UpLift poised to attract $10 million to improve health and wellbeing of children and youth in Nova Scotia



UpLift poised to attract $10 million to improve health and wellbeing of children and youth in Nova Scotia

New partnership engages schools, students, communities and key health stakeholders to address poor health outcomes among children and youth across the province


HALIFAX, NS, May 10, 2019 – Stakeholders from across Nova Scotia gathered at West Highlands School in Amherst today to hear the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Federal Minister of Health, announce an investment of up to $5-million to elevate the health and wellbeing of children and youth across Nova Scotia. The funding is from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) multi-sectoral partnerships for chronic disease prevention program and is a unique “matched-funds” design that can mean up to $10 million for our province. UpLift is the first partnership in Nova Scotia to receive this funding from PHAC.

“The Government of Canada knows that creating environments that promote physical activity and healthy nutrition is crucial to laying the foundation for a lifetime of healthy living. That’s why we are proud to support UpLift, which will enhance the school environment for children and youth across Nova Scotia. This, in turn will have a lasting impact on lowering their risk of developing chronic diseases,” said Minister Petitpas Taylor.

UpLift is a school-community-university partnership that is designed to build on best practices that already exist in many schools and communities, like the internationally recognized health promoting schools model, and ensuring that these best practices are implemented at the dose required for sustainable change. Led by Dr. Sara Kirk (PhD) and Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen (MD) from the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University, UpLift will empower students to be leaders and take actions that will contribute to healthy, vibrant, connected, and safe school communities. Doing so will improve health and education outcomes for generations to come.

“Our goal is to change the trajectory of health for children and youth in this province, and allow them to reach their full potential as healthy, productive members of society,” said Dr. Kirk, a Professor of Health Promotion in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University.

Key components of UpLift include youth engagement and leadership, systems change, sharing what’s working and evaluating impact. UpLift is co-designed by a multitude of partners and is strategically embedded within existing structures while ensuring impact and sustainability. For example, UpLift is funding new Youth Engagement Coordinator positions that will be Public Health – Nova Scotia Health Authority employees working with school communities.

UpLift is not a traditional project or program. It is best described as a catalyst that will bolster capacity to generate sustainable changes through collaboration. The first two local areas where UpLift will amplify capacity are Chignecto Central and South Shore Regional Centres for Education.


“Understanding that schools represent a critical setting for the promotion of health and wellbeing among children and youth, UpLift will focus heavily on youth engagement as an integral part of the process,” said Dr. Hancock Friesen.



The Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and QEII Foundation have joined forces to raise critical private sector funding which will be matched dollar-for-dollar with PHAC funding for a total of up to $10 million over five years. This innovative funding consortium has already raised over $2.65 million towards UpLift.


“The need for this project is incredibly pronounced, and its upstream approach is entirely promising. With continued momentum and collaboration between the multiple partners, including

the provincial government, health authorities, post-secondary institutions, Regional Centres for Education/provincial boards and the public, we firmly believe that UpLift can create a healthier future for all Nova Scotians,” says Brian Thompson, CEO, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation.


Quotes from key partners:

“Every decision we make and every action we take has the safety, health and well-being of children at its core. UpLift will support the critical work already happening in our schools and classrooms across the province to ensure our kids continue to be surrounded by the best learning environments, with access to the resources, learning opportunities and discussions that will support their achievement and well-being.”

Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.


“Dalhousie is proud to be part of this important initiative. UpLift’s unique approach to health promotion allows schools, community agencies, local businesses, parent and community members to all play a critical role in supporting the health and wellbeing of Nova Scotia’s children and youth.”

Dr. Alice Aiken (PhD), Vice President Research and Innovation at Dalhousie University.


“UpLift is a great example of strong partnerships making an impact on health. In year one, the three new youth engagement coordinators in Public Health, made possible as a result of UpLift, will work with the Chignecto-Central and South Shore Regional Centres for Education and school communities to support the health of children and youth. It’s an exciting opportunity that will have an ongoing impact and boost our existing Health Promoting Schools work.”

Gary O’Toole, Senior Director, Population and Public Health, Nova Scotia Health Authority


About UpLift

In order to change the trajectory for Nova Scotia’s children, we need to change their environments. UpLift will help give our children a better chance at being healthy by bolstering systems, policies and practices to amplify the impact of existing investments, including the internationally recognised Health Promoting Schools model.  Through a grassroots, student-led youth engagement initiative on changing conditions that will enable healthy eating, physical activity and wellbeing, UpLift will help improve the lives of Nova Scotians now and into the future, for healthier generations.




Media contacts:

Margaret Kay-Arora     or             Sara Kirk

902-989-6761                                    902-580-5432