Island Region Healthy Communities Forum

Vancouver Island Health Regional Forum

Click on the image above to enjoy the Vancouver Island Regional Forum photo gallery. Find the Storify social media summary here.

The Island Healthy Communities Regional Forum in April 2016 was an opportunity for healthy community leaders to celebrate and reflect how far they have come in their collective journey, and to identify key steps for moving forward.

The event was co-hosted by Island Health Authority and BC Healthy Communities Society (BCHC) on behalf of the PlanH program. Facilitation for the event was provided by BCHC. This was the third forum in a series of five healthy communities forums taking place in each health authority region.

Over 90 people attended the forum representing local government, First Nations, health professionals, and non-profit sector in Parksville, BC. It was the first time that this constellation of people came together to have shared dialogue and learn about healthy communities initiatives in the region.The goals of the two-day forum were to learn together, gather skills and tools, network, celebrate our successes. 

All presentations are available for download at the bottom of this page.

Day 1, April 21st, 2016 – Inspiration and reflection across the region: what impact are we having, and how? 

The first day focused on what impact we are having in the Island region and the key factors contributing to success. Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Officer from Island Health, Councillor Rob Hutchins from the Town of Ladysmith, and Jennifer Jones, Health Director from Cowichan Tribes Health Centre helped to set the context for the theme of the day: collaborating for upstream impact.

Dr. Stanwick reflected on the cultural shift around smoking and how upstream approaches with a focus on prevention is required to make a lasting impact when tackling complex issues impacting the region.

Next six local champions shared stories of collaboration and what they have learned over the years in a Community Stories Panel. Key themes for what enables success across stories were:

Multi-sectoral collaboration, support (i.e. funding and capacity building, such as collective impact, to help develop a common agenda to move priorities forward), as well as having the right data to inform the work, long term view with short term goals, and tools and resources for evaluating progress.

In the afternoon, we were thrilled to introduce Al Etmanski as the keynote speaker. Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, author, and founding partner of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and BC Partners for Social Impact. 

Etmanski encouraged the delegates to think and act like a movement as movements provide a vehicle for collaboration across sectors and organizations.  View his keynote speech in its entirety here.

For more inspiring ideas on community organizing and thinking like a movement, you can read this conversation between BC Healthy Communities Executive Director, Jodi Mucha and Al Etmanski about resilience, noticing patterns and making mistakes.

“Movements are the ultimate inclusive container”— Al Etmanski

Inspired by the keynote speach, participants attended three concurrent breakout sessions to further explore the impact practitioners are currently having in the region.

Day 2, April 22nd, 2016 – Deeper Dive: what are we learning, and how do we grow our impact? 

Participants came back eager to take a deeper dive into what were are learning and how to grow our impact on day two. The day started with an overview of key themes from the  forum Harvest Team. Reflections from the pervious day included:

  • Shift over the past few years to build partnerships with health professionals, local governments and community partners and working across silos; power of working in community
  • Recognition of the time and personal connections it’s taken to get us to this point over many years, and how relationships and working within networks have been key to moving our work forward
  • Increase in trust, shared language and goals
  • Desire to take collaborative efforts to another level, to create culture change and sustain the work through the difficult part of collaboration.  

Building on this, there was a Learning Edges Panel where local champions spoke of the challenges and leading in upstream, collaborative work they have been involved with. The remainder of the day was spent in concurrent breakout sessions

It was a full two days, and people left feeling inspired, connected, and encouraged by the stories shared and opportunity to network with colleagues. We look forward to seeing how the seeds planted from our time together are nourished and grow to support the healthy communities initiatives in the Island Region. 


Get a social media recap of the event with the Storify summary of tweets here.


Day 1, April 21st

Community Stories Panel Part 1:

Community Stories Panel Part 2:

What Impact Are We Currently Having in the Region? (Concurrent Breakout Sessions):

A. Food Security & Healthy Food Systems: Working Together to Amplify Impact.  Session Lead: Analisa Blake

Guest Presenters:

B.  What’s Health got to do with the Built Environment?  Session Lead:  Jade Yehia

C.  Physical Activity for Thriving Communities:  Exploring our Leverage Points.  Session Lead:  Jennifer Hopewell

Guest Presenters:

Day 2, April 22nd

Learning Edges Panel:

Deeper Dive One (Concurrent Breakout Sessions):

Deeper Dive Two (Concurrent Breakout Sessions):

Guest Presenters:

Graphic Notes

Click on the images below to see the graphic facilitation summary of each day of the forum.



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