BC Healthy Communities was a proud presenter at the 6th Annual Public Health Summer School organized by the Public Health Association of BC (PHABC). Our Executive Director Jodi Mucha presented at the Victoria site and Facilitator Kerri Klein presented in Vancouver on the topic of engagement.
The following is an overview of the entire event by Cecilia Velasco of PHABC.
The Public Health Association of BC (PHABC) organizes an annual summer school to promote better practices in Public Health. PHABC seeks to expand the knowledge base of public health practitioners across BC. Through use of video and teleconferencing technology PHABC links sites across the province to provide practitioners in both urban and remote areas with the opportunity to connect and converse with their colleagues.
The 2015 PHABC’s Summer School focused on Engaging the Public in Public Health. This year’s Summer School brought together public health practitioners from 10 sites across BC to engage in two days of interactive learning. The Summer School began with the exploration of theoretical foundations and frameworks in public engagement. Presenter from Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal and First Nations Health as well as BC Healthy Communities provided a range of Public Engagement frameworks. A panel discussion ensued which provided an opportunity for participants to compare and contrast the various approaches to public engagement.
Next a diverse range of case studies were presented, topics included: Climate Change and Kinder Morgan Pipeline, the Naloxone Program, Vancouver’s Transportation Plebiscite and Saanich’s Parks and Recreation Youth Strategy. The case studies provided an illuminated and complex backdrop against which the summer school participants were challenged to identify frameworks of public engagement.
On the second day, participants applied what they learned in a day of workshops. The workshops provided a wide range of public engagement tools and techniques for practitioners to utilize in their own practice. Strategies of patient engagement practiced by Patient Voices Network were shared. Vancouver Coastal prepared a half day workshop on how to plan and prepare for public engagement. Participants were enlightened with the experiential knowledge of engagement from case studies from First Nations communities. The PlanH program - a partnership program between BC Healthy Communities Society and Healthy Families BC - was also studied as an engagement example.
Throughout the Summer School participants were provided with opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue with the expert presenters and their colleagues. The importance of ongoing learning in public health cannot be understated. This is the mandate of PHABC. Bringing together public health experts and practitioners across BC for networking and knowledge dissemination is the primary goal of the PHABC Summer School. The 2015 Public Health Summer School accomplished this goal.