create a truly healthy society.
About the Author
Ryan Meili is a family doctor at the West Side Community Clinic in Saskatoon. He also works for the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan as head of the Division of Social Accountability, where he's responsible for helping ensure that Saskatchewan's future doctors are equipped to meet the health needs of the diverse communities they will serve. Ryan is vice-chair of the national advocacy organization, Canadian Doctors for Medicare. From its inception, Ryan has been involved in SWITCH, the Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health, a student-run, interdisciplinary, inner-city clinic whose mandate is to bring students from nursing, medicine, social work, physiotherapy, pharmacy, nutrition, and numerous other disciplines together to serve the residents of Saskatoon's core communities. Ryan also runs the College of Medicine's Making the Links program, which gives medical students the opportunity to work in Northern Saskatchewan (Île à-la-Crosse, Pinehouse, and Buffalo River Dene Nation), at SWITCH, and in the rural communities of Mozambique in southeast Africa. One of the program's goals is for students to gain firsthand knowledge of the social factors influencing health by living among and working with diverse peoples. Ryan lives in Saskatoon with his wife, Mahli, who is training to be a pediatrician, and their son, Abraham.
Top Customer Reviews
Canada’s health care system functions uniquely as one of its few great equalizers. Everyone can use the health care system, but other determinants of health, such as education, employment, transportation, and even fresh vegetables, are not distributed equally throughout the class hierarchy of Canadian society. This becomes apparent to doctors when the health care system is called upon to pick up the pieces in the lives of poor and disadvantaged individuals, who often become unhealthy because they lack of access to the other determinants of health.
The thesis of Dr. Ryan Meili’s book A Healthy Society is that a healthy society is an equal society; specifically a society that values equal access both to health care and other determinants of health. Meili is a family doctor who provides medical services in several poor communities in the province of Saskatchewan. His book is written in a very personable style, his writing skillfully weaving a patterned fabric of policy commentary, health statistics, and adventurous vignettes. Meili’s story of health care provision in Saskatchewan reads like a movie script at times, complete with colourful characters, dramatic accidents, and speeding ambulances. Through his adventure and subsequent analysis, Meili thoughtfully describes several obstacles to societal health along with opportunities for improvement.Read more ›
A tour de force! In A Healthy Society Dr. Ryan Meili has interwoven the academic literature on the determinants of health with his experiences as a physician and community activist to present a vivid portrait of the adverse effects of current public policy directions upon the health of Canadians. The volume is disturbing, but also inspiring in that its analysis points the way forward out of our current predicament. Dr. Meili may well be the modern incarnation of Dr. Rudolf Virchow who pointed out in 1848 that "Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing more than medicine on a grand scale.
Dennis Raphael, PhD
Professor of Health Policy, York University, and editor of
Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives