People’s Health Series 2010 Session
- Popular education
- Preventative health information
- Shared analysis of health issues
- Connecting health to social justice
- Community action for change
Why Do We Care About Community Health?
Current beliefs and government public health campaigns tell us that we’re the primary cause of our health problems, and behaviour changes are the only way to improve our health. We hear about how we’re too fat, we eat the wrong foods, we smoke too much, don’t get enough exercise, and we don’t manage our time or stress in the right ways.
Yet this type of health ‘promotion’ sends a narrow, guilt-inducing message lacking an analysis of common health concerns. Consider that, as a whole, poor and marginalized people have much higher rates of:
- Certain Cancers
- Depression and Anxiety
- Heart Disease and Attacks
- Workplace Injuries
- And much more!
Why do poor communities share these major health problems? Conditions we face, such as poor working conditions, low wages, over-priced and inadequate housing, lack of access to education, lack of nutritious food, struggles to find adequate childcare, and inadequate access to health services leave us with very few choices about how we live our lives and where we spend the little money we have, let alone making improvements to benefit ourselves, our families, and our communities!
We call this the social determinants (education, housing, employment, etc.) and the structural determinants (control over our lives, political/social power) of health. While individuals can make a big difference in their health through behavioural changes, ultimately what will improve the health of our communities are collective actions to address the roots of our common health problems.
The purpose of the People’s Health Series is to look at some of the most common areas of health concern, to examine how we can improve preventative health measures in our own lives, while looking simultaneously at the social and structural determinants of health to see where as a community we can work together to improve our collective power and self-determination to improve health for all.
Who can participate in the People’s Health Series?
The People’s Health Series is intended for:
- Anyone interested in making positive changes in their own health, as well as the health of their families and communities;
- Those interested in becoming volunteers or Community Health Advocates with the Alliance for People’s Health;
- Students from health sciences, social sciences, and related community studies who are interested in expanding their understanding and practices related to community health;
If you are interested in participating in the People’s Health Series, then chances are its right for you! Feel free to contact us for more information or to answer any questions you may have.
What’s Involved in the People’s Health Series?
The People’s Health Series has four core components:
- Popular Education where we collectivize our experiences on the particular topics, analyze those experiences, and strategize changes to improve individual as well as community health in a participatory fashion;
- Group Activities to build hands-on practical skills during the People’s Health Series;
- Personal Change and Reflection incorporated into each session to encourage each group members to take action to improve our own health;
- Community Health Project Planning to support the development of new community health projects, and expand current community health projects such as the Food Action Collective for Sustainability and Transformation (FACTS).
Schedule of Activities:
May 30: Does Capitalism Make You Sick? Biomedical vs. Preventative Health
Learn about and discuss the different ways societies approach meeting the health needs of their communities and how this ultimately impacts our health as individuals, families, and communities. Share our own experiences of health/ill-health and how we can make changes as individuals, but more importantly, how communities can take action for health.
June 6: Smile with Dignity! Dental Care is a Human Right
Share our experiences with dental care and analyze the connections between poverty and poor dental health. Discuss the connection between dental health and overall health. Learn about and participate in the APH campaign to include dental care under the current Medical Services Plan in BC.
June 13: What’s on the Table? Food Justice and Community Health
Consider who has access to healthy food in our society. Examine what foods are available in our communities and discuss the production and distribution of food. Obesity and malnutrition are two sides of the same coin; ask ourselves, what is really making people sick? Is it really about choice? Take action! What can communities do to improve food justice?
June 20: Food Justice Survey & Community Mapping
Divide into teams and survey the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood to examine what is the community’s access to food. Return to the Organizing Centre, pool our data, and discuss the implications for health of our findings. What role does the market play in determining our right to nutritious foods? What kinds of actions have communities taken to improve food justice?
June 27: Free Our Minds: Stress, Anxiety, and the State of Society
Share our experiences of stress and anxiety with a focus on the sources of our stress. What do we share in common? Step back and examine the contradiction between our personal values and aspirations versus the expectations we face under capitalism. Share tips on how to manage stress and anxiety, and go deeper to strategize collective actions for change.
July 4: Written On Our Bodies: Back Pain, Neck Pain, and Physical Activity
Are you or someone you know living with chronic pain? As a group examine our experiences of pain and injury. Why are people in pain? What is the source of this pain? Discuss what we can do to treat, as well as prevent injury and pain. Examine the relationship between physical wellness, employment, income, and community design. What can we do as individuals and a society to improve our physical well being?
July 11: Community Kitchen for Social Justice!
Collectively plan and prepare a meal to share with the People’s Health Series participants. Build skills in the kitchen while having a dinner to celebrate the People’s Health Series 2010!
Date TBA: ‘Smile with Dignity’ Dental Campaign Action
Take action as a part of the APH campaign to include dental care under MSP. This action will include a participatory ‘speak out’ component – details to be announced in the People’s Health Series.
Registration and Participation: pre-registration is required for participation; full participation in all sessions and activities is required. Please complete the registration form and either send it to us by e-mail, mail, or drop it off at the Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice.
Session Times: with the exception of the Smile with Dignity campaign action, all activities will take place Sundays from 11:00 am sharp to 2:00 pm.
Food and Childcare: will be available at each session. If you require childcare, you must let us know in advance. We will provide childcare on site with prior notice.
Materials: all materials will be provided free of charge.
Register early as the People’s Health Series 2010 has spaces for a maximum of 16 participants and spaces will fill!