Lifting the veil off the role of women in health care

There’s a significant lack of gender parity in health leadership positions. Pay equity and workplace safety must also be addressed

Lifting the veil off the role of women in health careSometimes an issue can be so pervasive that it’s rendered nearly invisible. Take for instance the gender of the health workforce. Women comprise 82 per cent of health workers in Canada, in contrast to 47 per cent in the total labour force. This surpasses the global rate of 70 per cent. From 1997 to 2016,…

Turning the tide on the harm of opioids

Doctors must discuss pain management options with patients and not jump to the prescription pad for a quick fix

Turning the tide on the harm of opioidsBy Dr. Wendy Levinson and Dr. Laurent Marcoux EvidenceNetwork.ca As clinicians, we’re bound by professionalism and our ethical responsibilities to do no harm, and to do what we can to address the pain and suffering of our patients. When powerful pain-relieving opioid medications were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed to be a way…

How to provide consistent health care to all Canadians

We all must have access to high-quality health care. Unjustifiable variations are still too common across the country

How to provide consistent health care to all CanadiansBy P.G. Forest and Danielle Martin EvidenceNetwork.ca Canadian medicare would not exist without the actions of the federal government. But in recent years, there’s been an atrophy of the imagination about Ottawa’s role in health policy, as if federal transfer payments to the provinces and territories were the beginning and the end of everything. We…

When the doctor says sorry

It’s been a dozen years since health-care apology laws came to Canada. Do they work?

When the doctor says sorryMy introduction to the complex and emotional world of adverse events in health care occurred in 2001 when I chaired a committee to review an inquest report into the tragic deaths of 12 infants in a pediatric surgery program in Manitoba. Justice Murray Sinclair, who conducted the inquest, had concluded that at least five of…

Music’s power to improve the challenges associated with autism

Music interventions are evidence-based with positive results – so why don’t we use them more often?

Music’s power to improve the challenges associated with autismMy son is practising the piano as I write this and it’s the sweetest sound. He’s spent two years working slowly through the same level but it doesn’t matter; he’s improving and the benefits of both music therapy and music lessons have been clear and measurable. My only wish is that I had started sooner.…

Death’s tug of war with mystery and science

If you want technology as a friend, learn its values, side effects and track record. Particularly when discussing issues like medical aid in dying

Death’s tug of war with mystery and science“An obsession with ‘present mindedness’ wipes out concerns about past or future.” – Harold Innis I count myself lucky to have been born when death was still pretty much a mystery, more the prerogative of poets and other artists, philosophers and religious teachers than of scientists and doctors. I grew up surrounded by death. I…

Quest for equality must first address poverty, childcare

Too many people are one job loss, one illness, one retirement or one calamity away from disaster. We need income security

Quest for equality must first address poverty, childcareWhen I was an economics student years ago, the last living student of John Maynard Keynes, noted economist Joan Robinson, gave a lecture to a packed hall. During the question period, one smart aleck student asked, “Why should anyone study economics?” After a prolonged pause, her answer was simple, “So you know when economists are…

What happens to our children with disabilities when we die?

Fix the Registered Disability Savings Plan and close the poverty gap of Canadians with disabilities

What happens to our children with disabilities when we die?Canada’s Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is the first poverty-fighting tool for people with disabilities in the world. This remarkable example of federal/provincial/territorial co-operation, created in 2008, has already changed the lives of more than 150,000 Canadians with disabilities. Unfortunately, the RDSP is only reaching 29 per cent of those eligible. And due to restrictions…

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her baby

Postpartum OCD is frequently misdiagnosed and misunderstood – but it is treatable, help is available

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her babyBy Gina Wong and Nicole Letourneau EvidenceNetwork.ca In January, a new mother in California became part of a viral Facebook post that described her baby’s four-month postpartum checkup. As a result of the thoughts she shared with her health-care providers, the police were called and she was escorted to the hospital, forcibly admitted to the…

Let’s lift all Canadians out of poverty

The time has come for Canada to have a dialogue about a national basic income program

Let’s lift all Canadians out of povertyA basic income guarantee has been back in the news a lot lately, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and other tech giants who have publicly endorsed the concept. But it’s not just talk in Canada. Ontario is piloting a basic income across three cities, Quebec has brought in a basic income for…

The diet shell game

Stick to the evidence when reporting on – and endorsing – food studies. We need real solutions to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, not sales jobs

The diet shell gameTwo of the best-known American food journalists have been telling readers lately that the DASH and Mediterranean diets aren’t best for our health. But the evidence tells a different story. The journalists are Gary Taubes, the author of The Case Against Sugar, and Nina Teicholz, the author of the bestselling The Big Fat Surprise. In their recent…

Pay equity laws alone won’t close the gap

Canadian families need affordable, accessible child care to effectively address gender equity issues

Pay equity laws alone won’t close the gapThere were a lot of old ghosts haunting the Liberal government when it tabled its budget on Feb. 27. But have these spectres brought change to women’s lives in the wake of the recent International Women’s Day? Not likely. The budget announced proactive pay equity for workers in federally regulated sectors (banking, communication, transportation, Crown…

The family that reads together, thrives together

Almost nine million Canadians can’t read well enough to perform everyday tasks. We need a cultural shift to a family-centred approach to literacy

The family that reads together, thrives togetherBy Erin Schryer and Nicole Letourneau EvidenceNetwork.ca Two out of five Canadian adults – nearly nine million people – can’t read well enough to perform everyday tasks. Reading difficulties start early. Children who aren’t reading well by the end of Grade 1 are never likely to read well. Reduced literacy puts these children at a…

Why won’t Canada stand up to Purdue Pharma?

The opioid manufacturer admits to illegal activity in the U.S., stops ads there and pays hundreds of millions in penalties. In Canada, it's business as usual

Why won’t Canada stand up to Purdue Pharma?By Nav Persaud and Andrew S. Boozary EvidenceNetwork.ca Canadians are paying dearly for government inaction over the opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma recently announced that it will stop advertising opioids to doctors in the United States after pleading guilty to misleading marketing more than a decade ago. This is a major, albeit belated, departure from the…

Access to medications shouldn’t depend on your job

We could give politicians the same medication coverage plans as food servers and see if that speeds up their deliberations about publicly-funding medications

Access to medications shouldn’t depend on your jobMembers of Parliament mulling options for publicly-funding medications will likely take their sweet time. There’s no rush for them because they already have the type of access to medications contemplated for other Canadians. While approximately three million Canadians don’t take medications as directed because of the cost, MPs and other lawmakers enjoy platinum medication plans…