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Canadian Public Health Association

Healthy Parks, Healthy People Forum Program

Program subject to change.

Wednesday 1 May - 9:00-10:30

Plenary I

Details to follow.

Wednesday 1 May - 11:00-12:30

Oral Presentations 1:

  • Parks for All: Collaborative Action for Health and Wellbeing - Dawn Carr
  • Re-framing Parks as Part of an Active Transportation Network - Srimal Ranasinghe
  • Connexion N : rebuilding the youth-nature relationship - Charlene Daubenfeld
  • À l'école on bouge!, une collaboration gagnante - Catherine Grenier

Oral Presentations 2:

  • How to Facilitate Health and Wellness through Outdoor Recreation for New Canadians? - Ashoo Anand
  • Yes, we can measure whether online resources are helping to achieve health and conservation goals - Krystyn Tully
  • Parks and Public Health - Charles Gardner
  • Développement collaboratif d'un parc et équité en santé : l'exemple de la Traverse du Coteau à Chicoutimi - Maëlle Plouganou

Wednesday 1 May - 13:30-15:00

The nature playbook: Take action to connect a new generation of Canadians with nature

The Nature Playbook emphasizes connecting a new generation with nature. It is a long-term strategy for individual, societal, and environmental health that is holistic and empowering. As a practical action guide, it is meant to provide suggestions, but ultimately enable users to decide what best works for them. Our vision is for the participants in this workshop, and at this conference, to take on the role of champions for the Nature Playbook and its message. In the capable hands of those who are already engaged, we can start to reach into outer circles to widen the sphere of influence for connecting children and all young people with nature. The skills shared along with the tool in this workshop can help people in all sectors to engage themselves and others in a renewed relationship with the natural world – for our health, the health of society, and the health of the land.

Wednesday 1 May - 15:30-17:00

Community well-being: A framework for design

It is increasingly recognized that how we plan and design our cities and buildings and the well-being of our communities is linked. DIALOG, in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), developed a tailored methodology and corresponding set of indicators to:

  • Host conversations around topics concerning social, economic, environmental, cultural, and political issues that are essential to communities’ well-being and for the opportunity for communities to flourish and fulfill their potential;
  • Guide the mission of community leaders, urban planners, architects, engineers, and design professionals, with evidence-based knowledge; and
  • Better inform the creation, implementation, monitoring, and evolution of progressive policy, plans, and designs that promote well-being.

Today, months after the release of the Community Well-being Framework, city builders are turning to health professionals and community groups to leverage the Framework. This session will provide an overview of the Community Well-being Framework and engage participants to critically apply it to their work.

The health impacts of too much screen time and ways families can unplug and explore nearby nature

Excessive screen time is an emerging public health issue, particularly amongst children. This session will provide a summary of the impacts excessive screen time is having on children's mental and physical health, and explore ways in which spending time in nature can provide opportunities to connect with family and promote a healthy lifestyle. This session will showcase Nature Canada's NatureHood program as an opportunity to explore nearby nature and how it can be a catalyst for visiting parks. Participants will identify challenges and barriers parents may face with reducing kids’ screen time and spending time in nature, and opportunities for the health and nature communities to collaborate on how to help parents overcome these barriers to navigate a healthier relationship with screens and encourage more time in nature.


Thursday 2 May - 9:00-10:30

Oral Presentations 3

  • The impact of park access on physical activity among residents in Southern Ontario, Canada - Ghazal Fazli
  • Quasi-Randomized Trial of Contact with Nature and Effects on Attention in Children - Daniel Rainham
  • “Peace in the Parks”: The place of parks and natural places in public health palliative care - Sonya Jakubec
  • The Pedagogy of Healthy Parks/Healthy People - Harvey Lemelin

Oral Presentations 4

  • Health and Parks: A Perfect Marriage - Dawn Carr
  • Links between built and natural environment for bicycling and well-being in Victoria, BC - Karen Laberee
  • Examining the link between urban green space and mental health: A scoping review and theoretical framework - Nadha Hassen
  • Parcs-écoles : exemple de projets pour et par la collectivité - Mélanie Beaudoin

Thursday 2 May - 11:00-12:15

From research to real life: Doctors, scientists and educators talk green time health benefits and engagement strategies

Join a diverse group of nature-health advocates from across the country for a discussion about the health benefits of green time and some innovative projects in this field taking place within Canada.  The panel will review the current research on the health impacts of time spent in nature, explore the use of nature by traditional healers to improve the health status of their local populations, and showcase nature engagement projects taking place on both local and provincial levels.  Participants will leave with an up-to-date understanding of the body of research on health and nature, concrete ideas for programs and events that increase the nature-health connection, and new contacts with advocates from across the country that they can use to promote the health benefits of green time within their own communities.

Thursday 2 May - 12:30-13:30

Poster Presentations

  • Active Parks Design Guide –-  How to promote park use and physical activity - Natasha Fearing
  • Age-friendly Cities & Green Spaces – All ages and abilities - Sarah Libera
  • Residential Green Space and Mental Health: Analyses of the CARTaGENE population Cohort’s data - Nolwenn Noisel
  • The State of Large Parks in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe - Michelle Sawka
  • Using new remoteness classifications to understand the population at-risk of higher rates of avoidable mortality in Canada - Rajendra Subedi

Thursday 2 May - 13:30-15:00

Researching health and the environment using smartphones and wearables: A hands-on introduction

Measuring the impact of parks and natural environments on individuals’ mental and physical health is challenging using traditional instruments. In this hands-on workshop, attendees will be introduced to the Ethica platform and shown how to design, test and refine, deploy, and monitor longitudinal studies leveraging smartphones’ embedded sensors and wearable devices to capture minute-resolution sensor data on participants’ health behaviours, and episodes of exposure to natural and built environments. Attendees will obtain experience in using pedometers and motion sensors to capture physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour, GPS to capture location, and Bluetooth beacons to measure the proximity to others or resources of significance. Attendees will also use combinations of such measures to infer times that participants spend indoor and outdoors. Attendees will further use Ethica to graphically define survey instruments, including features such as audiovisual questions and skip patterns, so as to understand participants’ experiences, quality of life, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Facilitators will further demonstrate how to perform experience sampling by contextually triggering surveys based on sensor (e.g., GPS) readings. We will also demonstrate how open-source tools Kibana and VEGA can be used for real-time visualization of large amounts of participant data.

Providing optimal environments for children’s unstructured play in parks

This session will provide an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment to address decision-makers’ perspectives on unstructured play in parks. It will also provide a platform to discuss perspectives on children’s risk-taking at parks, barriers to children’s unstructured play, and how parks can better emulate an unstructured, nature-based, and free environment in urban and rural areas. Topics to be included are the need for unstructured, nature-based, and free play, how to better construct urban environments to prioritize children’s unstructured play, and how to address fears associated with children’s unstructured play.

Thursday 2 May - 15:30-17:00

Plenary IV

Details to follow.