Diana Gresku, MPH is BC Healthy Communities’ Research and Impact Specialist. Aside from her work directly supporting communities to achieve their health and well-being goals, Diana also develops internal and external evaluation tools, helping track the impacts of our work as well as the progress of our partner communities. Diana’s work background includes supporting capacity-building work in communities as far away from BC as Ghana, but these days you’re more likely to find her hiking the Sooke trails outside her newfound hometown of Victoria. Read on to hear more about Diana’s perspectives on healthy communities and evaluation.
Why do you do healthy communities work?
My family immigrated to Canada and growing up, we had to adjust to a new culture, language and way of life. Looking back, there were assets in our community that made me feel especially welcome and promoted health and wellbeing including the community dance and arts programs for youth and the small park near our house. I became passionate about learning about the factors that influence health, and about other communities across the world. I also became interested in learning about why inequities exist. I contribute to healthy communities work because to me, health is a cornerstone to life. I value and believe that all people should live, play and work in communities that are safe, inclusive and promote health and wellbeing.
Evaluation is a step that often gets missed in program delivery. Why is it so important?
There are various types of evaluation, each with different purposes. In general, evaluation processes can help organizations identify what is working well and areas of improvement, and make changes as needed. Evaluation can help identify the effects of programs, strategies and policies on communities or groups of interest. Evaluation can also support partnership building and increase accountability with funders. It is important to ask equity-focused questions throughout evaluation processes – who is benefiting and how? Who might not be benefiting and why?. These types of questions can help one understand the unique need and impacts of projects on particular groups, and further support the creation of healthy communities for all.
What is your secret superpower (outside work)?
There are a few things that come to mind.
I love to dance! I have been dancing ballet, lyrical and jazz for over 16 years. Dance helps me regain energy, balance and is my creative outlet.
I can also speak, read and write Hungarian, which makes me feel connected to my family and culture. One of my favourite things to do is read Hungarian poetry.
I also love being outdoors, especially hiking, kayaking and rowing!