Join us to improve health and wellness in Saskatchewan
The Health Quality Council is looking to build lasting relationships and collaborate with new partners to improve the health and quality of life of Saskatchewan citizens.
We are looking to engage First Nations and Métis communities and organizations to contribute to their work towards improving health and wellness in their communities. We are also looking to work with human services and community-based organizations to optimize programs and services that address the social determinants of health to support the mental health and wellbeing of children, youth, and their families.
If this work is of interest to you, please contact us to discuss partnership opportunities.
In this section
In 2019, the Health Quality Council embarked on a new five-year strategic plan focused on supporting First Nations and Métis health and addressing the social determinants of health, with a focus on child and youth mental health and wellness. Achieving our goals in these areas marks a journey that will continue beyond 2024, to continue to improve health and health care for all Saskatchewan citizens.
We are looking to build new partnerships with stakeholders who are ready and willing to work in new ways to target the root causes of health and wellness and improve the health and quality of life of Saskatchewan citizens. We are striving to better integrate initiatives across the human services sectors, including health, social, education, and justice sectors, community-based organizations, and First Nation and Métis organizations.
If you are working in the areas of First Nations and Metis health and wellness and addressing the social determinants of health to improve child and youth mental health wellness then we may be a good fit to work together to make change happen for better health and health care in Saskatchewan. The Health Quality Council can help you:
- Build capacity for quality improvement in your organization or work.
- Use data to uncover and identify a problem or area for improvement.
- Determine how to use improvement science to accelerate positive change to improve an area that needs improving.
What we offer
A unique position
The Health Quality Council is a uniquely positioned organization within Saskatchewan. We exist at the intersection of government and the health care system, which allows us to work from a place of neutrality and objectivity. Our unique organizational mandate has allowed us to identify and learn from high-performing systems across the world and bring ideas and innovations back to our province.
Many organizations have been conducting work in these areas for decades. We can bring a distinct perspective to the important work that our partners and other organizations are doing by providing a dedicated and objective skill set that includes quality improvement, research (measurement and analytics), collaboration, and skill-building.
A systems thinking perspective
The Health Quality Council is often sought out to bring our unique perspective and critical and objective thinking to problem-solving with our partners, and to help partners collectively set direction. We often describe ourselves as having a “50,000-foot view”, meaning we have a systems perspective, which allows us to see how various parts of a system interact and can help identify the most impactful lever points to dedicate efforts to make improvements. To date, we have focused on the health care system, and we look forward to expanding and applying this lens to the broader system that impacts overall health through partnerships with other human services including social services, education, policing, and justice organizations as well as communities and community-based-organizations.
Quality improvement science expertise
At its core, quality improvement is about applying a systems viewpoint to identifying problems, recognizing their contributing factors, and taking steps to solve them. The Health Quality Council has played a pivotal role in building the infrastructure for this to happen reliably and continuously in Saskatchewan’s health care system. We have demonstrated this through the establishment of dedicated quality improvement departments, the development of training programs and capacity-building opportunities in quality improvement science, and through building and maintaining networks to support knowledge exchange and peer learning. In the coming years, our focus will shift to support other organizations – who also contribute to health and wellness with a focus outside of the health care system – to learn quality improvement and build capacity and infrastructure to support problem identification and sustainable change over the long-term.
We have the skills and experience required to help apply process, structure, and support to embed quality at all levels – from supporting front-line improvements, to embedding quality as a key philosophy in managing, to aligning strategic planning to quality outcomes.
Measurement and analytics skill set
Our experience with complex data linkages will help us link data collected from multiple sources to better understand the broader societal system that impacts health and wellness. We can support our health system decision-makers with evidence and information to guide resourcing and investment. We look forward to convening and engaging with a broader set of stakeholders to work on complex problems.
The research relationships we have with our current partners are among our greatest assets. We collaborate with our research partners to ask difficult questions and conduct analyses that will help find answers to questions that matter. Where there are gaps in the data, we work with our partners to design the measures needed to identify what’s working well and where there are areas for improvement.
The ability to convene and mobilize
Given our extensive skills in facilitation and our impartial position in the province, the Health Quality Council is often looked to as conveners and mobilizers of groups. We provide the upfront engagement required to help partners understand shared purpose, to work together to identify and achieve shared outcomes and goals, and support processes to move groups through consensus, decision, and follow through on commitments.
First Nations and Métis health and wellness
Social inequities, federal policies, residential schools, and ensuing intergenerational trauma continue to have negative effects on health outcomes for Indigenous people in Canada.1 On virtually every measure of health status, such as life expectancy, access to health services, rates of preventable, and chronic and acute health conditions, there are inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.2
While there is a great deal of First Nations & Métis data available from many sources, several issues have been associated with the data, including:
- The need to optimize the coordination of the data across sources.
- The available data does not always adequately allow First Nations & Métis governments and communities to answer important questions or describe the whole context of an issue.
- Difficulties accessing the data.
- Lack of capacity3.
The Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #19 “calls on the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal peoples, to establish measurable goals to identify and close the gaps in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities and to publish annual progress reports and assess long-term trends.”4 (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action). The Health Quality Council will humbly work with Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan to contribute to this call to action.
Enhancing First Nations and Métis Health & Wellness
Our goal: Support First Nations and Métis communities to make sustainable improvements to enhance their health and wellness.
Through this strategic focus area, we will:
- Support First Nations and Métis communities in accessing and understanding their health data so they can make decisions to better meet their needs.
- Engage with communities to learn how the health system can better meet the needs of community members and how we can work together to address issues these communities are facing.
- Use our skills and expertise to contribute to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.
How we work with Indigenous partners
Our philosophy for working with Indigenous communities was created in collaboration with HQC’s cultural advisors to help ensure we are working in a respectful way with Indigenous partners and peoples.
Social determinants of health – child and youth mental health and wellness
Seventy percent of adult mental illness begins during childhood adolescence.5 An estimated 1.2 million children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness – yet less than 20 percent will receive appropriate treatment.5 By age 25, approximately 20 percent of Canadians will develop a mental illness.6
Young people aged 15-24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age, and suicide is the second most common cause of death among young people worldwide.7 At the same time that availability of treatment is critical, identification of early signs and intervention by those who are in daily contact with children and youth, such as parents and educators, is also important. School-based programming, parenting supports, ready access to treatments, and community engagement programs must be undertaken together to help children become emotionally healthy adults. Strengthening these services now will help make a difference in future generations.8
Success can be measured across human services through improved health and social functioning, improvements in educational attainment, decreased criminal activity, increased economic participation, and reduced demand on public funds for certain human services such as policing and social welfare that can be avoided through a holistic approach to better health. For every $1 spent in mental health and addictions treatment, $7 is saved in further health costs and $30 in lost productivity.9
Mental health and addictions issues are often intertwined. While not all individuals with a mental health issue will have a substance abuse issue, or vice versa, there is a significant overlap, and it is recognized that the most effective treatment response recognizes this interplay.10
Addressing the Social Determinants of Health – Child and Youth Mental Health and Wellness
Our goal: Improve services and collaboration in communities to address the social determinants of health to enable children, youth, and their families to lead healthy lives.
Through this strategic focus area, we will:
- Work with partners in both the community and government to accelerate ideas, build change, and inform decision-makers.
- Use our skills in quality improvement to partner with human services and community-based organizations to optimize support for children, youth, and their families.
- Seek out innovations and best practices and bring these learnings back locally. We will look at how we can impact the circumstances that lead to a lower quality of life and prevention strategies.
1 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation. Retrieved from: http://nctr.ca/assets/reports/Final%20Reports/Principles_English_Web.pdf
2 Browne, A. J., Varcoe, C. M., Wong, S. T., Smye, V. L., Lavoie, J., Littlejohn, D., . . . Lennox, S. (2012). Closing the health equity gap: Evidence-based strategies for primary health care organizations. International Journal for Equity in Health, 11(59), 11-59. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-9276-11-59
3 QMR Consulting. (2019). Strengthening the availability of First Nations data. Retrieved from https://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/NCR-11176060-v1-STRENGTHENING_THE_AVAILABILITY_OF_FIRST_NATIONS_DATA-MAR_25_2019-FINAL_E.pdf
4 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Retrieved from http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
5, 6 Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. (2013). When Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems Collide: Understanding, Preventing, Identifying and Addressing Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Issues in Youth. Retrieved from: https://www.ccsa.ca/sites/default/files/2019-05/CCSA-Mental-Health-and-Substance-Abuse-2013-en.pdf
7 Public Health Agency Canada. (2006). The human face of mental health and mental illness in Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/human-humain06/pdf/human_face_e.pdf
8, 10 Stockdale Winder, Fern (2014) A 10 Year Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Saskatchewan, Retrieved from: https://pubsaskdev.blob.core.windows.net/pubsask-prod/99244/99244-Mental_Health_and_Addictions_Action_Plan_Full_Report.pdf
9Government of Ontario. (2009). Every Door is the Right Door: Towards a 10-Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. A discussion paper. Retrieved from: health.gov.on.ca/en/public/…/mentalhealth/…/rep_everydoor.pdf.