Friday, August 1, 2014

BCHC Newsletter | Summer 2014

Supporting older residents to remain active and healthy in their communities
Age-Friendly Recognition
Jodi Mucha, our Executive Director, made the scenic drive up to Cobble Hill on Monday to celebrate eight communities around BC that have recently been recognized as age friendly.

The Village of Anmore, Cobble Hill in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Village of Granisle, District of Kent, District of Kitimat, Village of Telkwa, City of Vancouver, and the District of Vanderhoof have all demonstrated incredible commitment to support older residents to remain active and healthy in their communities.

To learn more about these Age Friendly communities and the Age Friendly Recognition Award, click here.

Would you like to host the next conference?
Cities Fit for Children

BC Healthy Communities is honoured to assume the facilitation role for the 2015 Cities Fit for Children Conference. 

Cities Fit for Children is a biennial conference that brings together municipal leaders with child development professionals, parents and community champions in order to promote and increase collaboration towards creating local environments where children, youth and their families thrive.

We have already begun accepting proposals to host the 2015 Cities Fit for Children conference. 

To learn more and to apply, click here

Coordination of Care to Improve Service and Support for Children and Youth
CYMHSU Collaborative

What an amazing initiative! BCHC's Executive Director, Jodi Mucha, heard about
the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative while participating in the recent Healthy People/Healthy Minds workshop. This large-scale initiative brings together more than 200 professionals in the Interior Region to improve services and supports for children and youth with mental health and substance use issues.
Comprised of committees from Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health, the group aims to renovate the BC Health Care System to be more navigable, timely and connected. Besides incorporating the shared perspectives of multiple disciplines, the big success indicator is how it includes the voices of people with the lived experiences. The FORCE Society for Kids' Mental Health gathered the perspectives of youth and family to incorporate into the 35-person steering committee. This transcendence of professional-patient boundaries is a benefit of the collaboration in itself.

  • The Collaborative was started in the Interior Region in June 2013.
  • The idea for the Collaborative was generated by the Inter-divisional Strategic Council, which represents seven divisions of family practice (representing more than 800 family physicians), Interior Health, the Ministry of Health, and the joint Doctors of BC/Ministry of Health General Practice Services Committee.
  • To increase the number of children, youth and their families receiving timely access to integrated mental health and substance use services and supports.
The Collaborative is currently working at two levels:
  • Local Action Teams have been created in each of the following areas: Cariboo/100 Mile House/Williams Lake, Central Okanagan/Kelowna, East Kootenays/Creston/Cranbrook, Kootenay Boundary, Shuswap/Salmon Arm, Thompson/Kamloops, North Okanagan/Vernon, and South Okanagan/Similkameen.  Action Teams contain a diverse cross-section of mental health service providers and stakeholders whose activities are concentrated at the local level, i.e., identifying gaps in services and creating an inventory of resources of their area.
  • System barriers identified by local Action Teams, sponsors, funders, the Steering Committee, and Faculty are being tackled by the seven working groups.
The Steering Committee and Faculty includes representatives from:
  • The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), the Ministry of Education, the Shared Care Committee, Local Action Team co-chairs, as well as, physicians with a broad provincial scope. IMPACT BC provides the coaching and project management of the Collaborative.
  • Youth and parents – through FORCE – provide leadership to the Collaborative, and participate in all aspects from Steering Committee, to Working Groups, to Local Action Teams. The leadership and participation of youth and parents has been identified as the biggest gem of the Collaborative.
About the collaborative process:
  • More than 150 individuals are involved in the Collaborative, including: family doctors, psychiatrists, pediatricians, social workers, school counsellors, substance use counsellors, Aboriginal services, advocates, parents, youth, RCMP officers, health administrators, and others.
  • The initiative follows a "structured collaborative" model, first pioneered in the mid-1990s by the US Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and now used worldwide as a method of rapid, continuous quality improvement in the delivery of health care. The model brings local action teams together, who commit to improve areas of policy or practice that they identify and define during the process of collaboration. The teams then make small tests of change in these areas in quick succession, and share the results with the larger groups at regular "Learning Sessions."
To learn more about how it works and how well it's working, read this two-page backgrounder or check out

Val Tregillus
Lead, Inter-divisional Strategic Council   

Mental Health Advocate
Jonny Morris
By Angela Bello

Jonny Morris contributes the kind of energy that enables change and empowers people to address some of the key pieces of the social determinants of health and engage in mental health advocacy work. I first met Jonny at the University of Victoria in 2006 while he was supporting the training for an on-campus sexual assault advocacy group, and I had the pleasure of working with him on several more occasions on the UVic Mental Health Task Force. He always brought a sense of possibility to creating the large-scale social changes that many of us are working towards.

Jonny has a keen systemic perspective on the influential factors related to mental health and mental illness. In his complex role as the CMHA-BC Division Public Policy, Research and Provincial Programs Director, he builds relationships and a supportive framework for addressing the needs of people living with a mental health issue and for their families. He cites the fact that BC has a ten-year mental health plan because it has established a government commitment and a collaborative effort with the community to improve the mental health of British Columbians. The problems related to access and care are complex and inter-related, so many people working together are needed in order to support change and system improvement. Jonny helps by facilitating these connections, and by researching, developing, and making recommendations for policy changes. 

As he patiently watches for the impacts of Canadian Mental Health Association's (CMHA) policy recommendations, he leads provincial programs at the CMHA's BC Division, such as Healthy Minds/Healthy Campuses and Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health (winner of the 2014 Doctors of BC’s annual Excellence in Health Promotion Award). 

Jonny believes that mental health starts with where you live, work and play. CMHA’s framework for support includes different kinds of knowledge and listening to the communities and people who know what they need. He hopes that people will feel safer in sharing their lived experiences, to find safe and affordable housing, and to live in dignity. It is important work because there are lots of people who live with a mental illness, as well as stigma and discrimination. But with the right energy and the right resources, there is much that can be accomplished!

Striving to Make Lasting Social Change
Collective Impact
By Krissi Spinoza

Like many non-profit organizations, BC Healthy Communities aims to make lasting social change. So we took notice when the Stanford Social Innovation Review published an article on Collective Impact in its Winter 2011 edition. The article has a similar starting place as our work at BC Healthy Communities: recognizing that in order to tackle the complex problems facing the world and to make lasting social change we need to work together across sectors. 

The particularly compelling component about what John Kania and Mark Kramer call Collective Impact is how they point to a place beyond the limits and pitfalls of a simple imperative to work together, bringing attention to the conditions needed to do this effectively in complex social systems. In spite of best intentions, many organizations working separately to address a complex social issue does not necessarily lead to the kind of impacts that we aspire to. The Collective Impact approach brings attention to what factors will actually enable organizations to work together effectively. 

The 5 conditions identified for creating Collective Impact are:

1. A common agenda
This requires that not only do organizations share a vision for change but they also probe and resolve differences in the definition of the problem and the goal they are seeking. For example, a charity devoted to improving the educational attainment of children may have some shared interests with one that hopes to support the mental health and well-being of new mothers. But there are likely to be some quite distinct differences in the definition of the issue and vision of success. Defining a common agenda is essential to keeping the Collective Impact initiative focused and intentional, given the many influences and interests represented by the different organizations involved.

2. A shared measurement system
By creating a shared measurement system, organizations create agreement on a definition of success and the steps towards it. Furthermore, a shared measurement system allows organizations to learn from each other and to create accountability within the field.

3. Mutually reinforcing activities
Collective Impact appreciates that different organizations have different strengths. By creating a coordinated plan that brings together the activities that each organization excels at, a Collective Impact project can have maximum effect. 

4. Continuous communication
Working together takes time: time to build trust, to develop a shared vocabulary, and to develop decision-making processes. Collective Impact projects that contribute to long-term social change feature regular meetings attended by those with decision-making power and authority. Other successful projects have used web-based communication and other communication tools to ensure that communication remains open between and within networks.

5. A backbone organization
One of the key features of Collective Impact is the backbone support organization. This is identified as an organization that coordinates, supports and facilitates collaboration. By supporting collaboration in this manner, the backbone organization can help to frame issues for the group and mediate conflict among partners, as well as, freeing the other Collective Impact partners to focus on delivery.

The idea of Collective Impact has sparked a great deal of excitement through a range of sectors. The approach seems to be most effective when there is a range of engaged stakeholders facing a complex issue that have the resources and capacity to fulfill the five conditions and establish a backbone support organization. But even if the conditions are not yet ripe for a formal Collective Impact initiative to develop, there is still a wealth of learning you can take from this rapidly growing practice and about how to effectively work with other organizations to lead social change.

You can find out more information on Collective Impact and how it is being practiced in communities by following these links:

Tamarak Institute - Leaders in Collective Impact 

Innoweave - Practical Tools for Social Innovation 

Stanford Social Innovation Review- Article on Collective Impact 

Vibrant Canada - Blog Articles on Collective Impact 

The Philanthropist - Article on Collective Impact 

Why Collective Impact and Why Now?
Where: Online
When: August 8, 2014 | 8:00am-9:00am PDT 
Cost: Free

Join Melody Barnes and Paul Born for an interactive tele-learning session in which they explore the theme of Collective Impact and why it's crucial that leaders embrace this framework right now. 

To learn more and register, click here.

UBCM 2014 Conference
Leading Edge
Where: Whistler, BC
When: September 22 - 26, 2014
Cost: applicable

As the 2013 Convention was one of the highest rated conventions of all time, the 2014 convention will continue to provide a keynote speaker, clinics, workshops and sessions that deliver immense value for all local governments in BC. This year's theme is Leading Edge, in hopes to explore innovative concepts with the potential to propel us beyond constraints, towards success.

Read more.

Canadian Rural Revitalization Conference 
BCHC presenting on Alcohol and Impacts on Rural Communities at "New Realities, New Relationships"

Where: Prince George, BC
When: September 25 - 27, 2014
Cost: $200 - $450

BC Healthy Communities looks forward to be presenting at this year's Canadian Rural Revitalization Conference in partnership with Winds of Change and the Ministry of Health.

Our session will focus on the challenges and opportunities rural communities are presented with, such as:

• How do we balance the growth of businesses and the economy with the need to protect public health and safety? 

• How do we ensure our communities provide inclusive, social recreation opportunities? 

• How can we maximize the revenue generated from local government facilities while reducing liability?

We will focus on how collaboration and partnership working between municipalities, regional districts, First Nations, provincial governments, non-profit organizations and others can build capacity to develop policies and practice that balance the risks and harms of alcohol with the economic and social benefits. We will provide a candid insight into the challenges of working together as well as provide information about financial resources and expertise that can help build capacity and support collaboration. 

To learn more and to register, click here.

Recommended by Claudia de Haan
Spacing: Book review of "Cities for People"
By Erick Villagomez

The city at eye level continues the strong argument for a pedestrian-based city environment. Going into more detail about providing good environments “for people to walk, stand, sit, watch, listen and talk”, Gehl describes the human experience of the urban landscape as the most important scale for city planning and the most significant aspects of creating good quality urban environments.

Read more.

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