Upstream Approaches Community of Interest

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What are Upstream Approaches?

Think about the most powerful forces in society that distribute wealth, power, resources and opportunities, advantaging some over others. We call these forces structural determinants. These forces are not inherently fair and just. In fact, structural determinants create systems of oppression that profoundly affect people’s lives. This includes things like racism, colonialism, patriarchy, classism and ableism (among others).1

Collectively, the impact of these social and political systems is referred to as structural violence. Structural violence is synonymous with social injustice and frames health inequities as an act of violence.2

Upstream approaches focus on social justice by acknowledging these often unseen systems as the root causes of inequity within and between communities. Upstream approaches work to influence and transform these systems in order to build brighter communities where everyone has access to the same opportunities.3,4

Read more in What Are Upstream Approaches? A Primer.

CoI Goals

The Upstream Approaches Community of Interest (CoI) aims to:

CoI Leads

Sheena Albanese, Health Promotion Planner, Thunder Bay Public Health Unit,

Rilee Willianen, City of Thunder Bay, Rilee.willianen@thunderbay.ca 

EENet Knowledge Broker

David PhillipsDavid.phillips@camh.ca

Become a CoI Member

The Upstream Approaches CoI provides an opportunity for interested individuals to learn about, develop, and deepen their understanding of upstream approaches.

There are two ways to participate:

To join our mailing list or participate in the working group, please email Sheena.Albanese@tbdhu.com.


  1. Illinois Department of Public Health. Understanding Social Determinants of Health. 2024. Accessed January 30, 2024. https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/lifestages-populations/infant-mortality/toolkit/understanding-sdoh.html
  2. De Maio F, Ansell D. “As Natural as the Air Around Us”: On the Origin and Development of the Concept of Structural Violence in Health Research. Int J Health Serv. 2018;48(4):749-759. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020731418792825
  3. Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council. WRCPC Upstream Prevention Video [Video]. YouTube. Published March 7, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=YbFXx99k6NI
  4. Harvard Global Health Institute. Systems of oppression. 2024. Accessed January 30, 2024. https://globalhealth.harvard.edu/domains/systems-of-oppression/

Check out the rest of EENet's CoIs/CoPs here: https://kmb.camh.ca/eenet/communities.