Interior Health Authority

Interior Health Healthy Communities Program

Our Purpose: Strong collective action to promote, improve & protect the health & well-being of our communities.

Interior Health (IH) Healthy Communities Program aims to improve health and wellness by working collaboratively with local governments and community partners to create policies and environments that support good health. Although health care and the health care system are the responsibility of the provincial government, we know that it takes a collaborative effort to address the factors that keep us well; and health cannot be achieved by one sector working alone.

Interior Health’s Healthy Communities Program consists of three specialized teams—Tobacco & Vapour Prevention & Control, Healthy Eating and Food Security Team, and the Healthy Community Development Team.

 

Tobacco & Vapour Prevention & Control

Tobacco & Vapour Prevention & Control works to create environments that support children and youth to stay smoke free, and that help smokers to quit or reduce.

  • We engage with local governments to promote smoke free outdoor spaces (parks, playgrounds, beaches, sporting fields etc.).
  • We lead the development and implementation of the IH Smoke Free policy.
  • We enforce the Sales to Minors legislation and have > 90% success rate among the 1,000 retailers in IH.
  • We support clinicians to address/treat tobacco dependence among patients/clients by organizing training, linking with provincial quit supports, best practice guidelines and communities of practice.
  • We partner with First Nations Health Authority and Aboriginal communities to honour traditional tobacco and protect youth from commercial tobacco use and second hand smoke.

 

Healthy Eating and Food Security Team

Public Health Dietitians provide expertise in many areas including Pregnancy & Breastfeeding, Early Childhood, Schools, Food Security, and the Food Environment.

  • We bring best practice and evidence based approaches and a health and food security lens to local and regional government policy and planning.
  • We work with IH’s Child Care Licensing Team to increase safe and healthy food and promote positive feeding practices in childcare settings.
  • We support school districts by providing resources, information about funding opportunities and expertise on district initiatives.
  • We promote healthy food environments through education, policy recommendations and alternative solutions.
  • We provide direct grant funding to “resource the resources” and increase community food security.

 

Healthy Community Development Team

IH’s Healthy Community Development Team is a unique blend of technical and practice experts. It consists of Environmental Health Officers and Community Healthy Facilitators that collaborate with Aboriginal, local, and regional governments to improve public health through community design, land-use planning, and the development of health-focused policies, by-laws and community plans.

  • We provide health evidence, data and expertise, link health impact and health outcomes to planning and design practice, and encourage people to lead healthy lives.
  • We respond to local government community planning referrals.
  • We participate in community meetings, committees, and partnerships that support the built and social environments to promote health and wellbeing.
  • We take opportunities to share innovation and learnings among clients, partners and community stakeholders.

  

Building Blocks of a Healthy Community[1]

We align with the following guiding principles to create a healthy community:

  • Community/Citizen Engagement - Empower communities to create a shared vision, define the issues, generate solutions, take action and evaluate.
  • Multi-Sectoral Collaboration - Building healthy communities is complex and involves multiple and diverse stakeholders, and involves all sectors across all levels.
  • Political Commitment - All levels of government are involved in creating conditions for health and human development.
  • Asset-Based Community Development - Build on existing community strengths and assets to create lasting and sustainable solutions.
  • Healthy Public Policy - Policy that is explicitly designed to improve population health, but not necessarily developed by the health sector (i.e. active transportation, affordable housing, food systems).
  • Health Equity Lens - Recognize that some people disproportionally have poorer health outcomes that are avoidable, unfair, unjust and systemic. To reduce disparity, actions must be universal and consider a focus on those experiencing health inequities.

Interior Health’s Links and Resources

  • Healthy Living in Your Community: Learn more about how we work with communities to support health and wellness.
  • Your Health: Find information on topics such as mental health, school health, injury prevention and much more!
  • Your Environment: Learn how we protect your health through regulating and monitoring many public facilities and environmental aspects such as air, water, and food that have a direct impact on public health. 

Contact Healthy Communities Program Teams

Tobacco & Vapour Prevention & Control: tobacco@interiorhealth.ca

Healthy Eating and Food Security: healthycommunities@interiorhealth.ca

Healthy Community Development: healthycommunities@interiorhealth.ca or hbe@interiorhealth.ca

 

[1] BC Healthy Communities. (2011). Our Approach