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Political Science Social Services & Welfare

A Healthy Society, Updated and Expanded Edition

How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy

by (author) Ryan Meili

foreword by André Picard

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2017
Social Services & Welfare, Health Care Issues, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2017
    List Price
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    Publish Date
    Dec 2017
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A Healthy Society, Updated and Expanded Edition, is one doctor’s vision for a new approach to politics – and a new approach to building a healthier world. Drawing on his experiences as a family physician, Dr. Meili argues that health delivery too often focuses on treatment of immediate causes and ignores more fundamental conditions that lead to poor health. The social determinants of health – income, education, employment, housing, the wider environment, and social supports – have far more impact than the actions of health care providers.


This updated edition describes the positive steps that have been taken since the publication of the first edition. It includes expanded discussions of basic income, poverty reduction strategies, innovative housing polices, carbon pricing, and the role of health professionals in working for health equity, as well as new chapters on poverty, food security, and climate change. This book breaks important ground, showing us how a focus on health can change Canadian politics for the better.

About the authors

Ryan Meili is a family doctor at the West Side Community Clinic in Saskatoon. He also works for the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan as head of the Division of Social Accountability, where he’s responsible for helping ensure that Saskatchewan’s future doctors are equipped to meet the health needs of the diverse communities they will serve. Ryan is vice-chair of the national advocacy organization, Canadian Doctors for Medicare. From its inception, Ryan has been involved in SWITCH, the Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health, a student-run, interdisciplinary, inner-city clinic whose mandate is to bring students from nursing, medicine, social work, physiotherapy, pharmacy, nutrition, and numerous other disciplines together to serve the residents of Saskatoon’s core communities. Ryan also runs the College of Medicine’s Making the Links program, which gives medical students the opportunity to work in Northern Saskatchewan (Île à-la-Crosse, Pinehouse, and Buffalo River Dene Nation), at SWITCH, and in the rural communities of Mozambique in southeast Africa. One of the program’s goals is for students to gain firsthand knowledge of the social factors influencing health by living among and working with diverse peoples. Ryan lives in Saskatoon with his wife, Mahli, who is training to be a pediatrician, and their son, Abraham.

Ryan Meili's profile page

André Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail and one of Canada’s top public policy writers. He is also the author of the best-selling books THE PATH TO HEALTH CARE REFORM: Policies and Politics, CRITICAL CARE: Canadian Nurses Speak For Change; The Gift of Death: Confronting Canada’s Tainted Blood Tragedy and; A CALL TO ALMS: The New Face of Charity in Canada. His latest book is MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH: Public Health Issues in Canada.

André has received much acclaim for his writing, including the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism, the Canadian Policy Research Award, and the Atkinson Fellowship for Public Policy Research. In 2002, he received the Centennial Prize of the Pan-American Health Organization as the top public health reporter in the Americas. In 2005, he was named Canada’s first Public Health Hero by the Canadian Public Health Association, and in 2007 he was honoured as a Champion of Mental Health. His advocacy work has been honoured by a number of consumer health groups, including Safe Kids Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and the Canadian Hearing Society.


André Picard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

A Healthy Society now includes chapters on poverty, food security, and climate change. Thought-provoking and highly readable, it weaves together the vision of a young politician--Meili was elected leader of the Saskatchewan NDP in March 2018--and the advocacy of a good physician who has worked in rural and urban Saskatchewan and in Africa.

Alberta Views, Vol. 21, No. 9

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