Welcome to the home page of SAPH – The Service of Applied Public Health.

This is a health service operating out of the CSSS les Eskers de l’Abitibi – a moderate sized primary and secondary care hospital in northern Québec. Our goal is to combine the culture of Clinical Medicine with the culture of Health Promotion. If you find this surprising, counterintuitive or confusing, then you likely understand that clinical medicine is largely an endeavour devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of DISEASE, whereas HEALTH, in its broadest sense, is a resource, a concept, and a state of mind that can be harnessed by individuals and communities whether or not they have disease. We believe that the promotion of health and the treatment of disease are like two sides of a coin – inherently connected, likely aware of, but completely blind as to the state of the other half. This is a lost opportunity.

Clinicians can and should be promoting health –  yet for the most part they do not – and for good reasons:

  • They have little training in health promotion and public health
  • They work in cultures isolated from health promotion and public health
  • Their is no expectation that clinicians promote heath
  • Clinicians have few resources or incentives to promote health, and
  • Clinicians are busy

All but the last of these is easily fixed, and over 15 years of experience in northern Québec and elsewhere, suggests to us that clinicians are ready, able, and committed to the new role of  the health promoter. This site is a running dialogue and experiment that explores this hypothesis. A multitude of themes are explored on this site: Nutrition, Physical Activity, Urban Planning, Living well, Dying well, Social Determinants of Health, Health Economics, Health Care Systems, and a host of other topics that your Doctor likely cares about, but didn’t learn about in medical school. We also share information and links to various projects arising from CASH, our local health promotion charity, and from our fellows. See the fellows page if you would like to spend learning with us.

Enjoy this provocative video form the govt of Québec on the last decade of life.