PHIRN: Population Health Improvement Research Network

Table 1a-b. Location specified in academic/grey literature: Where the research was conducted Ω

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Often related to the affiliation of first authors is the location of research. Table 1a presents the location where research from academic articles was conducted or the location from where the sample was drawn. Close to half (49.1%) of the articles report on research that took place in urban Ontario settings. The majority of urban-based studies in Ontario were conducted in Toronto (35.8%). The remaining (13.9%) were located in other urban settings including Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Kitchener, York and Brant County, Windsor, Waterloo, and Guelph. Only a small number of studies were conducted in rural Ontario (2.9%), other Ontario (2.3%), Ontario and other Canadian (2.3%) settings, and Ontario and international settings (1.2%). First Nations reserves in Ontario were the location for 4.1% studies presented in the academic literature. 12.1% of the studies focus on Canada or the Canadian population including Ontarians. 5.2% articles did not mention specific locations of study but included Ontario population health data.

 

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Table 1b represents the location of research described in the grey literature. Similar to the academic literature, the majority (33.3%) of the research detailed in grey literature was conducted in urban Ontario settings. Again, Toronto appears to be the location for the majority (27.2%) of urban Ontario research. Whereas, 8.8% of research took place in other urban Ontario settings, such as, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Windsor. Rural and northern Ontario settings were the location for only 2.6% and 0.9% grey literature research respectively. Relatively fewer (0.9%) studies from grey literature took place on First Nations reserves in Ontario. A significant amount (19.3%) of Canada-wide health equity studies from grey literature included the Ontario population. 1.8% did not specify the location of study but included Ontario population health data. Overall, the data presented in Tables 1a and 1b reflect that research has been focused mainly in urban Ontario and large cities in particular. Only a limited number of studies looked at inter-provincial aspects. Many areas of Ontario remained unstudied.

 

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Adequate funding for population health intervention research in Ontario is vitally important to reduce the gap in population health inequities within and between the sub-populations and, finally, to improve the health outcomes of the population of Ontario. The academic literature included in this review was mostly derived from national-level Canadian government departments- and agencies-funded research. These agencies or departments include CIHR (Canadian Institute of Health Research, SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council), Health Canada, PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada). There were also provincial government organizations, such as community health centres, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) and hospital research institutes that funded academic research. Very few academic studies were funded by pharmaceutical agencies. By contrast, the majority of grey literature studies were funded by provincial and local level organizations and governments, such as MOHLTC, Ontario Hospital Association, Ontario Women Health Council, Wellesley Institute, United Way Toronto, and the City of Toronto, to name but a few. Academic research studies funded by the two major Canadian funding agencies, CIHR and SSHRC, have been primarily aimed at investigating and determining the factors or determinants of health that impact Ontario population health outcomes. Provincial level organizations and governments, on the other hand, have funded significant amounts of population health policy research studies.

The full text review of the literature articles revealed a wide range of research methods employed. Figure 6a demonstrates the type of research methodology employed in the academic articles included in this review. Categories mentioned in the graph are not exclusive: a study might be epidemiological in nature as well as population-based and also have a policy focus. Epidemiological studies appear to be most prevalent in the population health equity studies included in this review. Exploratory studies appear to be the second most common (32.9%) research focus. Intervention and evaluation studies altogether took third place but, within this category, population health intervention studies made up only 6.9%. Surprisingly, policy research constituted only 11.6% of the total studies, in spite of their already recognized importance in the field of population health by researchers and health advocates (Raphael, 2003, Marmot and Wilkinson, 2006).

Last Updated ( Friday, 23 September 2011 13:59 )