Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Sandra Regan



Attention to place in public health policy development at the provincial level often overlooks the specific and unique needs of rural places. The principle aim of this research was to explore whether and how “place” was considered in the context of rural Ontario public health policy implementation for chronic disease prevention (CDP) programs. A secondary analysis of focus group and interview data along with the policy documents from three rural Ontario public health unit sites for the primary Renewal of Public Health Systems (RePHS) study was conducted. Based on a review of the literature on rural health policy and place-based policy, a framework of characteristics was developed and used to analyze the focus group/interview transcripts and policy documents. Qualitative description design and content analysis methods were used to guide this research. Study findings suggest that “place” is a key factor in the implementation of rural public health policy at the local level The unique characteristics of each rural place with respect to capital, community involvement, evidence-informed decision-making, intersectoral collaboration, longevity and commitment, and skilled management were considered to be important considerations in rural public health policy implementation. This study is one of the first to describe how “place” is incorporated into rural public health policy implementation.

Keywords: place, place-based policy, rural health policy, public health policy