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Communications - News at Medicine - June 2017 - ​Graduate student leads Health Cities initiative in St. John’s

​Graduate student leads Health Cities initiative in St. John’s
June 2, 2017
A Faculty of Medicine graduate student, Nathan Taylor, has helped launch a Healthy Cities Working Group with a non-profit organization to promote the idea of Health for All in St. John’s.

In an effort to promote local advocacy groups and spread the message of a Healthy Cities approach, a working group stemming from the non-profit Happy City has begun a blog series on health in the Avalon region. The group has also attracted a number of Memorial faculty members.

The group organized by Nathan hopes to harness the renewed focus on the North East Avalon’s regional plan, the federal investment in Canadian cities, the provincial commitment to health in all policies and the upcoming municipal election to jump-start the discussion of a Healthy Cities Committee in St. John’s. 

The Healthy Cities approach to city governance is one that focuses on engaging citizens in government activity, breaking down the barriers between sectors to promote inclusive dialogue, accumulating crucial health data to inform decisions and encouraging decision makers to commit to the prioritization of health in policy.

The Healthy Cities approach evolved out of a conference in Toronto in the late 1984. Despite the successful exportation of this home-grown idea to the World Health Organization, and the growing infrastructure of a European network of projects, Canadian municipalities have generally grown apart from the international framework.

That being said, there are four provincial networks of Healthy Communities projects (the Canadian version of Healthy Cities). These networks have different methods, but are similar in principle, and exist to improve the quality of health in their respective municipalities.

In the context of St. John’s, a standing commitment to health in all policies and diverse citizen involvement could contribute to a growing regional culture of health and sustainability. 

Photo: Josh Smee (top), Dr. Dan Fuller (bottom), Dr. Catherine Mah (top), Nathan Taylor (Bottom), Bruce Lee Knox (top) and Stephanie Bowring (far right)

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