David V McQueen
Recently, there was an opening of a health promotion center at a community hospital affiliated with a prestigious New England University. The hospital was the setting for a participatory action approach to health promotion. Even to one long associated with health promotion, it may come as a bit of a shock to think of the hospital as a place for health promotion. Upon reflection, of course, it is a most appropriate place. Where else does one encounter an organization so predominantly focused on the theater of health and illness? Where better to play out the full drama, the full dimensions of health promotion? In its seeming antithesis of health promotion, the hospital reveals the power of settings as a place for health promotion.
The World Health Organization defines settings for health as the place or social context in which people engage in daily activities in which environmental, organizational and personal factors interact to affect health and well being. Thus, settings provide a critical proving ground for health promotion theory and practice. There is clearly a fundamental need for a book that examines the interaction between settings and health promotion theory and practice. Poland, Green and Roadman have produced such a book.
This book, however, is not simply a summary of the state-of-the-art. By interweaving definitive chapters with critical commentary and discourse, it gives the reader a tremendous insight into the knowledge base revealed in the work that has taken place. It also reveals the depth and usefulness of the postmodern discourse when juxtaposed with the concrete attempts to intervene in practice. It is this interplay throughout the work that gives it that added value.
The book also reveals all the issues around settings as the context in which evidence for health promotion success may be found. At first glance, settings appear like a place bounded, controlled, and therefore subject to a certain rigor in intervention that will show how health promotion works. But this is illusory, because the apparent bounded nature gives way to an incredibly rich complexity where interactions are multivariate, layered, dynamic, and synergistic. Thus settings reveal all the complexity with which health promotion must contend. This book takes us further down that complex path.
David V. McQueen-National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta
We wish to thank Linda Sagar, Joanne Taylor Lacey, and Veronica Dooley for their superb editing and clerical support and the Centre for Health Promotion, University of Toronto, Canada for making the contributions of Linda and Joanne possible.
We thank Dan Ruth, Sanford Robinson, and Linda Gray at Sage for their patience, faith, and continued enthusiasm for this project.
We thank our spouses and families for their loving support and understanding during the 2 years required to put this volume together.
As editors, we wish also to thank the many contributing authors to this volume, without whom this project would not have been possible.
Blake D. Poland, University of Toronto
Lawrence W. Green, University of British Columbia
(now at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta)
Irving Rootman, University of Toronto