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Table 1 Groupings related to local structures and environments and PHUs’ SDH activity

From: Understanding action on the social determinants of health: a critical realist analysis of in-depth interviews with staff of nine Ontario public health units

Public Education and Public Advocacy
Regional (1 PHU) Urban (1 PHU)
Urban centre within larger geographical area. Urban jurisdiction.
Well developed network of social service and support agencies within the urban centre. Well developed network of social service and support agencies.
PHU reaches out to these agencies and provides both leadership and support. PHU reaches out to these agencies and provides both leadership and support.
Progressive political environment. Progressive political environment.
Board of Health provides both impetus and support for SDH-related action. Board of Health provides both impetus and support for SDH-related action.
Intersectoral and Community Focused
Urban (2 PHUs) Regional (2 PHUs)
Urban jurisdiction. Regional jurisdiction spread over larger area.
Well-developed network of social service and support agencies. Undeveloped network of social service and support agencies.
PHU reaches out to these agencies and provides support for intersectoral action. Works primarily within regional government structures and participates with networks.
Progressive political environment. Conservative political environment.
Board of Health is supportive but does not provide impetus for action. Board of Health consists of entire regional council and has been brought along on issues.
Regional/Service Delivery-Oriented (3 PHUs)
Regional jurisdiction spread over larger area.
Undeveloped network of social service and support agencies.
PHU has not yet reached out to social service and support agencies.
Conservative political environment.
Board of Health consists of entire regional council and has not been concerned with these issues.