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Just Ask Angie: 'Be the Change' focuses on social inclusion for March

Q: What does the term “social determinants of health” mean and why should I care? 
Just Ask Angie file
Angie Theilmann is a information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre. She has a biweekly column with the Coast Reporter.

Q: What does the term “social determinants of health” mean and why should I care? 

A: The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that social determinants of health (SDH) are: “The non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age.” Things like economic policies or political systems are wider forces and systems that affect these conditions. 

The list of social determinants of health includes things like: income, education level, Indigenous status, job security, workplace conditions, gender, disability, social inclusion and many more. 

If we look at that last SDH mentioned – social inclusion – the Canadian Public Health Association ( offers some good examples about how social inclusion (or exclusion) can positively or negatively affect health: 

“For a teenage boy with depression [social inclusion] can mean the one or two people he reaches out to when he feels he has nowhere else to turn. A neighbour checking in on an elderly woman who cannot leave her house may be the only means of social inclusion she has. Without that neighbour the elderly woman may go days without any other human interaction and, in some cases, personal support care.” 

Resource Centre Poverty Action project lead Chris Hergesheimer says if we want the Sunshine Coast to be a truly inclusive place, we must commit to working hard to make that a reality. This is why the Poverty Action Team’s Be The Change project has chosen social inclusion as a broad focus for the month of March. 

As part of the month’s ongoing projects and events, Hergesheimer’s team is working on a crowdsourcing project that will create a list of local clubs/groups/networks that offer connection and belonging that can then be shared with our community. As well, one of this month’s public learning opportunities is a presentation called “Social Inclusion: What’s in it for you?” by Vancouver Coastal Health’s Patrick Pouponneau. That’s on Monday March 11 at 6 p.m. at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt. Tickets are free but should be reserved in advance, to guarantee your spot. 

Full details on all of this month’s events, as well as how to add your group or club to the crowd-sourcing list visit the website at, email: [email protected] or call 604-885-4088. If you’re interested in learning more about social determinants of health, or are two places to start. 

Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub at 107A - 5710 Teredo. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Note: on some days, we can book clients after 2 p.m. Contact us: [email protected] or 604-885-4088. Search our online resource directory at Sign up for our newsletter at to stay in the loop!