Written by Sepia Sharma, Community Health Specialist

We asked you to share what "what I do matters" means to you in just six words. Read one community health specialist’s story behind her six word story.

My six word story is “Engaging all to build healthier communities.” As a community health specialist in Delta, I work with other community leaders to bring a health lens to the policies, planning and programming being rolled out for residents. 

Many years ago, I managed a crisis line for the growing diverse community in Surrey. I often felt powerless to change the conditions of those we were trying to help. As a result, I started looking at initiating programs that would support these individuals, but it only took us so far in making a real sustainable change.

What I love about my current position is that my colleagues and I have the opportunity to influence the root causes and really make a difference. We work with other community leaders to study our communities and understand what feeds into substance use, childhood obesity, seniors isolation, sedentary lifestyles and violence, for example. 

The healthy community platform is based on the premise that everything is connected. For example, the way our cities and neighborhoods are designed can help or hinder the individuals and families who live there to make healthier choices.  

The challenge is that it isn’t one size fits all. One constant is whether the community is meeting the basic needs of its residents. That includes physical needs such as in food, water, shelter and safety, as well as the higher needs of citizens, such as the need for individuals to contribute to their community and feel included in decisions that affect them.

What I do matters because of the way we do things. Embracing a philosophy of public engagement and population health helps break down silos and fosters collaboration, builds trust where it was broken, and helps restore our faith in our potential as humans to work together and solve complex problems and achieve better health outcomes for all.

What's your six word story? Share it at stories@fraserhealth.ca or leave a comment below. Browse all the six word stories here.

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