Health Promotion Heroes
James Douketis, MD
Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine
4 Volume 14, Issue 1, 2019
The Canadian Journal of General Internal
Medicine—your Journal—exists to promote scholarship in
general internal medicine and to raise awareness of issues
important in our practices. I am delighted to announce a new
initiative in the Journal aimed at disseminating the work of the
CSIM’s Health Promotion Committee. This group is capably
(and enthusiastically!) led by Dr. Bert Govig and aims to support
health promotion activities by CSIM members and beyond. Each
issue will showcase the activity of a Health Promotion (HP)
Hero. The first to be recognized in our upcoming CJGIM issue is
Dr. Thomas Brothers, who also holds the distinction of being the
2018 recipient of the CSIM’s Hui Lee Health Promotion
Regaining a focus on health promotion is important because
many of us were drawn to medicine to prevent disease and
suffering. Our training, however, and the structure of the health
care system focuses our attention on measurable biologic
defects, leading most of us to remain busy diagnosing and
treating patients with acute and chronic problems. Despite the
realities of our daily practice, we need to find time (however
little it may be) to seek an island of health promotion while
navigating the sea of diagnosis, treatment and short-term crisis
Health promotion can have many faces. Twenty years ago, I co-
developed evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and
treatment of obesity.At that time, we found little evidence to guide
clinicians towards effective community-based prevention programs
or towards prevention or treatment strategies for individuals. This
was frustrating as our intuition was that population-based
interventions like compulsory physical education from grades 1–12,
made sense.As we know, lack of evidence is not the same as lack of
effect, and in this case was possiblydue to a lack of research funding.
Health Promotion now is a priority for governments and health care
systems everywhere, and emerging research is starting to address an
increasing range of interventions addressing social determinants of
health. We are excited about raising the profile of Health Promotion
with this new feature of the Journal and look forward to being
inspired and educated by our HP Heroes.