I received the following message from Dietitians of Canada (DC) this morning. If you have used the Canadian Health Network (CHN) in the past, you know it is a very valuable, reliable resource for nutrition and health information. Please consider voicing your concern and expressing your support. The ways you can do this are outlined in the email.
Dear DC Member:
We have received considerable feedback from our members about the recent announcement of the federal government cutbacks to grants and contribution funding that will mean phasing out of the Canadian Health Network by March 2008. Many have expressed dismay and have asked how they can further voice their support for CHN and their concern regarding the loss of this valued and highly-used website.
Dietitians of Canada is providing feedback to the Public Health Agency of Canada to express our concern regarding the gaps that will be left in the absence of CHN. Our key messages focus on:
- how dietitians have been using the site and referring their clients to the site as a place to find trusted health information. CHN has been a valuable support for dietetic practice. CHN boasted approximately 400,000 unique users per month, over 5 million users a year; and profiled over 20,000 peer reviewed resources;
- CHN is cost effective drawing on the resources of 2100 contributing organizations who serve as affiliates and network contributors. The extensive CHN collaboration can help the government achieve its goal of a 20% increase in the proportion of Canadians who are physically active, eat healthy and are at healthy body weights. There is no other web site like it that profiles a wide range of Canadian content in both official languages. CHN helps reduce duplication of effort;
- the need for continued support of health promotion and integrated approaches to chronic disease prevention has never been more pressing with the rising costs of chronic disease;
- the need for resources that can be used to support and foster self-help for the public has never been higher, when the public is ready to take action on behalf of their own health needs and goals;
- the significant contribution that the non-government sector [ie. voluntary health organizations across Canada] makes to health promotion and disease prevention. The CHN supported networking amongst non-profit organizations and provided Canadians with a strong, positive profile of the work done for them by the voluntary, non-profit sector.
To voice your individual concerns please contact Dr. David Butler-Jones, the Chief Public Health Officer at the Public Health Agency at the following address:
Dr. David Butler-Jones
Chief Public Health Officer P
Public Health Agency of Canada
130 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Direct correspondence right on the website: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/contact_cpho_e.html
In addition, you can consider the following options
- contact your local member of parliament in your federal riding, who you can find at http://canada.gc.ca/directories/direct_e.html#mp
- The Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Health Minister's Office - Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building, Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9
Fax: (613) 952-1154
Direct correspondence right on the website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/minist/health-sante/contact/index_e.html
- opposition party health critics.
Liberal: Robert Thibault (West Nova): Thibault.R@parl.gc.ca
NDP: Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North): email@example.com
Bloc: Christiane Gagnon (Quebec): firstname.lastname@example.org
Green Party: Health Promotion critic Blake Poland: email@example.com
If you receive media requests for more information on DC’s response, please refer the requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . .
Thank you all for your continued interest and support.
Mary Sue Waisman, MSc RD
CNH Healthy Eating Affiliate
Dietitians of Canada
I'm very disappointed about this decision to discontinue the CHN and will try to draft a letter before next Monday. Whatever I write, I will share here.