Timeline offers interactive look at health history in Sask

January 27, 2014

The Saskatchewan Population Health Evaluation and Research Unit (SPHERU) is unveiling an innovative new tool for studying the history of health in Saskatchewan.

The Historical Health Timeline is an interactive, online resource that offers a historical range of events occurring between 1905 and 1985 that have affected the health of Saskatchewan residents.

Some of the benchmarks include Saskatchewan’s becoming the first province to offer free tuberculosis vaccine, the opening of the first hospital designed to treat the mentally ill, a public works project during the Depression to deepen Wascana Lake, the introduction of the provincial sales tax, the enfranchisement of First Nations, to name only a few.

Spearheading the political side of the timeline, Tom McIntosh, SPHERU Associate Director, says, “Our hope is that other scholars will see an opportunity to add to the content by including their work on the timeline and that, ultimately, it becomes a ‘living’ teaching and research resource for people in the province.”

"This interactive timeline will offer the user a glimpse into Saskatchewan's rich and important history of health and health care, through text, photographs, and links to external documents,” adds Paul Hackett. “As we go forward we intend to build upon the present foundation, so that the timeline can become a gateway to understanding the past as well as how we got to where we are.”

The creation of the timeline was a collaboration among several SPHERU members including McIntosh, Hackett, James Daschuk, Gloria DeSantis and Tara Todd.

“The timeline is practical to use and serves as an engaging and exciting method of transferring knowledge and research to others,” says Todd, who was instrumental in developing the timeline. “The easily scrollable events provide a rich history of formal legislation, technological interventions, medical breakthroughs, widespread epidemics, changing health care practices and policies, and a general overview of how social determinants have historically played a role in affecting health status in Saskatchewan.”

SPHERU launched a prototype of the site in the fall. The timeline is now on the SPHERU website at www.spheru.ca. It can be found under Publications/History of Health Inequities.

The timeline project was developed as part of a larger project looking at the history of health in the province, led by Dr. Bonnie Jeffery (U of R) and Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine (U of S), with funding from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation.


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