The big UpLift: Dal‑led partnership program attracts major investment

- May 16, 2019

Children trying out an activity at the UpLift launch event. (Chuck Linney photos)
Children trying out an activity at the UpLift launch event. (Chuck Linney photos)

A Dal-led program is poised to make a big difference in the health and well-being of children and youth in Nova Scotia.

Last Friday (May 10), students and stakeholders gathered at West Highlands School in Amherst to hear the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Federal Minister of Health, announce an investment of up to $5 million in UpLift, a new school-community-university partnership.

The funding is from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) multi-sectoral partnerships for chronic disease prevention program and is a unique “matched-funds” design that can mean up to $10 million for Nova Scotia. UpLift is the first partnership in Nova Scotia to receive this funding from PHAC.

UpLift is designed to build on best practices that already exist in many schools and communities, like the internationally-recognized, health- promoting schools model. Its components include youth engagement and leadership, systems change, sharing successes and evaluating impact.

The philosophy, need and value of UpLift underpinned by research from Dal Health’s Healthy Populations Institute.

Sara Kirk speaks at the UpLift announcement.

“Our goal is to change the trajectory of health for children and youth in this province, and allow them to reach their full potential as healthy, productive members of society,” said Dr. Sara Kirk, scientific director of the Healthy Populations Institute and professor in the School of Health and Human Performance, Faculty of Health.

Led by Dr. Kirk and Senior Research Scholar Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen, UpLift will empower students to be leaders and take actions that will contribute to healthy, vibrant, connected and safe school communities.

“Understanding that schools represent a critical setting for the promotion of health and wellbeing among children and youth, UpLift will focus heavily on youth engagement as an integral part of the process,” said Dr. Hancock Friesen.

The first two local areas where UpLift will amplify capacity are Chignecto Central and South Shore Regional Centres for Education.

"Every decision we make and every action we take has the safety, health and well-being of children at its core," says Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. "UpLift will support the critical work already happening in our schools and classrooms across the province to ensure our kids continue to be surrounded by the best learning environments, with access to the resources, learning opportunities and discussions that will support their achievement and well-being.”

The Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and QEII Foundation have joined forces to raise critical private sector funding which will be matched dollar-for-dollar with PHAC funding for a total of up to $10 million over five years. The partnership has already raised over $2.65 million towards UpLift.


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