Health professionals, planners, citizens and decision-makers from across Saskatchewan met in Regina on September 16, 2013, to learn how they can make their communities healthier places to live. The Growing Healthy Communities Forum, organized by the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, drew over 40 people, while the Shape Up: Building Communities Shaping Lives pre-conference workshop, organized by the Saskatchewan Professional Planners Institute, drew nearly 90 participants.
These two events both featured a presentation by Healthy Built Environment expert, Dr. Karen Lee, who has been working to make New York City a more fit and active city for the last seven years in her position with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “Chronic diseases are the epidemics of the 21st century” Dr. Lee explained. “When we collaborate across departments, we can create changes in our communities that produce benefits for health, the environment and economic development.”
Both events gave participants the opportunity to try their hand at designing neighbourhoods that foster active modes of transportation, physical activity, healthy eating and social interaction. The pre-conference workshop also included a walking tour of nearby neighbourhoods. “We are bringing health professionals and planners together in the hopes that we can start speaking the same language.” said Pam Dmytriw, Manager of Health Promotion for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. “We want to start the conversation.”
Both these events preceded the Annual Conference of the Saskatchewan Provincial Planners Institute which featured several presentations on the healthy community theme. The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region staff provided two joint presentations; one with the City of Regina and one with a Community Specialist from the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Several of the presentations from these events can be found on the Healthy Canada by Design website at: http://hcbd-clasp.com/clasp-renewal-presentations/.
Prepared by Kim Perrotta