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Porcupine Health Unit Strategic Plan 2013-2018


This high-level five year strategic plan:

  • sets a common direction for the entire organization;
  • clarifies organizational values; and
  • identifies program areas where increased or intensified focus will impact health significantly or will deal with evolving public health concerns within the Porcupine Health Unit service area.

CONTEXT: This document was developed based on analysis of current epidemiological trends; legal, statutory and account- ability requirements; and consultation. The consultation on this document was done from June to November 2012. The document was finalized in December 2012. Consultation involved all PHU staff, the Board of Health, key external stakeholders across sectors and the public. The content of this document is being integrated into program logic models and discussions of progress will be done regularly by PHU management. Evaluation will be done on progress at mid-term and at the end of five years. Baseline indicators will be determined before the close of the 2012 calendar year and baseline data collection done in 2013.

It should be noted, existing high-quality PHU programming will continue. Existing programs will still undergo continuous quality improvement. New areas outlined here will be handled within existing budgets.


Our mission is to empower individuals in the Porcupine Health Unit area to live healthy lives within healthy communities.


The life expectancy of people living in the Porcupine Health Unit area will become comparable to the rest of Ontario and people in this area will enjoy more health throughout their lifespan.

Areas of new/increased focus

Teen Pregnancy: The Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) has 2nd highest rates of teen pregnancy in the province. Within the context of promoting healthy sexuality in general, this problem will be examined, with engagement of the target group, in designing a program to address the root causes.

Mental health and addictions: Mental health challenges and addictions are a serious problem in the PHU, for youth and for adults. There are currently insufficient health resources to deal with this issue in our jurisdiction. Public health only fulfills one part of the whole health system role in this area, however, in the areas of prevention and harm reduction, PHU will be expanding our services. Partnership with key organizations in the community to ensure more comprehensive, integrated and seamless service will be important.

Obesity: There will be an increased focus on this area from youth to adulthood. In addition to existing health promotion programs, PHU will be putting increased focus on strategies to influence the built environment and local food policies, to ensure healthy choices are the easier choices in our communities. Also, sensitivity to weight bias will be integrated into our promotion programs in this area.

Food security: Public health partners with the social sector to ensure those without regular access to healthy nutritious food get access. This program will be expanded to include an increased focus on community gardens and nutritious, affordable food preparation skills for the economically disadvantaged.

Tobacco: The focus of our tobacco efforts will be to improve equitable access to effective smoking cessation supports throughout our community. This includes expanding our internal PHU services; implementing brief contact intervention into all services at the health unit; as well as working with our community partners to increase their capacity and willingness to provide evidenced based smoking cessation services, including brief contact intervention.

Emergency Management: In addition to ensuring appropriate planning and readiness for public health and business continuity emergencies within our current mandate, PHU will be collaboratively engaged in a strategy to ensure mobilization and coordinated planning and response for non-health emergencies (e.g., massive evacuations) in both the health and social sectors in our region.

Healthy aging: The population in the PHU is aging. Strategies to assist seniors in living healthier and more independent lives will be a focus.

Cross-cutting themes

Also, there will be some cross-cutting themes to how we do our work in the next 5 years.

  • Closer collaboration with the Primary Care Sector.
  • Increased use of motivational interviewing, an evidence- based and highly effective strategy for influencing behaviour change.
  • Increased awareness of the epidemiology of different population groups within Porcupine Health Unit (e.g., Aboriginal, different age groups, linguistic groups, different geographic areas, homeless, and populations genetically predisposed to diseases where there are services where early intervention can assist). Epidemiology will be done with sensitivity and with appropriate community engagement to avoid any potential for stigmatization.