COLUMN: Panelists join health conversations

Sept. 20 was the second of a five-part Film and Conversation series with the goal to engage Summerland on community health.

Sept. 20 was the second of a five-part Film and Conversation series with the goal to engage Summerland on community health ranging from food security, elder care, early childhood development, mental health and healthy built environments.

The Summerland Healthy Community Initiative is looking for community input and ideas for health related projects that are needed and deemed a priority.

Thanks to a $5,000 Healthy Community Capacity Building Fund the Summerland Healthy Community Initiative has been able to bring this Film and Conversation series to fruition.

There has been great response to the events so far, with very knowledgeable, insightful, passionate audience members who are looking to be part of positive change and awareness.

Part of the draw to the evening is hearing from the expert panel lined up for each event.

The most recent event saw three experts on elder care; Dr. Norah Keating, a gerontologist who lives in Summerland and has worked at the University of Alberta, Swansea University (UK) and North-West University (South Africa).

She has been involved in the age-friendly communities initiative since its launch by the World Health Organization in 2007.

Keating worked with the film maker in the development of the Elder Project and was a consultant to the National Film Board on the final production of the film.

Dr. Heather Cooke holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, and is a research consultant and professor at Simon Fraser University in the department of gerontology.

Her research interests include the subjective experiences of staff and residents in long-term care, aging and the built environment, and personhood and dementia.

The third panelist was Kathleen Mills, Director of Care, at the Summerland Seniors Village.

She was an ambassador to the programs in place and care at this local facility.

The October Film and Conversation event will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The film “School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten” will be shown at 6pm at Centre Stage Theatre.

Guest panelists this evening on the topic of Early Childhood Education will be Kelowna based Eco-Artist Shimshon Obadia whose recent documentary  ‘Daylighting the Classroom’ will also be shown.

Early Years Regional Coordinator, Patricia Tribe will be a panelist along with Don Gayton who has a local daylighting project.

The Nov. 22 Film on Mental Health is “Stand Up for Mental Health.”

There will be four expert panelists: Dr. Kyle Stevens, a specialist on mental health.  Milton Orris, who was a developer and director of the Master of Health Administration program at University of Toronto, Megan Rogall, a Summerland Secondary School advocate for mental health will be a panelist along with Patricia Gregory a mental health consultant.

Come out and share your thoughts on these important topics to improve health in Summerland and help with Summerland Healthy Community  mission to make Summerland a leading example of a healthy community.

Joanne Malar is the program coordinator for Summerland Recreation, three-time Olympic swimmer, 2012 Olympic Commentator, kinesiologist and holistic nutritionist.