The UNBC-Northern Health ‘Ecohealth and Watersheds’ Knowledge to Action (KTA) Project is a collaborative initiative that aims to strengthen capacity for intersectoral action by focusing on integrated water governance as a means to improve the social and environmental determinants of health in northern BC. The project was supported by the CIHR Knowledge Translation Branch, through a "Knowledge to Action" Operating Grant.
A Northern BC focus on ‘Ecohealth & Watersheds’ adds to Canadian and global efforts
The project began in 2011, with funding support from the Canadian Institute for Health Research, with the aim of establishing a ‘knowledge to action’ partnership among UNBC, Northern Health, government agencies, NGO’s and community groups across Northern BC with a focus on “Improving social and environmental determinants of health through integrated water governance”. Specific priority areas for action were:
- Exchange knowledge and best practices for integrated watershed governance that optimize health, socio-economic and environmental benefits, and facilitate engagement of relevant sectors, disciplines and non-government leaders in water and health governance in Northern BC;
- Examine opportunities and barriers for Health Authorities to enhance population health and health protection programs through participation and collaboration in intersectoral watershed governance;
- Collectively develop, apply, and evaluate place-based intersectoral policies, focused on integrated watershed governance as a vehicle to improve social and environmental determinants of health.
Phase I: Tools for Integration
Phase 2: Gathering Stories
* New Media Workshop (March 27-28, 2013): This workshop aimed to build capacity for critical understanding regarding the use of different forms of new media to tell ‘integrated stories’. Examples profiled include digital storytelling, social media & web/map-based tools.
The Watershed Partners became more familiar with ‘new’ media for the purposes of knowledge exchange, “telling a story”, integration and communication, to inform the profile development.
* Informal Interviews (May 2013): We informally interviewed and began conversations with the KTA watershed partners to capture their preferences, ideas and stories in relation to profiling each watershed case study.
* Developed Digital Stories (Summer 2013): Guided by insights from the interviews, the research team worked with the watershed partners to develop digital stories in their watersheds.
Phase 3: Profiling
In Fall 2013, we launched the ‘ecohealth & watershed digital stories’ . Related follow-up and activities will include exit interviews with all Steering Committee members; integration of project documents, archives and reports through ‘ecohealth & watersheds portal’; final project meetings and transitional events/activities.
Recent Work Related to the Project is Profiled on the Ecohealth Knowledge to Action Research Team Website
* Health, Environment & Community- Digital Storytelling Project
The creation of the Digital Stories enabled Steering Committee Members to share both their stories and experiences within the 'EcoHealth & Watersheds' project, and their perspectives on place-based intersections of health, environment, and community.
Link to Digital Stories
We would like to gratefully acknowledge the Steering Committee members for their invaluable work with this project:
- Former Co-chair: Dr. Ronald Chapman
- Current Co-chairs: Dr. Margot Parkes, UNBC & Dr. David Bowering, Northern Health
- Angela Wheeler, Northern Health
- Chelton van Geloven, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
- Luck Beck, Northern Health
- Phil Owens, UNBC
- Reg Whiten, InterraPlan Inc.
- Sandra Harris, Wet'suwet'en Nation
- Scott Emmons, UNBC
- Stephen Déry, UNBC
- Terry Robert, Fraser Basin Council, First Nations Fisheries Council
- Wayne Salewski, NEWSS
- Past Steering Committee Members include: Julie Kerr, formerly of Northern Health
• Executive Summary of the June 1-3, 2011 Project Launch and Planning Meeting
• Info Sheet: March 20-21, 2012, Health, environments and community information in watersheds: Making the connections through maps and spatial tools, Vanderhoof, BC
• Poster: October 2, 2012, Research Update: Environment and Health in the Nechako & Fraser Watersheds
• Executive Summary of the June 18-19, 2013, Indicators Working Meeting