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The Code Red Project: Engaging Communities in Health System Change in Hamilton, Canada


  • Patrick DeLuca


  • Steve Buist
  • Neil Johnston


The communication of determinants of health and health outcomes normally executed through academic channels often fail to reach lay audiences. In April of 2010, the results of collaboration between academe and mass media were published in the Hamilton Spectator, one of Canada’s 10 largest English-language daily newspapers as a 7-day series. The aim of the collaboration was to describe the disparities in the determinants of health and health status that exists in the City of Hamilton’s neighbourhoods in a way that could be easily comprehended by a lay audience. Simple statistics, maps of the City’s neighbourhoods, interviews and stories were woven together to communicate these disparities. The reaction to the series was overwhelming. It spawned a new position in the municipal government, was discussed at the Provincial and Federal levels of governments, prompted the local university to alter plans, relocating a new health care centre to the greatest area of need as highlighted by the series, and won several local and national awards. The objective of this manuscript is to describe all aspects of the series, including the specific decisions made, the methods employed and the aftermath of its publication. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick DeLuca & Steve Buist & Neil Johnston, 2012. "The Code Red Project: Engaging Communities in Health System Change in Hamilton, Canada," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(2), pages 317-327, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:2:p:317-327
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-012-0068-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Veenstra, Gerry & Luginaah, Isaac & Wakefield, Sarah & Birch, Stephen & Eyles, John & Elliott, Susan, 2005. "Who you know, where you live: social capital, neighbourhood and health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(12), pages 2799-2818, June.
    2. Hayes, Michael & Ross, Ian E. & Gasher, Mike & Gutstein, Donald & Dunn, James R. & Hackett, Robert A., 2007. "Telling stories: News media, health literacy and public policy in Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(9), pages 1842-1852, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cahuas, Madelaine C. & Wakefield, Sarah & Peng, Yun, 2015. "Social change or business as usual at city hall? Examining an urban municipal government's response to neighbourhood-level health inequities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 366-373.


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