The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion: Critical Engagement from a Health Equity Perspective
Public Health Agency of British Columbia Conference, November, 2011

I appreciate the support from the Dorothy Kergin Award to attend this year’s Public Health Agency of British Columbia’s (PHABC) Conference titled: The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion: Critical Engagement from a Health Equity Perspective, November 28th and 29th in Richmond, British Columbia. This conference provided insights into a variety of perspectives exploring the past, present and future directions of health promotion, with an overall aim to reduce health inequities in Canada.

As one can imagine, I was full of anticipation for the stellar line up of internationally recognized scholars: Trevor Hancock, David McQueen, John Raeburn.
It was fascinating to see each of these inspiring scholars present their varying perspectives on health promotion and then field the challenging questions posed by audience members.

Attending this conference was beneficial in many ways. A fellow nursing doctoral student and I are currently writing a paper for publication in which we provide a summary of the development of health promotion within Canada, reflect on the uptake of the Ottawa Charter over the last 25 years, and discuss current debates and tensions to address during current public health renewal in Canada. The conference sessions and panel debates were directly related to discussion
points presented in our paper and have been helpful in developing our thinking around these complex public health issues. The critical dialogue also helped to shape my ideas around health promotion policy and practice, which has assisted my candidacy exam preparation because one of my proposed candidacy questions involves reflecting on the development of health promotion and public health in nursing. Finally, I was a panellist for the guest presentation by Dr. John Raeburn at UVic on December 1st. By attending Dr. Raeburn’s keynote at the PHABC conference and talking with him at the conference, I felt better prepared to represent graduate nursing students on the panel.

All in all, I found this conference to be a wonderful opportunity to participate in dialogue around innovative forms of action aimed to reduce health inequities and it was informative to many aspects of my current nursing graduate efforts.

—Megan Kirk

From the 2012 Winter Communiqué