Month: October 2023

Quebec Health Minister resurrects boards of directors in his reform of the health-care network

Health Minister Christian Dubé tabled new amendments to his reform of the health-care network on Tuesday with a view to bringing back boards of directors within institutions.

He said he wanted to strike a balance to protect foundations and the hundreds of millions of dollars they receive.

At a news briefing in Quebec City, the minister explained that he had been working on this compromise for a long time, as he wanted to find a way to strike a balance between coordinating institutions and maintaining their autonomy.

Santé Québec’s mandate will be to ensure the coordination and deployment of best practices throughout the health-care network. For their part, the new institutional boards of directors will have a mandate to manage teaching, research and innovation activities in their facilities.

Philanthropic issues will be entrusted to the CEOs, with the support of a foundation linked to the institution.

“Specifically, when it comes to research, university training and innovation, it’s clear that these people have decision-making power,” he said. “They will still be accountable, but they have decision-making power, with the foundations, to choose the research they want to do.”

The minister also confirmed that he had been approached by several former Quebec premiers in recent months. He described the discussions as “constructive.”

They, like many other influential figures in the business world, would have warned the minister against the risk of losing major donations by not sitting on boards of directors.

Among the criticisms raised was the risk of a loss of identity for the institutions, which could weaken their ability to attract donors.

The minister said he had heard the message and was “not prepared to take that risk.”

Dubé nevertheless sought to defend his decision to limit the powers

Bringing Parkinson’s Information, Interventions to CT’s Hispanic Communities

The research of Cristina Colón-Semenza, assistant professor of kinesiology in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, wants to get people moving to improve their quality of life. As part of her work, she engages people from underrepresented groups in ways that use physical activity to mitigate symptoms and disease progression.

Currently, Colón-Semenza is working on several projects focused on reaching Hispanic people with Parkinson’s disease across the United States.

Smiling people at festival
Colón-Semenza and her lab members at the Puerto Rican day festival, where they assessed attendees and educated them about physical therapy, exercise, and strength (Contributed photo)

“There is evidence that exercise, when appropriately dosed and applied early in the disease, can slow down the progression of the Parkinson’s, but we know that not everyone is aware of this” says Colón-Semenza. “Although exercise can have profound effects on disease management, in a survey of Hispanics with the disease in the New York City area, the majority indicated that exercise was not important. This study will help this community by understanding if this intervention was feasible, acceptable, and appropriate.”

Much of the existing research on the benefits of physical activity for people living with Parkinson’s disease has been conducted with predominantly white, highly educated individuals. Besides the obvious need to have research participants that are representative of the general population of people with Parkinson’s disease, Colón-Semenza’s work is especially important as there is evidence that Hispanics have the highest incidence of Parkinson’s disease in comparison to other ethnic groups in the US.

Through the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at UConn Health, Colón-Semenza is currently recruiting participants for a unique trial. The trial will implement and evaluate an intervention to increase physical activity for individuals with Parkinson’s disease who are Hispanic.

Specifically, it will evaluate if support from

Ginger Zee wears Lara Spencer’s dress 16 months into not buying new clothes

Zee started the #nonewclothes challenge over one year ago.

ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee has not purchased any new clothes for the past 16 months, but she’s still wearing new-to-her clothes thanks to the help of friends.

One of those friends is her own “Good Morning America” colleague, Lara Spencer, whose recycled dress Zee wore Friday on “GMA.”

The two “GMA” stars each posted about the dress swap on Instagram.

“A clothing swap victory!! When one of us at GMA doesn’t wear something anymore we always offer it to the other women on the team. I didn’t love the fit of this dress on me any longer so I offered it to @ginger_zee and WOW!! IT LOOKS FAB ❤️,” Spencer captioned a post that included two photos of her with Zee in the dress. “It makes me so happy to see it still being loved and looking so perfect on GZ.”

Zee shared the same two photos on Instagram, writing, “16 months into my #nonewclothes challenge and I got lucky with a killer Lara-me-down 🙌 thanks @lara.spencer for always being a sustainability supporter.”

Last year, on June 1, Zee began participating in the “No New Clothes” pledge started by Remake, which describes itself as a “global advocacy organization fighting for fair pay and climate justice within the clothing industry.”

The pledge encourages people to not buy any new pieces of clothing for 90 days, but Zee has extended the pledge in her own life for over one year.

“When I saw the pledge was for 90 days, I did not think that would be that difficult. Come to find out, we might not realize how much we buy,” Zee wrote when she started the pledge last year. “The average person purchases 16 new

UN says Gaza Health Ministry death tolls in previous wars ‘credible’ | Israel-Palestine conflict News

As US casts doubt on casualty figures from Gaza, UN official says that few have doubted their reliability in the past.

The United Nations has said the figures provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza have proven consistently credible in the past, after US President Joe Biden cast doubt on the death toll provided by local authorities.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) chief, Philippe Lazzarini, said that few have doubted the credibility of the figures in previous wars.

“In the past, the five, six cycles of conflict in the Gaza Strip, these figures were considered as credible and no one ever really challenged these figures,” Lazzarini told reporters in Jerusalem.

The Health Ministry, which utilises data from morgues and hospitals to reach its figures, released a 212-page document on Thursday with names and identity numbers of those killed.

Lazzarini’s comments come days after Biden said he had “no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed” amid Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the “so-called” Gaza Health Ministry was “a front for Hamas”, the Palestinian armed group which governs Gaza.

Biden’s comments have drawn criticism from Palestinian rights advocates, as Israel carries out relentless air raids on Gaza after cutting off access to food, water, electricity, and fuel for the enclave’s more than 2.3 million residents.

“To dispute those figures was really, really just putting both feet in with Israel on this, in yet another way that dehumanises Palestinians,” Yara Asi, a Palestinian American public health expert at the University of Central Florida, previously told Al Jazeera.

The Health Ministry on Friday said at least 7,326 Palestinians have been killed and more than

How the burden of care falls to women

As we enter cold, flu and COVID season, Canada is continuing to experience a health-care crisis. One in six Canadians don’t have a family doctor and less than 50 per cent are able to see a primary care provider on the same or next day. Both the B.C. Nurses Union and Hospital Employees Union report over one-third of their members are considering quitting, largely due to burnout.

Because women make up 75 per cent of the health-care workforce — and are responsible for the majority of care work in the community and at home — women bear the brunt of this crisis, much as they did during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Book cover 'Conscripted to Care: Women on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response'
‘Conscripted to Care: Women on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response’ compiles the stories of nearly 200 women.
(McGill-Queen’s University Press)

In 2020 and 2021, as co-lead of the Gender and COVID-19 Project based at Simon Fraser University, I spoke with nearly 200 women working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.

Their stories, compiled in my book Conscripted to Care, range from well-paid physicians to those making minimum wage cleaning rooms in long-term care (LTC) facilities, with participants identifying along a range of social positions related to factors including race, ethnicity and sexuality. Their combined experiences illustrate the cracks within our health system created by gender inequality.

Health care is built on women’s labour

A woman in personal protective equipment removing a face mask looking exhausted
Both the B.C. Nurses Union and Hospital Employees Union report over one-third of their members are considering quitting, largely due to burnout.

Not only is the health sector feminized, but women — particularly racialized women — are more likely to be in positions at the lower end of the pay scale, that also require close and prolonged contact with patients. When space, equipment and staff are scarce, these frontline workers are left

Cyberattack at 5 southwestern Ontario hospitals leaves patients awaiting care

As five southwestern Ontario hospitals grapple with a cyberattack they say has caused delays, some patients and their families say they’ve been left waiting for hours and had procedures cancelled. 

Tianna Giesbrecht says she arrived at the Windsor Regional Hospital’s Met campus by ambulance around 5 p.m. Monday for what she suspects is a problem with her appendix. She says she was still waiting by 2 p.m. Tuesday and was later seen that evening. 

Speaking to a CBC reporter via Facebook Messenger, Giesbrecht says people waiting with her in the hospital have left without being seen. Staff, she says, are using paper records and seem “frustrated.”

“It’s extremely frustrating knowing that our hospitals aren’t better equipped against this sort of thing,” Giesbrecht said, noting she works in IT. 

“Plus it’s scary to think of how many people are in pain and needing help and we just sit here waiting.”

A low angle of a tall, hospital building.
Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette Campus is one of five area hospitals experiencing a cyberattack. (Mike Evans/CBC)

Online services such as patient records and email have been down since Monday morning at the five hospitals — Windsor Regional Hospital, Erie Shores HealthCare, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Bluewater Health and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

The five impacted hospitals are not providing comment on Tuesday. 

The hospitals released a statement Monday night saying that they would be contacting those with care scheduled in the coming days to reschedule or provide other arrangements.

“Also, we would continue to ask if you are not needing emergency care to attend your primary care provider or local clinic to reduce the impact upon the hospitals as we work towards addressing these issues and focus on those needing hospital care,” the hospitals said in a joint statement

“Unfortunately, we may not be able to reach all patients, and we request

Preconception period critical to baby’s health: study

“You want to stop that [smoking and drinking] before you get pregnant because you often don’t realise initially that you are pregnant,” Black says. “By the time you find out, some of the crucial structures in the spine and the brain have begun to form.”


And while the majority of women take folic acid once they discover they are pregnant, it needs to be taken for three months before conception to have the most benefit on neural tube defects – defects of the head and the spine – including spina bifida.

Around half of women are overweight or obese entering pregnancy, Black adds. “If you have maternal obesity at the time of conception, you’re more likely to produce a baby that is overweight and more likely that child will be obese.”

Losing weight during pregnancy is not recommended, so any interventions at that point are “too little too late”.

Like many women, Hayley Scutts-Gullery, now 36, had no idea there was anything specific she had to change before trying to conceive.

She and her husband wanted to start trying for a baby in the next six to 12 months and, having witnessed the struggles of friends, the only thing her mind was whether fertility might be an issue.

The Sydney resident had put on 15 kilograms during COVID and wanted to lose some of that weight, but mainly because she knew she would gain more weight during pregnancy.

So when her mum heard an ad on the radio for PreBabe, a world-first research trial exploring how losing weight in the six to 12 months before conception improves outcomes for both the mother and baby, Scutts-Gullery signed up.

The educational component of the program was the first time anyone had explained the implications of being overweight or obese during

Why so much recycled clothing is still going in the garbage

Retail brands like H&M, The Gap and Nike have gone to great lengths to satisfy growing consumer demand for sustainable clothing, but many of the companies’ labels and claims do not stand up to scrutiny, particularly when it comes to recycled materials.

CBC’s Marketplace found a number of products labelled as recycled or made with recycled materials selling at top Canadian retailers in the Toronto area. The items, purchased from H&M, The Gap, Zara, Nike and Lululemon, were available in-store and online across the country.

While clever marketing may lead consumers to believe their new shoes or clothes are made entirely from old ones, that’s simply not the case, says George Harding-Rolls, advocacy director for Eco-Age, a U.K.-based sustainability agency. 

“We’re awash in a sea of green claims that are incredibly difficult to decipher,” said Harding-Rolls. In a report for the Changing Markets Foundation called Synthetic Anonymous, he reviewed some 4,000 products from 12 online brands and found that 59 per cent of green claims are unsubstantiated or misleading. Many of those claims were tied to recycled polyester.

A white sneaker on top of a shoe box that reads "Move to zero is Nike's journey toward zero carbon and zero waste to help protect the future of sport."
These sneakers purchased in Toronto are an example of Nike’s ‘Move to Zero’ campaign and logo. Companies such as Nike, H&M, Lululemon, Zara and Gap are pushing so-called sustainable clothes, but experts say the only thing green about many of them is that they’ve been greenwashed. (Dave MacIntosh/CBC)

One example Marketplace found was a pair of Nike sneakers labelled with its circular “Next to Nature” swoosh logo, which the company described online as made with sustainable materials with “at least 20 per cent recycled content by weight.”

Harding-Rolls says the shoes are “about as far away from nature as it’s possible to get.”

  • Watch the full Marketplace episode, Exposing the Secrets of Sustainable Fashion, Friday at 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m. in

Former Nova Scotia Health data analyst says he was fired for speaking up

A data analyst who worked for Nova Scotia Health for four years says he was let go for speaking up about what he perceived as serious issues with the emergency department wait-time prediction project.

Jesse Yang said he escalated concerns about the data used in the project, both verbally and in writing, over the course of a year. He said he sought support from supervisors, Nova Scotia Health’s ethics department, human resources, and the Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman.

After his complaints, he stopped working on the project and was placed on a new project. Issues with his work performance were brought up at this time, and ultimately, his year-to-year contract wasn’t renewed. 

Yang is now undergoing a Nova Scotia Labour Board arbitration under the Public Interest Disclosure Wrongdoing Act, arguing he experienced retaliation. 

In his opening statements at the hearing Thursday, Killian McParland, Nova Scotia Health’s lawyer, said the health authority denies retaliating against Yang.

McParland said Yang’s complaint doesn’t fit the narrow scope of the Act, meaning the health authority doesn’t believe he was a whistleblower, and his contract wasn’t renewed due to poor work performance.

Emergency department wait-time tool

Nova Scotia Health’s online emergency department wait-time tool was introduced this June as a way to predict wait-times at 10 emergency departments across the province.

In a news release at the time, the health authority said the site is an “information tool” to give people an idea of how long they may need to wait for care.

It said the predicted wait-times posted are based on “recent data” and are “shown as an approximate range and are updated hourly.” The site also allows people to look up anticipated wait-times up to 12 hours ahead.

But Nova Scotia Health noted the wait-times are not guaranteed and “may not

Action plan for better data on migration and

Professor Dr Kayvan Bozorgmehr


Professor Dr Kayvan Bozorgmehr from Bielefeld University is one of the two researchers leading the study, which proposes how the data situation on migration and health in health systems can be improved.

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Credit: Bielefeld University/Mike-Dennis Müller

Despite rising global mobility, the state of migrant and refugee health data in European health systems is a concern, a new study shows. The analysis by an international coalition of universities, UN organizations, government representatives, and European institutions published in the journal The Lancet Regional Health Europe reveals that coverage of migrant and refugee data remains inconsistent and of suboptimal quality. According to the study this issue is not due to a lack of knowledge or technological resources but rather arises from multiple political and structural factors at local, national, and European levels that hinder the effective implementation of existing guidelines. The coalition, led by Bielefeld University in Germany and Uppsala University in Sweden, proposes a roadmap for policy makers and European health systems to improve the situation.

‘Migrant and refugee health data is more than just statistics. It’s about human lives and well-being, but also of unnoticed inequalities if health needs go unmeasured,’ says Professor Dr Kayvan Bozorgmehr. In his view health systems committed to inclusive and equitable healthcare need to ensure that migrants and refugees are not systematically excluded from data collection systems.
Bozorgmehr and his colleague Dr Soorej Puthoopparambil from Uppsala University led the international coalition of authors including ten European universities, three national public health agencies, three Collaborating Centres of the World Health Organization, as well as several institutions and United Nations (UN) agencies such as the World Health Organization Regional Office Europe, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The article was produced in the scope of the Lancet Migration European

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