CARRFS eNew profiles a leading member in each issue. In this issue we profile Ms. Cristina Ugolini, Manager, Public Health Observatory, Saskatoon Health Region.
First Published, June 2013
What is your background?
I have a master degree in Public Administration from Western University (formerly known as the University of Western Ontario) in 1996. Prior to coming to Saskatoon, I worked as a policy analyst for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and also for the Ministry of Social Services.
In early 2000, I came to Saskatoon and worked as a policy analyst as a member of the Kenneth J. Fyke Commission on Medicare in Saskatchewan, which made recommendations for health care reform in the province. Following this, I was fortunate to become part of the Roy J. Romanow Commission on the Future of the Health Care in Canada. Working on both commissions gave me great insight into understanding the broader issues that health care faces both in Saskatchewan and in Canada, as well as the many opportunities for improvement. In 2002, I was hired in Saskatoon Health Region as the Manager for the Strategic Health Information and Planning Services branch. I later joined the Public Health Observatory as manager in late 2007, and have been here ever since.
What do you spend most time on in your current position?
As a manager of the Public Health Observatory (PHO), working with a team of 12, I spend a lot of time ensuring the right conditions and resources are in place for the team to excel. I spend time planning and providing feedback and strategic support to my team. We have designed the PHO to provide understandable health information – bringing data and research into the hands of decision makers and public health practitioners. Our aim is to contribute to improved health, and reduced health inequity, through surveillance, applied research and evaluation and knowledge exchange to inform decision-making, policy and service delivery.
With this, a big portion of my work is to work with my team to build and nurture partnerships – both within the Health Region and externally. Community partnership include the University of Saskatchewan for research and surveillance projects, school boards, community based organizations, police, First Nations and Metis partners, to name a few.
What inspired you to work with health and health surveillance?
I believe that we need a much greater emphasis on improving population health, not only for the benefits to society in general, but so that our publicly funded healthcare system can be sustained. I recognize the tremendous importance of the social determinants of health, and I believe that the work of the PHO contributes to moving that important work forward, particularly at a local level. There are many improvements in social policy that will go a long way to improving health outcomes and the overall health of Canadians. Without the information gathered through surveillance and other activities, we would not be in a good position to make important policy and service decisions.
How do you see CARRFS' current role in Canada today?
I appreciate the role that CARRFS plays in bringing a range of organizations and individuals together that are all working toward better information for improved population health. The focus on chronic diseases and risk factors at a regional level fills a previous void in this area. I have appreciated the opportunities to attend conferences and webinars to both learn and share experiences.
You are not currently active involved in CARRFS - what might help you to become involved in CARRFS?
What are the opportunities for CARRFS?
I believe CARRFS could become more connected to the National Collaborating Centres (particularly the Health Determinants and Methods and Tools centres). There is some good complimentary work going on.
What knowledge and experience do you think you can bring to CARRFS?
I can continue to share what we are learning in Saskatoon to try to improve health outcomes and I can share more about the PHO’s role and contribution toward that work. <>
By Jostein Algroy