• Including health equity considerations in program planning and delivery supports public health unit staff, including SDH-PHNs, to consistently and explicitly work to address SDH and health equity. This would help to address doubts about the role of public health in addressing SDH/health equity, alleviate tension in the practice environment, and demonstrate organizational and leadership support for the work. It would also underline the need to shift approaches, from a largely behavioural and biomedical to a SDH and health equity focus.
• Clearly defined responsibilities for health equity positions (built into accountability agreements that draw explicit links between provincial mandates and locally planned actions) would minimize the disconnect between provincial plan intentions and local health unit interpretations.
• Organizations seeking to better address the SDH and health equity must look internally and align their workplace values, culture, and practices with equity and social justice. By doing so, they create an environment for professionals to develop a reflexive public health practice.
• Public health organizations that 1) develop and promote cultural attributes (such as a shared vision, mission, and goals) that prioritize health equity and are understood and valued throughout the organization, and 2) foster a culture of creativity and responsiveness, will support PHNs and other staff to practice the full scope of their competencies.
• A supportive learning environment in which there is continued development that enables staff to gain the skills required to be effective in their roles. This means cultivating a healthy organizational culture in public health by:
o transforming power relationships within the organization and beyond,
o encouraging access to and free flow of information,
o supporting innovation and new methods, and
o creating an engaged earning environment.
• Internal and external activities serve to bolster the work of the organization. Ensuring that internal structures are in place brings public health staff together and helps reduce internal siloes. Given that the SDH lie outside public health, working in collaboration with communities, health partners and non-health partners is an essential part of the health equity role.
• Visionary and empowering leadership supports the integration of health equity as part of everyday public health practice. Enhancing these leadership styles will help further organizational action.