Public Health

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Our Drug Policy Shouldn't Be a Criminal Justice Issue

Mandatory minimum sentences for possessing drugs for personal use do not make Canadians safer. They will not improve the health of our economy, the safety of our streets, or the well-being of communities throughout Canada. The inevitable overcrowding of Canadian prisons will not only increase tension and conflict in prisons, but also cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

What I learned As a Medical Student Working With Low-Income Families

As a medical student taking part in a Social Paediatrics course at The Hospital for Sick Children, I was recently immersed in the lives and healthcare needs of low-income families in Toronto. This experience reshaped the lens through which I now view healthcare and helped me recognize that societal factors greatly influence the emotional and physical wellbeing of children and their families.
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Why Measles May Be Back For Good

With each new outbreak, measles gains more ground for a permanent return. The virus becomes present year-round and causes seasonal infection like the cold and the flu. Every January to April dozens if not hundreds of people will become infected leaving public health officials with little option than to accept the future is a return to a dark past.
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Three Reasons to Grow Your Pubic Hair

2014 may have been the year of the nipple (#FreeTheNipple), but 2015 is definitely the year of the bush (#PubeGame). Pubic hair is so popular right now, it's vogue. From mild to moderate tuffs, harbouring tiny strands of love in between your legs has been all the rage so far this year and it has no intention of slowing down.
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Why You Shouldn't Worry About Using Public Toilets

A closer inspection of the bacterial species revealed only few pathogenic species. Of those, most were unable to survive over long periods of time. There was little to no risk for infection. As to the majority of bacteria found, they were common, and harmless, fecal and skin bacteria. Even high frequency use of a toilet could not develop pathogens in high enough levels to cause infection.
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Has Canada Forgotten the Harsh Lessons of SARS Already?

It was just 11 years ago when the World Health Organization slapped Toronto with a travel advisory, costing the city $2 billion and 28,000 jobs. This was not because of the number of SARS cases (similar in number to Singapore, which had no such advisory) but because Ottawa did not have a public health leader who could effectively coordinate with the provinces and communicate the outbreak's status to other countries.
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Be Careful or You May Catch 'Fearbola'

Providing effective communication is critical to ensuring health care workers feel informed and safe at work. Nursing union representatives have clearly expressed that nurses do not feel prepared for Ebola in their hospitals. Media stories have documented how personal protective equipment and training for front line health workers hasn't been available in all hospital locations across the country.
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Allowing Private MRI Clinics Does Not Shorten Wait Times in Public Healthcare Systems

Along with failing to increase affordability and access, private MRIs pose a more insidious threat to publicly-funded health care. The more Canadians believe that they have to pay out of their own pocket for necessary care, the more we will see confidence in and commitment to medicare eroded. We need strategies to improve access to diagnostic technologies that strengthen medicare rather than undermining it.
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Nigeria's Optimism Amid Ebola's Threat

Optimism resides in Nigeria, despite the potential horrors of Ebola's global spread. Why so? As of September 23, the Centers for Disease Control has 21 confirmed cases with eight deaths in Nigeria from Ebola. That number is low. This is, in part, because childhood education is essential to the rising Nigerian economy.
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What I've Learned After a Decade of Researching Suicide

The death of comedian Robin Williams last month sparked a worldwide discussion about suicide, its underlying causes and how it might be prevented. And, with World Suicide Prevention Day taking place Sept. 10, the subject is certain to generate more debate as people seek to understand this important health issue. Having spent 10 years researching the subject while working as a professor of psychiatry, I believe there are things we can do as a community to tackle this problem. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to reflect on what researchers have learned over the years about strategies for preventing suicide.
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Canada's Healthcare System Becoming Too Similar To United States'

The latest Commonwealth Study ranked Canada's health care system a dismal second to last in a list of eleven major industrialized countries. It is true that Canada's health system is fragmented and uncoordinated. Too often people fall through the cracks and we are miserable at managing patients with multiple illnesses. And too often our system feels unresponsive to the concerns of patients and their families.
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Bringing Sex Education to the Stage

While some are horrified by the overtly sexual movies and TV shows consumed by today's youth, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health has a slightly different stance. Shira Taylor, a doctoral candidate at the School's Division of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences, is taking to the stage to educate young adults about sex.