Working Together to Achieve Healthier Lifestyles in Yukon and Northwest Territories' Communities

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, wellness, participatory research, lifestyle change

Principal Investigator: Butler Walker, Jody (2)
Licence Number: 15871
Organization: Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research
Licensed Year(s): 2016 2015
Issued: Apr 27, 2016
Project Team: Katelyn Friendship (Co-Researcher, Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research), Geoff Ray (Team Partner, NWT-Recreation & Parks Association), Craig Scott (Team Partner, Ecology North), Julian MacLean (Team Partner, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation), France Benoit (Team Partner, Yellowknife Farmers Market), Iris Hamlyn (Team Partner, The Side Door Youth Centre), Mabel Wong (Team Partner, Northern Nutrition Association), Lone Sorensen (Team Partner, Northern Roots), Damon Crossman (Team Partner, GNWT-MACA), Sheena Tremblay (Team Partner, NWT-Recreation & Parks Association), Tess Ondrack (Team Partner, Food First Foundation), Jessica Dutton (Team Partner, Aurora Research Institute), Tracy Williams (Team Partner, Yellowknife Farmers Market)

Objective(s): To encourage and support Northerners in Yukon and Northwest Territories’ communities to follow healthier lifestyles; and to facilitate organizations, government departments and businesses in Yukon and NWT to work in partnership together to foster healthier lifestyles in communities.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are: 1.) to encourage and support Northerners in Yukon and Northwest Territories’ communities to follow healthier lifestyles; and, to facilitate organizations, government departments and businesses in Yukon and NWT to work in partnership together to foster healthier lifestyles in communities.

The project engages organizations involved in healthy eating, active living, and health literacy as a collective, to examine the collective impact of working together within and across both Territories. The research team have been working with organizations through Core team meetings, working groups, small contracts, and participation in local meetings or conferences. The research team are particularly interested in understanding factors (i.e. facilitators, barriers) that contribute to sustainability of successful healthy living initiatives in communities. The research team will be working to identify and highlight successful healthy living initiatives with interested communities.

The research team have established healthy eating inventory and active living inventory working groups who facilitated the collection of healthy eating and active living programs in all communities in Yukon and Northwest Territories. Collection of the information was done via online survey and phone survey. This information will be visually represented online as a map and will be updated. The purpose of the map is for communities, program coordinators, funders and others to see what healthy living programming is happening in communities, identify where there may be gaps, and identify opportunities for collaboration.

The project aims to enhance and strengthen collaboration and networking between and within non-government and government agencies, businesses, and communities in both the Yukon and NWT, with a focus on healthy eating, active living and literacy. The research team are working to create an inventory of healthy eating and active living programs in communities in both territories. The intent of the inventory is to provide opportunities to share information on programs and services related to active living and healthy eating. This will help to identify gaps, develop/strengthen networks and share information between communities and programs, facilitate planning or networking, and celebrate successes related to healthy eating and active living initiatives. The inventory is an online interactive map, in which the team are exploring opportunities to keep it sustained after the project. The research team will work with communities or organizations to share, promote, and use the tool in ways that are most relevant. The team are also looking to understand factors of sustainability and scalability of successful health interventions, using a case study approach. By improving the understanding of factors that influence sustainability the team will be better positioned to identify how community-based partnerships can enhance facilitators and reduce barriers, which may influence the success or failure of programs within a rural, remote, northern context.

Working with a Core Team, the researchers are developing a communications strategy that includes in-person presentations, face-to-face meetings, website, social media, contributions to partner publications (i.e. newsletters), and the use of other tools for communication as deemed appropriate by communities.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 27, 2016 to December 31, 2016.