An inner-city Saskatoon family doctor is heading to Craik this weekend to discuss his new book which focuses on the social determinants of health and the changes needed to Canada’s public policy with a goal of creating a healthier society.
Dr. Ryan Meili will also address the challenges of recruiting physicians to practise in rural Saskatchewan.
Meili, whose book is entitled A Healthy Society: how a focus on health can revive Canadian democracy, said he will be talking about his experiences working as a doctor in northern Saskatchewan, Mozambique, and Saskatoon as well as the stories of patients included in the book to illustrate the things that “really have an impact” on a person’s health and well-being. The book launch will be held Sept. 9 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Craik Legion Hall.
He said the challenges of income, education, employment, housing, the wider environment and social services or the lack thereof on an individual or community need to be discussed to bring about democratic reform that focuses more on ensuring a better life for all Canadians.
“As countries get wealthy, they also get less equal,” said Meili. “We’re not sharing the wealth in a way that’s allowing everyone to participate. There’s actually quite a lot of research that shows that countries that are more unequal have worse health outcomes.
“The interesting part is you would assume that in a more unequal country you would have more poor people and poor people tend to be sicker ergo worse health outcomes,” he said. “But it’s the wealthy people’s health that suffers as well. No matter what you’re level is, in a more unequal society, your health is worse than someone at the same level that has less of a gap between the rich and the poor.”
Meili said he is “hesitant” to say exactly what he will be discussing about the doctor shortage plaguing rural Saskatchewan and Craik in particular, but he will be speaking about the challenges that exist in recruiting doctors to rural areas in this province and the ideas he thinks could help solve this problem.
“We can often leave rural or the smaller centres out of these discussions, but there is really smart people and really interesting people in all of these communities,” he said about the need for a healthier society. “I’ve been hearing lots about the way the community is getting mobilized around health care with the loss of their doctor. It’s a really great time to open up the books and talk about just what is it that Craik wants for their own health and how the issues in this book will fit into that discussion.”