The Impact of Activate Health in 2021-22
We’re proud to have recently released our 2021-22 Annual Report, which highlights the public health impact our organization made this past year. Since the inception of Activate Health, our Annual Report always includes how we wove its principles into the conversation throughout the year, and today, we want to highlight some of those posts, not only as a reminder of why Activate Health is important, but also why, this year, we must continue to focus on these important principles as we look ahead to improving health, resiliency, and recovery in our province.
But first, if you’re new, or you need a refresher, Activate Health is our battle cry for British Columbians; it’s a call-to-action to all of us to change the way we see, think about, and engage with our health. It’s about shifting the focus from being reactive to proactive—from treating illness and injury, to preventing it from happening in the first place. It’s also about acknowledging and addressing social injustices, rather than turning a blind eye to social inequities.
There is power in our individual actions—power to improve the health of those around us, and in turn, contribute to building a healthy, safe, and just society for all. Through Activate Health, we aim to educate and inspire; we invite all generations to envision a world of healthy, happy, well individuals, starting with themselves. Let’s take a look at some highlights from last year, while also recognizing how these principles are still very much relevant today.
In May 2021, just a few days prior to the start of Indigenous History Month, 215 undocumented remains of children were uncovered at a former residential school in Kamloops, BC. In Indigenous Health and Rights: Time for a Healing Way Forward, we called on our community to work on the hard truths and vital reconciliations; we must work toward healing. We shared six ways we can do this together, along with a rich list of resources and further reading. Indigenous health and rights, have been, and will continue to remain, a priority for us.
The pandemic has caused misinformation to run rampant online, and in person, far and wide, resulting in vaccine hesitancy, a danger to the protection of our population. In Vaccine Hesitancy: Foe of Healthy Communities, we talked about what drives vaccine misinformation, how to find and spread evidence-based information only, and the positive impact one can have by being a COVID-19 vaccine ambassador. As we enter respiratory season, public health officials anticipate a surge in both COVID-19 and influenza cases in BC, which means seeking and sharing evidence-based information about vaccination continues to be of utmost importance.
Climate change has caused unprecedented temperatures in BC that led to hundreds of deaths in the summer of 2021 alone. The Health of Our Planet Affects the Health of Our Population addressed the fact that not all British Columbians experience the effects of climate change the same—those who already experience inequities such as colonization, racism, and low income, are more susceptible to its negative effects. We shared three ways to Activate Health to create a positive impact for our population, and to promote health equity. Climate change is a public health emergency, and because human activity is its main cause, there is much we can, and must continue to do, to ensure our actions are leading us toward a healthier, safer, and more equitable world.
We would be remiss if we didn’t address the devastating war in Ukraine, and the negative health impacts it has on survivors. Witnessing a War Unfold: Being Informed is a Show of Solidarity called on the community to not look away, rather to lean in to what is happening—to pay attention. Because it’s through paying attention that we witness; by witnessing we become informed; and by informing ourselves, we take action. Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, over 14,000 casualties have been reported, likely more, not including the ensuing collateral damage to survivors’ lives. Staying informed, rather then turning a blind eye to what’s happening on the other side of the world, is one way we can continue to Activate Health.
Our ED, Kristy Kerr, was invited for an interview on the Small Conversations Podcast to elaborate on the Foundation’s role in supporting positive health outcomes for people living in British Columbia. She used her time to educate audience members on the social determinants of health, what positive health really means, and how we as individuals, and as a population, can strive toward the healthy human—creating systems and societies built on the concepts of prevention, health promotion, health equity, and upstream action.
And that’s what Activate Health is all about: action. The beauty of Activate Health is that we can all get involved in our own unique ways to take individual actions and to stand up for the health of our society, and in doing so, create a positive impact for the health of our friends, neighbours, community, and world.
How will you continue to Activate Health with us?