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Partnership between UpLift and Public Health sees continued funding allocated for Youth Engagement Coordinators

HALIFAX, N.S. – Representing a key outcome of the UpLift Partnership, Nova Scotia Health Public Health has announced continued funding for eight Youth Engagement Coordinator positions along with one provincial role. These positions will empower learners, schools, and communities to improve student health, learning, and leadership across Nova Scotia.

These positions stem from the work of the UpLift Partnership, a school-community-university partnership that supports the health and learning of school-aged children using a Health Promoting Schools approach. 

This evidence-based, whole-school approach integrates health into all aspects of school life to help students reach their full health and learning potential by enhancing policies, practices, design, and culture of schools. UpLift has worked to accelerate the adoption of the approach in Nova Scotia since 2019, building on two decades of research and partnering with health and education sectors.

The first Youth Engagement Coordinator positions were implemented in 2019 with subsequent positions being hired in a phased approach totalling six positions across five regions and Le Conseil scolaire acadien provincial. This continued investment by Public Health will see one coordinator in each Regional Centre for Education. Youth Engagement Coordinators work to create the conditions for optimal health and learning in schools, partner with communities, and enhance data collection to better understand the health of Nova Scotian communities—actions that align with the province’s Action for Health plan.

“As we provide ongoing support for the Youth Engagement Coordinators, we are ensuring that the wellbeing of our province’s young people remains at the forefront of our priorities,” says James Broesch, Director, Science & System Performance, Public Health, Nova Scotia Health. “Their work plays a pivotal role in championing the health and well-being of our youth, and fostering environments where they can thrive, both in their schools and in the wider community.”

As UpLift approaches the end of its six-year-mandate, which harnessed $8m of funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada and private sector donations through Dalhousie University’s Office of Advancement and the QEII Foundation, the partnership’s impact will endure as the Youth Engagement Coordinators continue to further its mission in schools. Under the banner of Nova Scotia Health, the Youth Engagement Coordinators will continue to elevate and advance youth-led initiatives and youth voices as the province works to build healthy school communities.

“Over the past six years we’ve made significant progress in advancing Health Promoting Schools across the province,” says Dr. Sara Kirk, Co-Lead of UpLift and Professor of Health Promotion at Dalhousie University, where the UpLift Partnership has been hosted. “With the continued funding for these positions, we are investing in the well-being of our students, and laying the groundwork for healthier communities.”

The Youth Engagement Coordinators will work closely with school health promoters, regional HPS teams, and other partners to support the implementation of youth well-being action plans in schools and communities. Openings for the Coordinator roles will be posted on the Nova Scotia Health website.

More information on UpLift can be found at www.upliftns.ca.

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