Who We Are

Vision

Health and well-being for all people and communities.

Mission

HealthBridge works with partners and communities worldwide to improve health and reduce health inequities through research, policy and action.

Our Guiding Principles

  1. Collaboration with partners around the world is key to our success and allows us to make a difference.
  2. Local partners and communities drive the process to identify priorities and appropriate solutions, apply innovative and evidence-informed practices, and promote effective policies.
  3. Gender equality, diversity, and inclusiveness are fundamental to health equity and underlie all programs.
  4. The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) guides our work.
  5. Prioritizing people living in vulnerable situations is central to our work.
  6. We address key determinants of health including economic, commercial and environmental determinants, as well as social exclusion.
  7. Communication and knowledge exchange are important components of all programs.
  8. The health impacts of climate change on human and ecological health is incorporated in our work.
  9. As a thought leader, we identify gaps and emerging issues and act as a nimble catalyst that generates multiplier effects.
  10. Integration and synergies are promoted across our programs.

How We Work

HealthBridge is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization that has been working since 1982 in Asia, Africa and the Americas. We aim to improve the health of vulnerable populations, including those at risk of malnutrition, infectious disease and emerging epidemics, such as obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), by bridging the gap between needs and technologies, evidence and policies, and policies and practice.

HealthBridge works with local partners to identify priority issues, develop and implement appropriate solutions, apply innovative and sustainable practices, and promote effective policies.

We promote integration and cross-pollination of programs by addressing the Sustainable Development Goals holistically. For example, we weave a nutrition focus into agriculture interventions and strengthening of health systems. Gender equality is fundamental to health and is an underlying principle for all programs.

Our Story

HealthBridge

Beginnings

HealthBridge's history spans over a quarter of a century, and the organization looks quite different today compared to its beginnings.

In 1976 a new American-based organization called PIACT (Program for Introduction and Adaptation of Contraceptive Technology) was formed. PIACT's mission was focused on providing safe and affordable contraceptive technology to the Global South.

Three years later, PIACT added a health division called PATH – Program for Appropriate Technology in Health. PATH was based in Seattle, and affiliates were established in Mexico, Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

PATH's Executive Director, a Canadian named Dr. Gordon Perkins, met with the Clifford Lee Foundation in Edmonton in 1980, and there agreed to the creation of PATH Canada, which was officially created in1981. The newly-established PATH Canada had the following goals:

  • To improve the availability, effectiveness, safety, consumer acceptance and continued use of contraceptive and health products in the Global South;
  • To identify, develop, or adapt technologies and products that will improve the availability of primary health care;
  • To disseminate the results of studies and distribute scientific and technical data on appropriate health technology.

PATH Canada's early work in health products and technologies took on new contours and deepened by the mid-1990s under its second Executive Director, Tim Stone, when the organization's reputation as an independent and trailblazing body grew. Important new work in the area of food and nutrition, and an emerging focus on encouraging men in gender and reproductive health issues, gave definition to PATH Canada's evolving programs. The organization was shaken by Tim's tragic death in an African airplane hijacking in 1996, but the foundations were strong, and the staff and board of directors were committed.

HealthBridge

Small and Nimble

After Sian FitzGerald took on the role of Executive Director in 1997, PATH Canada continued to strengthen those foundations and to define its contributions in key program areas.

The organization's method of working has continued to the present day:

A small, knowledgeable and effective global staff team; An organizational framework which is strategic and unencumbered by bureaucracy; An approach to addressing key gaps in health equity and programming around the globe, based solidly on research and evidence; Working with effective local partners who can deliver programs and affect local policy; A focus on identifying key policy inputs to influence elements of global health and development. Throughout its life, the organization has worked with local partners in the countries where it operates while also maintaining a small core staff at its headquarters in Ottawa, and in Asia. The Vietnam office provides a strong program base for HealthBridge's work in the region.

Many of the people who make up HealthBridge's Board of Directors are leaders in their technical area of expertise, and all bring connections to the NGO community, international health, governance, and the corporate community. Together these individuals help to extend the organization's profile and reach, and provide guidance on its mission and core activities.

The program areas addressed by HealthBridge have evolved over the years to encompass:

New projects and programs have developed in response to emerging needs and are designed and implemented after careful analysis by staff and Board. The wealth of documented research, knowledge and progress presented in the organization's reports, publications and other communications, together paint a picture of integration, innovation and advancement.

In 2006, as the organization prepared for its 25th anniversary, it paused to rebrand itself so that its primary audiences and others around the world would more easily recognize its niche and contributions. The name HealthBridge Foundation of Canada, and the arcing bridge of its new logo, were adopted to better reflect the organization's work to bridge gaps and improve health and health equity around the world.

HealthBridge

HealthBridge's Symbols

The work of HealthBridge is symbolized by simple and potent images:

A bicycle is a symbol of healthy living, mobility and sustainable transportation

A bowl of food is a symbol of safe and nutritious food accessible to all

A family with a newborn baby is symbol of the importance of sexual, reproductive, maternal and child health & rights

The globe with the NCD emblem is a symbol of the risk of NCDs worldwide and the importance of prevention efforts.

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