“Acting on Imagination—Addressing the Challenges of Making Lethbridge the Healthiest Community”
When we come together to imagine Lethbridge as Canada’s healthiest city, it’s a bit like the story of Pinocchio. We can create the model – carve the puppet – but in order for a ‘real boy’ to evolve, the woodcarvers have to be committed to polishing and improving it before the magic can happen.
At the Imagine Lethbridge Healthy Cities Forum in May, Dr. Kim Raine shared health promotion principles and lessons learned from healthy cities/healthy Alberta communities to help our city move beyond imagination to action.
Dr. Raine, who lives and works in Edmonton, led a five-year community-university-government partnership called Healthy Alberta Communities and currently co-leads the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention and Alberta’s Nutrition Report Card on Food Environments for Children and Youth.
“When it comes to acting on our imagination for Lethbridge, we must address the challenges,” she said. “But we don’t need to start from scratch; we can look at what has already worked well. In what contexts did these things happen and how did they happen? We’ll meet some challenges, so how do we address those?”
The call to action must not be a flash in the pan for change to be sustainable, said Dr. Raine – an ongoing and broad-based process is required. To lose momentum would be like attempting to treat an infection but stopping the antibiotics too soon. And, as Dr. Trevor Hancock said on the forum’s first day, a Healthy City is one that is always striving to be even healthier.
Dr. Raine referred to the Land Acknowledgements preceding each of the forum’s presentations, pointing out that Indigenous representation in the process is also essential.
In her work with other cities, common priorities have included things like food security, community gardens, safety, accessible leisure facilities, social inclusion and walking/cycling trails.
Dozens of Lethbridge residents shared their ideas at Imagine Lethbridge and still others have completed a short survey (you can too – go to: https://bit.ly/3z4izLC).
Get involved and be heard! Who doesn’t want to be a part of exciting and positive things to come? And be sure to drop a bookmark on this space so you never miss an update!
To hear Dr. Raine’s presentation in full, go to: https://bit.ly/3M1o00D
Next up: Joyce Tang’s background in urban planning and landscape architecture lays the framework for her belief in the relationship between human health and the built environment. Check out our next blog post to see what can be learned from her experience so Lethbridge can keep moving forward in creating a healthy city.
Alberta Healthy Communities Hub (healthiertogether.ca)