Culture Counts: A Guide to Best Practices for Developing Health Promotion Initiatives in Mental Health and Substance Use with
Acculturation—a process in which members of one cultural group adopt or adapt to the beliefs and behaviours of another group. This may
lead to changes in language preferences, attitudes and values, and loss of separate ethnic identification.
Capacity building—increasing or enhancing skills and resources to deal with challenges. Community capacity building in health promotion means
helping communities develop the skills and resources needed to address the community’s health issues.
Community—“A specific group of people, often living in a defined geographical area, who share a common culture, values and norms, are
arranged in a social structure according to relationships which the community has developed over a period of time. Members
of a community gain their personal and social identity by sharing common beliefs, values and norms which have been developed
by the community in the past and may be modified in the future. They exhibit some awareness of their identity as a group,
and share common needs and a commitment to meeting them.” (WHO)
Cultural adaptation—process of adjusting health initiatives to the intended audience using terms, images, graphic elements and delivery methods
that reflect the cultural values and social norms of the intended audience.
Cultural competence—capacity of an organization or individual to appreciate diversity, and to adapt to and work with people of different cultures,
while ensuring everyone is treated equally.
Culture—socially inherited body of learning characteristic of human societies, including knowledge, values, beliefs, customs, language,
religion, art, and so on.
Determinant of health—“range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors, which determine the health status of individuals or populations.”
Discrimination—unfair treatment of individuals or groups because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
Focus group—qualitative research technique in which a facilitator guides a gathering of 8 to 12 people through an open discussion of
a particular topic.
Dominant group—group which possesses the power and authority to reproduce the prevailing distribution of power, wealth and status in society.
The dominant group is often, but not always, the numeric majority.
Equity—“Equity means fairness. Equity in health means that people’s needs guide the distribution of opportunities for well-being.”
Ethnocultural—adjective referring to a group of people who share and identify with certain common traits, such as language, ancestry, homeland,
history, and cultural traditions. In this guide, ethnocultural communities are defined as those communities whose members
have ethnic origins that are not French, British or Aboriginal. While ethnocultural communities often include newcomers, it
is important to remember they also include people whose roots in Canada go back more than one generation.
Health—“A state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Within the
context of health promotion, health has been considered less as an abstract state and more as a means to an end which can
be expressed in functional terms as a resource which permits people to lead an individually, socially and economically productive
life. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the object of living. It is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal
resources as well as physical capabilities.” (WHO)
Health promotion—“the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health.” (WHO)
Intended audience—the group of people a health promotion initiative is designed to affect; also called the “target audience.”
Initiative—“activity or set of activities aimed at modifying a process, course of action or sequence of events, in order to change one
or several of its characteristics such as performance or expected outcome.” Also called an “intervention.” (WHO)
Key informants—community members who play a leadership role in some sector—business, religion, politics, community organizations, health,
social work—and know about community issues. Consult key informants who have influence, knowledge and experience related to
the cultural aspects of health, mental health and substance use concerns to learn about community health issues.
Low literacy—limited ability to use printed and written information.
Multiculturalism—a policy that acknowledges and promotes the idea that all cultures have equal value, or a reference to the ethnic make-up
of a society.
Outcome evaluation—research designed to assess the degree to which an initiative or project achieved its goals.
Process evaluation—research conducted to document and measure how well an initiative or project or plan is working.
PSA—public service announcement; an message that a mass media outlet (magazine, newspaper, radio station, Web site, television
station, billboard, etc.) prints or airs for free.
Qualitative research—gathering information by getting reactions and impressions from people by engaging them in discussions; may include people’s
stories, beliefs, feelings, suggestions and so on, usually told in their own words, in their own language; photos, audio recordings,
videos and so on may also be used to report research results.
Quantitative research—gathering information by asking a large number of people identical questions; tells how many, when, what kind; used for producing
statistics, usually reported in tables and graphs.
Racism—belief that one racial group has natural superiority over others; used, consciously and unconsciously, to justify, protect
and maintain the position of one group.
Refugees— migrants who, voluntarily or involuntarily, flee their native country, usually to escape persecution due to their race,
religion or political views.
Social marketing—use of commercial methods to define an intended audience and then plan, develop, implement and evaluate initiatives aimed
at bringing about healthy behaviour changes in members of that audience.
- Health Canada. “Social Marketing.” 8 August 2005. Web site accessed March 2007.
- World Health Organization. Health Promotion Glossary. Division of Health Promotion, Education and Communications (HPR) and
Health Education and Health Promotion Unit (HEP), Geneva: Switzerland, 1998.
Available from: http://www.who.int/hpr/NPH/docs/hp_glossary_en.pdf