Policies and Program Innovations that Connect Primary Health Care to Social, Community and Public Health Services in Canada: A Comparative Policy Analysis.  

Nominated Principal Applicant: Dr. Jeannie Haggerty (McGill University)

Principal Applicants from Alberta: Cathie Scott (Alberta Centre for Children, Family & Community Research)

Co-principal applicants from Alberta: Dr. Maeve O’Beirne (University of Calgary)

Provinces involved: Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Quebec

Project duration: 24 months

Project description:
Addressing effectively the needs of patients with complex needs (e.g. mental health and addictions) or avoid or delay health deterioration in vulnerable persons (e.g. elderly persons loosing functional health and autonomy) increasingly requires that primary medical care services connect with social services and community supports.
This comparative policy analysis has a descriptive and an analytic phase.  The descriptive phase will have preliminary results at 6 months to inform provincial PICHI networks in the choice of multi-year collaborations for the Canadian PICHI Network.  The analytic phase is designed to shed light on issues to consider in the implementation of cross-jurisdictional innovations. It has the following specific objectives: 

  • To describe the policy context in Canadian provinces and territories with respect to the boundaries, governance and functionalities between primary health care services and social and community services.
  • To describe new and emerging integrated service delivery models that connect health and social services in Canadian provinces and territories since the 2001 First Ministers Health Accord
  • To identify elements of successful design and implementation of models to connect care across the health-social-community interface for persons with two tracer conditions, provisionally:  mental health and addictions; elderly persons facing loss of functional health and autonomy. 

Aligned with the priorities of Alberta:

  • This project responds to the Alberta priorities of reaching vulnerable populations and models of care. 
  • Though vulnerable populations are not the specific focus of this project, vulnerable patients are more likely to have social and psychological dimensions to their needs creating complex care needs with management that extends beyond the scope of the health system.  
  • The integrated models that can be considered for innovations will be subject to constraints in the governance and regulatory systems in the province or territory. This project will provide critical contextual information for assessing the relevance and potential fit of models that have emerged from other provinces. 


The Alberta SPOR PIHCIN will provide support for this project in the following areas:

  • Access to networking support in Alberta and nationally through the SPOR PIHCIN network of networks;
  • Methodology development support through the Alberta SPOR PIHCIN Coordinator and Tripartite Leads; 
  • Provide patient feedback on the LOI that was submitted in development of the grant proposal;
  • Facilitate any requested expertise from the seven Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Platforms to ensure that integration from research into care has a significant positive impact for patients and the health care system.

Conference presentation: (to be updated)

Publication: (to be updated)

Contact information:

Jeannie Haggerty
McGill University
514 345 3511 ext 6334

Cathie Scott
Alberta Centre for Children, Family & Community Research