Canadian hospital leaders face numerous barriers when they seek to work upstream in an effort to improve population health. A noted challenge is lack of role clarity. We introduce the concept of an "upstream hospital leader" in an attempt to address this challenge, and suggest behaviours for how this role can advance population health at the individual, organizational and health system levels. These suggestions aim to contribute to the ongoing conversation and growing interest in the role of hospitals in population health improvement. We invite feedback on these suggestions and encourage leaders to explore opportunities where greater upstream action by their hospital and health system can improve population health.
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