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Social Determinants of Health (Health Canada)
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The Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) by Health Canada is a crucial concept for premed students to understand as it highlights the various personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence individual and population health. These factors include income, education, employment, childhood experiences, physical environments, social supports, coping skills, access to health services, biology, genetics, gender, culture, and race.

Understanding the SDOH is essential for premed students because it emphasizes the importance of considering a patient's social and economic context when providing medical care. By being familiar with the SDOH, future physicians can recognize and address health inequalities and work towards creating a more equitable healthcare system.

Health inequalities refer to differences in health status between individuals and groups, which can be due to genetics, lifestyle choices, or social determinants. Health inequity, on the other hand, refers to health inequalities that are unfair, unjust, and modifiable. Health equity seeks to reduce these inequalities and increase access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for all.

Premed students can prepare as future physicians by integrating the knowledge of SDOH into their practice, advocating for policies that address these determinants, and working collaboratively with other sectors to improve health equity. By acknowledging and addressing the SDOH, premed students can develop a more holistic, patient-centered approach to medicine, ultimately improving patient outcomes and reducing health disparities within the population.

Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health by Dr. Danielle Martin
Health care issues

Dr. Danielle Martin tells the story of her grandfather, Jacques Elie Shilton, a hard-working Egyptian immigrant who, months after arriving in Montreal with 10 family members, suffered a devastating heart attack.

Vanessa's Law and Mandatory Reporting
Health care issues

Vanessa's Law, or the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, is a critical piece of legislation that aims to enhance patient safety and improve Health Canada's oversight of therapeutic products. It was enacted in 2014 in response to the tragic death of 15-year-old Vanessa Young, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrhythmia after taking the prescribed medication cisapride (Prepulsid®). The law seeks to bolster post-market safety information collection, take appropriate action when serious health risks are identified, and promote transparency in the oversight of therapeutic products.

For premed students preparing to become future physicians, understanding Vanessa's Law and its mandatory reporting requirements is essential. The law empowers Health Canada to require information, tests, or studies, enforce label changes or package modifications, recall unsafe therapeutic products, disclose information in certain circumstances, and impose stringent measures for noncompliance.

Effective December 16th, 2019, health care institutions are required to report serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and medical device incidents (MDIs) under the law. This mandatory reporting helps to identify emerging safety issues, assess the harm versus benefit of drugs and medical devices, and improve patient outcomes and public health by sharing learnings through warnings, advisories, and risk mitigation measures.

Premed students can benefit from understanding the importance of Vanessa's Law in promoting patient safety, strengthening the healthcare system's knowledge base, and driving continuous improvement in the medical field. By familiarizing themselves with this legislation, future physicians will be better equipped to comply with mandatory reporting requirements and contribute to a safer healthcare environment.

STAR method resource to respond to personal questions
Self-reflection

Discover the transformative power of the STAR method in responding to personal questions. By addressing the Situation, Task, Action, and Result, this approach guides you through any challenge with clarity and confidence. Let's explore the pros and cons of volunteer work using the STAR method:

Embrace the rewarding nature of giving back to society (Pro). Volunteering provides opportunities for personal growth, intellectual stimulation, and filling gaps in your life. This fulfilling experience can even lead to improved health, as studies show increased physical activity and positive outlooks from volunteering can lower blood pressure and boost metabolism.

However, be mindful of potential pitfalls (Con). Balancing time commitments is crucial, as volunteering may conflict with school, family, or work obligations. Establish boundaries and communicate them clearly to organizers. Emotional involvement can also be a double-edged sword, bringing both compassion and potential sadness or anxiety. Finally, some may face frustration when others don't share their passion or when organizations lack proper training and structure.

Nonetheless, volunteering remains a valuable pursuit (Pro). It can fulfill community service requirements for students or offer second chances for those in legal trouble. Most importantly, it can reveal hidden talents and foster personal growth, boosting self-esteem, confidence, and opening doors to new experiences.

With the STAR method, you can navigate the complexities of volunteer work and make informed decisions that align with your passions, goals, and abilities. Embrace the challenges and rewards of volunteering, and unlock your true potential.

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