Equity in Action: Planning Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Programs for Marginalized Communities

Posted on November 27, 2012

On Tuesday, November 20th, 2012, Minding Our Bodies and Health Equity and Race Ontario (HERO) hosted “Equity in Action” at the Taggart Family YMCA- YWCA, in Ottawa, Ontario. With over 40 people in attendance, the forum brought together participants from community health centres, mental health organizations, public health, and other social service organizations, to explore the intersection(s) of equity with physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health.

The day began with a performance by spoken words artist, Greg Frankson, a.k.a. Ritallin. Greg served as Poet-in-Residence for the day, observing the event and writing poetry based on what was seen and heard. He concluded the day by sharing these new poems with the group. To see Greg’s body of work from the day, click here.

The morning continued with presentations about HERO and healthy equity, CMHA Ontario’s Equity and Mental Health Framework, self-care for service providers and an introduction to the Minding Our Bodies project. Through a panel presentation, participants heard from program leaders who have run recovery-focused physical activity and healthy eating programs. The afternoon session centered on using the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) Tool. Participants were given an introduction to HEIA and then presented with case studies to use as they practiced using the tool.

We would to thank our forum presenters and participants for joining us for the day. A huge thank you goes out to Taggart Family YMCA- YWCA, who generously donated their space and their support in helping to organize the event. As well, the Y’s Jill Pomeroy provided physical activity breaks in both the morning and afternoon – Thank you to Jill for getting our blood pumping and our bodies stretched!


Health Equity and Race Ontario (HERO) Presentation

  • Vincenza Spiteri DeBonis (HERO)

CMHA Ontario’s Equity and Mental Health Framework

  • Sheela Subramanian (CMHA, Ontario)

Self-Care for Service Providers

  • Maria Lo (Hong Fook Mental Health Association)

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Mental Health

  • Scott Mitchell (CMHA, Ontario)

Healthy Eating and Gardening Program

  • Jaipreet Kohli (Across Boundaries – An Ethnoracial Mental Health Centre)

Fun with Food and Fitness

  • Susannah Juteau, Janet Edwards, Chelsey Karemangingo (Centretown Community Health Centre and Ottawa Salus)

Health Equity Impact Assessment: A User-Friendly Tool for the Integration of Equity Considerations into Health System Delivery and Policy

  • April MacInnes (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)


Facing Racism in Health (From participant package)

HEIA - Health Equity Impact Assessment (Ministry of Health and Long Term Care)

Journey to Promote Mental Health: A Training Series for Community Service Workers (blog and handbook)

Network Magazine – Focus on Equity: Exploring the Diverse Faces of Mental Illness (Spring 2010)

Network Magazine – Craving Change: Rethinking Our Approach to Chronic Disease (Fall 2010)


Metro News (Ottawa): “Health topics to be raised at forum” (Nov 20, 2012)

The Ward: “Health equity forum gathers in Ottawa” (Nov 20, 2012)