The North Shore Population Health team members are (l-r): Andrea Winterbottom, Congregate Meals Program Assistant; Jo Anne Burleigh, Active Living Coordinator; Erin Black, Team Leader; Helen Yeung, Public Health Dietitian/Disordered Eating; Bonnie Devlin, Seniors Supportive Housing Coordinator; Margaret Broughton, Public Health Dietitian/Food Security; and Brittany Nelson, Admin Assistant.

Population Health: What is it? Find out in this five-part series

VCH News begins a five-part series starting next week profiling Population Health and the team members behind the many programs that benefit the residents of the North Shore (population 180,000).

The North Shore is the only region within VCH that has its own Population Health Team. The regional Population Health Program works on these issues for the rest of the health authority.

The North Shore Population Team is a small, but determined six-person team that has a big impact on the population they serve, whether it’s delivering meals to seniors, improving food security, preventing injuries, helping vulnerable populations make active living choices, health promotion in schools or helping develop dementia-friendly communities. The team’s geographic area stretches from Lions Bay to Deep Cove.

Community partnership backbone of programs

The team works closely with Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, the local Medical Health Officer (MHO), and in tandem with other VCH services as well as with organizations across the North Shore including the local municipalities, school districts, volunteers, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh First Nations, school districts as well as local businesses. Population Health work must be done in partnership with other stakeholders because most of the social determinants of health are not under the control of the health system, such as the issue of affordable housing, says Mark.

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, Medical Health Officer, North Shore – Sea to Sky.

“Most of our health is determined by the conditions in which we live, work, learn and play,” explains Mark. “In order to improve population health we need to work closely with partners to ensure these settings promote health and equity.”

Partnership development and collaboration are the backbone of the team’s work, says Erin Black, Population Health Team Leader.

“The team develops and maintains a large network of community-based organizations and municipal partners to advance population health initiatives such as Dementia Friendly communities or Physical Literacy, to support and implementation local activities such as walking groups and community gardens, to increase community capacity through education, training and leadership  or to incorporate a health lens into municipal and community  planning,” says Erin.

Population Health – Places they work

  • Communities
  • Parks and green spaces
  • Not for Profit agencies
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Health care settings
  • Child care centres
  • Municipal spaces

“The team works very much within a community development model where the goal is to bring community members together to take collective action and create solutions to issues facing our community,” says Erin.

Next week, VCH News will spotlight the Congregate Meals program.

As always, we enjoy receiving feedback as well as suggestions you may have on other VCH – Coastal services that deserve time in the spotlight.  Email Fiona.hughes@vch.ca with your ideas.

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