The most recent List of Classifications and Redistribution http://www.nsgeu.ca/filemanager/pdf/HANSClassificationList.pdf have moved all Health Promotion classifications to clerical. Below is the letter that students/trainees at ARCH have submitted to the Health Association Nova Scotia.
To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing on behalf of students/trainees of the Applied Research Collaborations for Health (School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University) to express deep concern and distress over the proposed re-classification of Health Promotion jobs from Healthcare to Clerical in the List of Classifications by DHA and Union with Proposed Redistribution. All previous versions of the List of Classifications maintained health promotion as a part of Healthcare positions.
As trainees in the field of Health Promotion, we believe that this redistribution undermines our discipline and represents a serious setback for health care reform in Nova Scotia. An abundance of evidence-based research has illustrated the critical need to step away from the individual and place focus on the social determinants of health and primary prevention strategies. Health Promotion is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion as “a process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health” and plays a vital role in changes needed in the health system. The field of Health Promotion moves beyond a focus on individual behaviour towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions.
Health Canada states that a key feature of primary care health reform is to place “greater emphasis on health promotion and illness/injury prevention.” Health promoters play a critical role in primary prevention, disease prevention, and the reduction of health inequities. Our training is rooted in evidence-based practice that enables us to produce long-term solutions, rather than short-term gains. Health promoters are interdisciplinary health professionals that are able to bring a comprehensive perspective to health and work at all levels of the health system, including but not limited to health care. Health Promoters build connections with other health professionals and use an upstream approach to enable realistic, broad change rather than focusing solely on individuals and illnesses. We work across communities, with policy makers and researchers to help strengthen the knowledge needed for better health of the population and to reduce health disparities. We take a population health approach by addressing an array of complex health issues that impact our behaviours, the environments in which we live, the health care system, and the economy.
Classifying health promotion employees to clerical positions rather than healthcare workers is a huge step backward in reforming the health care system and could have tremendous impacts on the future health system in Nova Scotia. Health promoters are highly trained individuals who have had rigorous training and education in health promotion or a specific health-related domain (i.e. public health). Many current positions in the health promotion field require highly qualified healthcare professionals through Master’s level training or higher. As health promotion students and trainees, we are concerned that our current training is being devalued and that our potential for future impact on the health system will be restricted due to the shift in classification.
The Ivany Report calls for “new vision, innovative approaches, greater collaboration and a greater willingness to take on the risks associated with economic change and progress” to support the prosperity of our province. Classifying health promotion as clerical work is disparaging to our field and we feel it will have a negative impact on the health system and the health of Nova Scotia as a whole. We strongly advocate that the classification of Health Promotion jobs remain in the Healthcare grouping instead of being classified as Clerical work.
Thank you for your time and attention to the matter.
This letter is endorsed by the following students/trainees of the Applied Research Collaboration for Health, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University: Julia Kontak (MA Health Promotion Student), Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac (Postdoctoral Fellow), Rebecca Spencer (Interdisciplinary PhD Student), Logan Lawerence (MSc Kinesiology Student), Jessie MacKay (BSc Health Promotion Student), Elyse Quann (BSc Health Promotion Student), Melissa Stewart (BSc Health Promotion Student), Isabelle Ouellette (BSc Health Promotion Student), Sherry Jarvis (BSc Health Promotion Graduate), Kate MacLeod (BSc Health Promotion Graduate)