Building Healthy Communities: Bringing Health & Wellness to the Community Planning Table is a joint effort by the Provincial Wellness Advisory Council, the Newfoundland & Labrador Public Health Association and the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors—Newfoundland & Labrador Chapter.

The idea of hosting a conference on the Built Environment arose from the development of Phase 2 of PWAC’s goals and objectives. A key issue that was identified was that of “supportive environments”. Supportive environments are communities that support people to be physically active, to have access to safe, nutritious, affordable food; and to be socially connected. They are places where residents can walk or bike to their work, their school or their grocery store. They are neighbourhoods with a strong sense of community. Supportive environments are created and protected, in large part, by public policies, government programs and industry standards. Supportive environments are critical to individuals achieving health.

One key component to supportive environments is the Built Environment. The Built Environment consists of the buildings, transportation routes, municipal infrastructure and town plans that shape the world we live in. It includes parks, trails and agricultural ‘green belts’. The Built Environment is the physical manifestation of the world in which we live, work, play and go to school. With the restructuring of our economy and communities, Newfoundland & Labrador is experiencing massive changes in our Built Environment that will echo for generations.

PWAC sought to host a conference on the topic of the Built Environment and the impact it has on the health of our population. The objectives of this conference are to raise awareness of the impact that the Built Environment has on health, to bring together multiple stakeholder groups from across the province, and to serve as a starting point for future collaborations to improve the Built Environment in Newfoundland & Labrador.

In addition to PWAC, NLPHA is an original partner in organizing this conference. NLPHA’s Strategic Plan calls for “an effective public health system that promotes and supports the health and wellbeing of the people and communities of Newfoundland & Labrador”. To meet this vision, one of their goals is to advocate for public policies that promote supportive environments for health, including the Built Environment. NLPHA decided to collaborate with other partners to contribute to and promote healthy public policies, including hosting the fall conference.

The third original partner is CIPHI-NL, which represents a wide range of environmental health professionals in the Province including Environmental Health Officers. CIPHI-NL is committed to working towards improving health outcomes and has become increasingly interested on the Built Environment. One of the areas of particular interest is mixed land uses that bring vulnerable populations like younger children in contact with pollutants such as noise, industrial air emissions and motor vehicle emissions.

These three organizations, with the support of the Department of Health & Community Services, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, established a planning committee to identify and recruit partners from key stakeholder groups, and to plan the objectives and activities of the conference. The planning committee consists of:

  • Terry, Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors-Newfoundland & Division of Program & Support Services, Department of Service NL
  • Catherine , Provincial Wellness Advisory Council, Memorial University, Eastern Health
  • Carol , Division of Health Promotion & Wellness, Department of Health & Community Services
  • Gwen , Newfoundland & Labrador Public Health Association, Labrador Grenfell Health
  • Cora Newfoundland & Labrador Public Health Association, Labrador Grenfell Health
  • Alison (Conference Coordinator), Memorial University
  • Andy , Tourism, Culture & Recreation
  • Darryl , Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors-Newfoundland & Labrador, Division of Disease Control & Epidemiology, Department of Health & Community Services
  • Fay , Newfoundland & Labrador Public Health Association & Provincial Wellness Advisory Council
  • Cluney , Municipal Affairs
  • Weldon , Transportation and Works
  • Pat , Newfoundland & Labrador Public Health Association, Central Health
  • Pablo , Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research
  • Michelle , Rural Secretariat
  • Heather , Newfoundland & Labrador Public Health Association, Western Health
  • Gerri , Thompson Consulting
  • Minnie, Newfoundland & Labrador Public Health Association, Western Health