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Case Studies

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health

Introduction to Health Equity

The Client

The National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health (NCCDH) provides the Canadian public health community with knowledge and resources to take action on the social determinants of health in order to close the gap between those who are most and least healthy.

Key Project Features

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health and Publich Health Ontario Logo on animated background

The Need for Change

NCCDH identified the need for an accessible, Canadian, introductory course on health equity for public health audiences after completing a comprehensive scan of online courses related to health equity and the social determinants of health. In 2016, NCCDH began developing a health equity course for the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Skills Online course. However, the Skills Online program was discontinued prior to the course being completed.

Building on the content initially developed for Skills Online, in 2018, NCCDH partnered with Public Health Ontario (PHO) in order to create and release a jointly branded, self-directed online introductory health equity course on PHO’s Online Learning platform.

PathWise Solutions was hired to design and develop this course for its diverse audience of public health staff.

The Path for Change

After careful analysis and in close collaboration with NCCDH and PHO, PathWise determined the following:

  • Content would provide opportunities for learners to reflect on how the concepts, skills, and attitudes explored in the course relate to their own context
  • Video interviews would add personal insights and up-to-date knowledge from a variety of Subject Matter Experts
  • Design would allow the course to be seamlessly integrated into PHO’s Online Learning platform, while making the course visually attractive and accessible

A central story and diverse characters, as well as case studies and examples, would ground the course in “real-life” settings and help learners better connect with the material.

The Approach

Adapting content developed by NCCDH, PathWise Solutions provided an engaging, story-driven approach to delivering the course content that included a full French translation and was built using Articulate 360.


  • PDF versions of each course module to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and PHO’s accessibility standards
  • Alternate versions of specific course activities and clear image descriptions (alt text) to ensure screen-reader compatibility and better accessibility
  • Adjusting all aspects of the course to implement full French translations, including graphics, PDFs, and video closed captioning


We structured each module to follow the journey of fictional character Tanis – a former public health nurse and task force leader – as she helps her team develop a better understanding of health equity. Learners increase their own knowledge as they follow Tanis’ team.

PathWise also recorded and edited extensive video interviews with a range of Subject Matter Experts, both in Canada and internationally, working these interviews into the Tanis storyline to enrich the story and maintain the flow of the course.

Videos included both English and French speakers.


The course features

  • Re-designed versions of graphs and tables provided by NCCDH and PHO
  • Flashcards, drag-and-drop activities, and other interactive elements to increase learner engagement
  • Custom-built interactive maps and other from-scratch graphics
  • Inclusion of external videos and other resources, terminology, and reference lists
  • Knowledge checks and quizzes for learners to test their knowledge and directly apply what they’re learning


PathWise was able to work with NCCDH and PHO to provide a robust, interactive Health Equity course that is built to serve both English and French public health workers across Canada. Using a storytelling approach and a variety of interactive elements allows learners to immerse themselves in the material, while applying the core ideas to their own context. The result is a course that successfully addresses the needs of this broad audience, as well as the complexity of the course material.

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