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Uplift Project Launches to Change Trajectory of Health in Nova Scotia
On September 20, government officials, researchers, partners and donors will gather at the Halifax Convention Centre to launch project “Uplift,” marking a major step toward improving youth health across Nova Scotia.
Aimed at addressing critical health issues among Nova Scotia’s youth, including increased rates of conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, “Uplift” brings together powerful stakeholders across the province to create a healthier Nova Scotia, through a large-scale, collaborative effort.
Gathering for a 90-minute session beginning at 4:30 p.m., project co-leads Dr. Sara Kirk and Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen will showcase the research and plan behind the initiative and introduce key partners across provincial health and education sectors.
“Our goal is to change the trajectory of health for children in this province, to promote better learning in school and allow these youth to reach their full potential as healthy, productive members of society,” says Dr. Sara Kirk, project co-lead and Scientific Director of Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute. “In addition to our partners, students, teachers and parents will all play a role in this process as we work to affect change across school policies, families and communities to improve health.”
By engaging and empowering youth as change-makers, “Uplift” will support the development of leadership and mentoring skills among youth to create sustainable change in health. Student-led initiatives like edible school gardens, play-based learning activities and peer mentoring will all represent important components of the program.
“Understanding that schools represent a critical setting where lifelong healthy habits can be formed, Uplift will focus heavily on youth engagement as an integral part of the process,” says Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine.
Recognizing the project’s importance, a powerful consortium has been formed among the province’s leading health care centres and medical research organizations to support “Uplift,” with
the QEII Foundation, IWK Foundation and Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation joining forces to raise critical private funding. In addition to raising private capital, the consortium is also actively working with the Public Health Agency of Canada toward a matched funding commitment of up to
$5 million over five years.
“The need for this project is incredibly pronounced, and it’s upstream approach is entirely promising,” says Brian Thompson, CEO, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. “With continued momentum and collaboration between consortium, the provincial government, health authorities, post-secondary institutions and the public, we firmly believe that Uplift can create a healthier future for all Nova Scotians.”
In order to change the trajectory for Nova Scotia’s children, we need to change their environments. Uplift is a key ingredient that will help give our children a better chance at being healthy by bolstering programs that are already working and introducing them where none exist. Through grassroots, student-led youth engagement initiative on healthy eating and physical activity, Uplift will help improve the lives of Nova Scotians.
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