FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are invited to attend a community conversation entitled Building a Healthy New Brunswick: Acting Together for Equity.

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health has teamed up with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Department of Social Development’s Wellness Branch and the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation to provide the public with this opportunity to explore health equity.

Ryan Meili, who is a doctor, a professor with the University of Saskatchewan and the founder of Upstream, will share his experiences related to advocating for more equitable health through action on the social factors that affect people’s health such as income, education, housing, nutrition, and the wider environment.

“The weight of the evidence for the social determinants of health and the need for creative, system-wide policy changes to address them is simply too great to ignore,” said Dr. Meili. “We need to change the current conversation, to equip and inspire Canadians to demand a healthy society and to understand the best ways to get there.”

Upstream is a national non-profit organization based in Saskatoon. It aims to bridge the gap between public perception and empirical evidence behind what makes the biggest difference in the health of Canadians.

Though health care continues to rank as a top concern, evidence indicates that health care is only one element in determining health outcomes.

“We need to look upstream at the root causes of health inequities to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be healthy,” said Dr. Meili.

The conversation will focus on the report on Health Inequities in New Brunswick published earlier this month by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. The report indicates that low-income New Brunswickers have poorer health and experience more food insecurity than those earning higher incomes.

Dr. Cristin Muecke, acting deputy chief medical officer of health, and local speakers Lucie Chiasson, Isabella Imperatori and Madeleine Berrevoets will also participate and present projects that are focused on creating greater health equity in the province.

People who have an interest in community development, social and health determinants or any form of support to people with low income are invited to join the conversation.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, at the Crowne Plaza Fredericton Lord Beaverbrook. Admission is free, but participants must register online. Simultaneous translation will be provided at the event.