Tag Archives: Education and Literacy


Author: Annick Vallières

(The article is available in French only)


Intersectionality is a concept that describes the various ways multiple forms of oppression or privilege are interconnected. Today, the concept also applies to the interconnection of different determinants of health in the study of health inequalities. This article describes the concept of intersectionality and how it relates to determinants of health by stating the factors that drive researchers to focus on intersectionality within the scope of determinants of health. It also explains how treating interconnected inequalities as multiple determinants affects people’s health, and how intersectionality can fill the gaps in knowledge surrounding the health of marginalized groups and the general population. The example of breastfeeding is used to show how the intersectional analysis framework could benefit the advancement of knowledge on a specific topic. In conclusion, the article addresses the methodological challenges that are left to overcome to advance the knowledge in this area.



Author: Émilie Lessard

(The article is available in French only)


This article examines the influence of social determinants of health on the entry into, the continuance in, and the exit out of street-level prostitution in Canada. The complexity of street-level prostitution in young women creates multiple challenges in implementing a theoretical model to identify issues affecting the health of prostituted women. Street-level prostitution, being closely linked to substance abuse and homelessness, leads to increased health risks associated with drug dependence, sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, mental health problems, increased exposure to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and a high mortality rate. It is imperative to establish a transdisciplinary theoretical model to understand the entry, the continuance and the exit mechanisms of prostitution to better target preventative interventions and better support women wishing to leave street-level prostitution. The transdisciplinary approach also aims to provide courses of intervention for leaving the prostitution system and for guiding future research.


Sexual Health Education Programs in Ontario and Quebec: A Passing Grade or Flunking Out?

In 2015, Ontario and Quebec introduced new sexual health education programs in elementary and secondary schools. Formal evaluations on the effectiveness of these education programs have yet to be conducted. For now, however, we can pose some preliminary questions: What are their similarities and differences between the two curricula? How comprehensive are they? What do they bring that is novel? Could we give each of them a passing grade?

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An Overview of the Malaria Epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author: Sandra M. Konji


Malaria is a parasitic disease that is transmitted by mosquitos during their blood meal. The risk of contracting malaria is highest for people in tropical countries, due to the ever-present humid weather that allows yearly infections. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa has a disproportionately higher rate of death among women and children with malaria. One of the major barriers identified in the efficacy of malaria treatment and prevention is the lack of health education and literacy. The lack of health education has decreased the efficacy of antimalarial drugs, such as Artemether Lumefantrine, due to the distribution and administration of the drug by untrained persons. The lack of incidence and prevalence data makes it difficult to ensure adequate supply of the drug in endemic countries. Furthermore, the lack of knowledge of malaria pathogenesis and transmission has prevented many from promptly seeking treatment and practicing preventative care methods. Recently, the implementation of health education programs by international organizations has allowed local and travelling healthcare practitioners to be educated on the disease and methods of antimalarial drug administration.

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The Development of Scoring Criteria for a New Picture Naming Task

Authors: Ferzin MahavaChristine SheppardLaura MonettaVanessa Taler


Objective: The purpose of the study was to develop a scoring system for a novel naming task suitable for assessing naming performance in younger (18-30 years) and older (65+ years) adults in monolingual English, monolingual French, and English-French bilingual groups. This novel naming task will serve as an important health service to help diagnose and assess cognitively impaired older individuals, while also serving as an educational tool for healthcare providers.

Materials and Methods: The Naming Task consists of 120 images organized in the same randomized order, and are shown on a white background displayed on a computer screen using PowerPoint. Participants are instructed to name the image displayed. Monolinguals completed the test in their native language and bilinguals completed the test in English only, French only, and a bilingual administration. Scoring criteria was established based on the responses from testing.

Results: Strict and lenient scoring criteria developed for the Naming Task are presented. Eight items were removed from the original Naming Task due to quality and/or clarity, inability to name the image, or too many alternate responses. Performance in mono-lingual English and French was similar in younger and older adults for strict and lenient scoring. Bilinguals performed better with bilingual administration and worse with French administration, where scores were the lowest of all age and language groups.

Conclusion: The Naming Task appears to be suitable for monolingual French and English individuals. Results suggest that a bilingual administration should be used when testing English-French bilinguals.

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Transmission of Human Papillomavirus Without Sexual Contact

Authors: Naweed Ahmed, Wakqas Kayani, Sahab Jamshidi, Suneil Bapat, Ahmed ImamovicPanteha Tavassol


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. There are four common HPV strains: 6, 11, 16, and 18. Strains 6 and 11 cause genital warts, while strains 16 and 18 are asymptomatic in males and may progress to cervical cancer in females. Although uncommon, a small percentage of males and females have been diagnosed with HPV without previous sexual contact. In this case report, we discuss a case conducted on a 15-year-old South Asian male who contracted an unknown low-risk strain of HPV with no history of sexual contact. HPV is highly infectious, however in the majority of cases the immune system is able to clear the infection, preventing the appearance of genital warts. In cases such as these, it is important to help control the spread of viral infections. Several determinants of health are involved in and affect the trans-mission of HPV, including income and social status, social support networks, education and literacy, culture, social and physical environments, and health services. To aid in the prevention of HPV, sexual education should be taught at early ages within schools and the Gardasil® vaccine should be administered to both females and males at an early age to reduce the burden of disease and the incidence of HPV.

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Client (non-) adherence to treatment: A challenge in Peru and Canada

In July and August 2015, I completed a medical volunteer trip in Lima with the organization International Volunteer HQ. I wanted to experience a different health care system and practice my skills as a nursing student. In Peru, poverty creates a large barrier from accessing healthcare for a significant portion of the population. To increase access to care, the government of the Callao region has installed a “clinibus” program which I was involved in. It consists of a bus that travels to different areas providing specialist care. The government covers the cost of visits and most medications; however many clients do not follow the prescribed treatment. During my time in Peru, I observed a lack of information on how to administer treatments, limited understanding of the importance of routine treatment, and distrust of health care professionals.

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The value of summer studentships to help shape undergraduate career trajectories

Authors: Rachael PageZachary FerraroKaren Fung Kee Fung


Education level can have a substantial impact on disease risk and is considered a determinant of health. Quality learning experiences, both in- and outside the classroom, may encourage trainees to pursue higher education. Consequently, this could facilitate improvements in personal development and indirectly impact their outlook, motivation, and health status. Thus, students who have positive learning experiences may be more likely to have improved mental and physical health, and be motivated to apply their learnings in a way that positively impacts the health and well-being of others. Summer studentships are an integral part of stimulating students’ interest in science and medicine, and can direct future career endeavours. Many find summer placements beneficial as they give trainees the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to real-world settings in order to better prepare them for life after undergrad. This commentary aims to inform aspiring medical students of the pros and cons of summer studentships, provide advice on how to overcome challenges they may be faced with during their work term, and encourage trainees to pursue these opportunities to further complement their education so they can develop the necessary skills to help others in the future.

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Introduction to PIAAC – measuring adult literacy and skills

The Programme for International Adult Assessment of Competencies (PIAAC) – the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD ) also calls it the Survey of Adult Skills – is an international effort to assess human skills and further develop our understanding of human capital, started in 2012 in 22 countries (listed below) and coordinated by the OECD. The list of participating countries will be extended to new participants during this decennial as new rounds of the PIAAC assessment are being implemented (participants of the second round of PIAAC are also listed).

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Education and Literacy

“An additional four years of education lowers five-year mortality by 1.8 percentage points; it also reduces the risk of heart disease by 2.16 percentage points, and the risk of diabetes by 1.3 percentage points” (Cutler & Lleras-Muney, 2006).

Education has a strong positive relationship with health status. Its effect is facilitated through several different pathways. Let’s explore them.

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