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Leadership Development for Physical Activity Promotion

Target Audience

Nova Scotia physical activity promoters


This is a multi-component professional training program targeted for physical activity promoters working for municipalities, First Nations communities, the Province of Nova Scotia, regional partnerships, and non-profit organizations in Nova Scotia. The program will enable these practitioners to build knowledge and skills based on current evidence in the area of population-level physical activity promotion. The main components of the training program are an initial one-day workshop that consists of a webinar and practical assignment in November 2016, followed by a multi-day workshop in May of 2017 and lastly a series of follow up support experiences delivered in-person or remotely as needed.

The program has been designed to equip participants with the skill set required for planning, implementing and evaluating physical activity initiatives for populations and to provide information on evidence based approaches to reducing inactivity and sedentary behaviour at the population level. In addition to expert and academic leadership on content and trends in the area of physical activity, participants will be able to share ideas their own experiences, challenges and success stories.

The full course will include:

  • An introductory, remotely delivered event (November 10, 2016).  A letter of completion will be provided from Dalhousie University.
  • Project work
  • Follow up support
  • Multi-day face to face training (May 2017)
  • $200 registration fee (covers all three phases of the course explained below)

The full course will focus on:

  • Nova Scotia physical activity and sedentary behaviour context
  • Evidence based approaches to reducing physical inactivity and sedentary time at the population level
  • Best practices in related planning, implementation, evaluation, community development, advocacy and stakeholder engagement
  • Practical application to your workplace context
  • Priority areas for maximizing impact

Registration Process

If you registered for the full course in the fall your registration is still active for the May session.

This module is now full.

Phase Two: May 2017

Phase One: Completed on November 10, 2016

Phase Two: May 8, 9, 10, 2017, Dalhousie University campus in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Phase Two will provide theory mixed with practical application and Nova Scotia based examples. Participants will improve their knowledge and ability regarding applying evidence to their everyday work. Phase Two will also facilitate the development of physical activity practitioner support networks.

Phase Three will offer participants a chance to identify areas where ongoing support would be beneficial. This will occur once participants have had a chance to return to their work environments and reflect on the learning from Phase Two.


Individuals with an expertise in promoting and contributing to increased physical activity will be participating as speakers during the three-day course in May.

Dr. John Spence

Dr. Spence has expertise in the area of behavioral medicine and research methods. His research focuses on both the benefits and determinants of physical activity and how physical inactivity and sedentary behavior are related to obesity. Dr. Spence has studied the broad social determinants (e.g., SES) and population physical activity patterns. More recently, he has focused on (a) the physical environment and how it many influence physical activity choices and risk for obesity among both children and adults (e.g., urban form, location of food establishments); and (b) the role of policy initiatives such as tax credits for promoting physical activity. Dr. Spence has a strong background in physical activity measurement, meta-analysis, and ecological models of behavior and health.

Dr. Guy Faulkner

Dr. Faulkner will be providing his expertise remotely from British Columbia. His research interests include physical activity promotion in community and rehabilitation settings, and the relationship between physical activity and mental health in children and adults. He has also worked on topics such as weight management and schizophrenia; environmental influences promoting obesity in this population. He has looked at exercise as an adjunct for smoking cessation and the built environment and active transport.

Christa Costas-Bradstreet

Christa Costas-Bradstreet has expertise in physical activity and health promotion built on thirty years of employed and volunteer experience and an academic foundation in health care, physical education and applied health science. Christa began her career as a Registered Nurse, specializing in orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation. She left nursing to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Physical Education, as well as two certificates (Fitness Assessment & Exercise Counseling and Sport Administration) at York University. Christa also completed a Master of Arts in Applied Health Science (Health and Physical Education) at Brock University. Christa enjoyed an 18-year career with ParticipACTION (the original and re-established organizations) where she held a variety of roles including National Project Coordinator, Director of Health Communications, and Relationship Manager. Christa also spent five years at Hamilton Public Health Services as a Physical Activity Specialist. She has taught at York University and Sheridan College and helped establish Sheridan’s Exercise Science and Health Promotion degree program.

Christa currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (CFLRI) and the Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability as the Director of Provincial and Territorial Partnerships. Christa has operated her own consulting business since 1999 with it becoming her full-time focus in 2016.

Dr. Lucie Levesque

Dr. Lucie Levesque, (Ph.D.) will be joining us in person to deliver a session focusing on her knowledge and expertise in working with indigenous populations in Canada. Dr. Lévesque’s research program, which has been mainly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for the past 15 years, focuses on investigating physical activity and health promotion interventions, programs, practices, and policies in partnership with Indigenous peoples in Canada.  

Jay Walljasper

Jay Walljasper is an award winning writer, speaker and communications specialist living in Minnesota. He is one of the authors of the book America’s Walking Renaissance, which examines how nine cities, suburbs and towns across the US are getting back on their feet to embrace walking and become more walkable. Jay Walljasper was Director of Strategic Communications at Project for Public Spaces and has been involved in developing messaging or publicity campaigns for People for Bikes, Blue Mountain Center Arts Community, Rail~Volution, On the Commons and America Walks. He will be joining us in person to share his knowledge on the walking movement currently underway in the United States.

Michael Arthur

Mike retired in 2013 as Manager, Physical Activity for the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. Prior to his retirement, he worked with universities in Nova Scotia to measure the physical activity levels of children and youth using accelerometers. Mike also managed the Municipal Physical Activity Leadership Program, the Active Kids Healthy Kids strategy and the physical activity aspect of the THRIVE! strategy. He served on the research group for the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Cards and on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Active Living. Since retirement, Mike has worked as a consultant and volunteer on a number of projects including physical activity guidelines for after school programs, literature reviews and recommendations on walking, outdoor play, and the physical activity training course. Mike has an MSc (Dalhousie) in Recreation.

Dr. Sara Kirk, Ph.D.

Dr. Kirk is a professor of health promotion in the School of Health and Human Performance, and the Scientific Director of the Healthy Populations Institute. She holds cross-appointments with Community Health and Epidemiology and the IWK Health Centre, is an adjunct professor at Mount Saint Vincent University, in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition, and an honorary senior scientist with the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute. She explores how we can create supportive environments for chronic disease prevention. Her research uses a ‘socio-ecological’ approach that considers how individual behaviour is influenced by other broader factors, such as income, education and societal norms.

Dr. Laurene Rehman, Ph.D.

Dr. Laurene Rehman is a Professor in the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University. Her research and teaching focus on recreation management and specifically trying to address barriers to physically active leisure for families. She has a particular emphasis on ensuring evidence based decision-making is used through ongoing research, evaluation, and monitoring. Currently, she is the co-chair of the Halifax Active Living Alliance and sits on the Try Do Council. In these roles, she has worked to assist in developing evaluation frameworks to ensure the work of these committees is evidence informed.

Katherine Janson, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, ParticipACTION

As Director of Communications and Public Affairs for ParticipACTION, Katherine Janson oversees all thought leadership areas of business, including the development and release of the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. She has authored the highlight report version of the Report Card and managed the national communications strategy and media release of the Report Card and related products such as the Global Comparisons for the past seven years. In her role, she works closely with the Report Card Research Committee members, a group of leading physical activity researchers from across Canada, to consolidate and analyze the findings. She also trains this network of researchers, as well as other organizational spokespeople, on the key messaging and how best to present the findings to the media and the general public in a clear, consistent and compelling way.

Dr. Barbra Hamilton Hinch, Ph.D.

Dr. Barb Hamilton-Hinch is an Assistant professor in the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on the impact of oppression (particularly racism, mental health, and environment) on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. In her teaching Dr. Hamilton-Hinch strives to encourage and instill in her students that recreation and leisure should be available for ALL. She was previously employed by the Halifax Recreation Department where she was instrumental in developing programs to attract diverse communities into community centers. At Dalhousie University she is intimately involved in trying to increase diversity in students, faculty and staff, particularly in the Faculty of Health Professions and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines.

Paul DesBarres, Owner/operator of Nova Insights, a market research firm based in the Annapolis Valley

Paul DesBarres has worked with 40 municipalities across Nova Scotia to help them understand the attitudes and behaviours of their residents. This work has included surveys and focus groups to create tools for MPAL strategy development, provide public and provider input on healthy eating in recreational spaces, inform strategies to increase access to recreational facilities for low income families, and test the feasibility of a mobile health clinic. Since the 1990s, Paul has also worked with some of the largest entertainment companies in the world helping them understand consumer preferences and behaviours, how they fit with various business models, and where opportunities lie as technologies and behaviours evolve. Paul grew up in the Annapolis Valley, is an alum of Acadia University, spent 10 years working in New England and returned to the Valley in 2005 with his wife and son.

Jodie Stearns, Ph.D. candidate, University of Alberta

Jodie Stearns is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on the role of friendship networks in the physical activity and sitting-related behaviors of young people. She has also been involved with research examining the social networks of active living organizations and of staff in schools.


For the May event, we suggest a couple of options for accommodations.

The venue is a short walk from the Lord Nelson Hotel or the Atlantica Hotel.

For the more budget conscious there are options available in Dalhousie’s residences which are also close by.

LeMarchant Place in particular offers cost effective options for groups of 2, 3 or 4 who can each have a single bedroom within a suite and share common spaces. A stay in residence includes complimentary Dalplex passes.

Participants are on their own to reserve and pay for accommodations.


One spot per suite at LeMarchant Place. The Lord Nelson have their own rates so check directly with the hotel; otherwise, there is street parking or a Pay and Display lot at the corner of LeMarchant and South Streets (17 on the Map). The entrance is off South Street and payment is by coin or credit card (VISA or MC). Cost is $2/hour.  

Phase Three: Beyond May 2017

Phase three will consist of a series of follow up support experiences delivered in-person and/or remotely as needed.