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BC Observatory for Population & Public Health

The Observatory provides collaborative leadership in the development of provincial and regional surveillance capacity with respect to non-communicable diseases, injuries, and risk and protective factors.

The BC Observatory for Population and Public Health (BCOPPH or Observatory) was established in response to a recommendation of the Population and Public Health Surveillance Plan for British Columbia (BC).

It is a partnership between the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), BC Ministry of Health (MOH), BC Provincial Health Officer (PHO), First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Fraser Health Authority (FHA), Interior Health Authority (IHA), Island Health Authority (VIHA), Northern Health Authority (NHA), Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH).

The Observatory’s initial focus is to provide collaborative leadership in the development of provincial and regional surveillance capacity with respect to non-communicable diseases and injuries, risk and protective factors, and environmental health. This includes support to the PHO and Chief Medical Health Officers in regional health authorities to systematically report on their populations’ health status, as required by the Public Health Act. Over the longer term, the intention is to integrate these activities with the existing communicable disease surveillance system.

The Observatory will provide ongoing support to provincial and regional surveillance programs, enhance provincial capacity and coordination, and provide partner organizations with an opportunity to set collaborative priorities and develop joint work plans. Surveillance information produced by the Observatory will be used for policy development, program planning and evaluation, and decision making to enable growth of vibrant British Columbia communities.

The Observatory staff include core resources situated at the BCCDC (the hub) and epidemiology resources within the regional health authorities (the spokes). Currently, the hub consists of the Observatory Director and Administrative Assistant, and the spokes consist of four Regional Epidemiologists. The hub is expected to eventually include a project manager, a knowledge translation specialist, and additional data management and analytic support including computer scientists, epidemiologists and biostatisticians.

The Observatory is more than just its staff. The Technical Committee develops the annual work plan for the Observatory and provides necessary content, operational, and strategic support to Observatory’s ongoing activities and priority projects. Membership includes senior epidemiology representatives from each partner organization. In addition, Public Health Executive Committee (PHEC) provides strategic direction and approves annual work plans and strategic plans. Members of PHEC include senior executive public health leaders in BC’s Ministry of Health and Health Authorities.

The target audiences for the Observatory products are provincial, regional, and local public health staff who perform surveillance, program planning, and policy making functions, among others. Ultimately, the Observatory will become more public facing, providing access to data to help support regional health authorities, local and provincial governments, communities, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the general public.


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SOURCE: BC Observatory for Population & Public Health ( )
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