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Belfast Healthy Cities

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Healthy Cities 21st Century

Winner of the Healthy City Explorer Bursary 2018 announced

Belfast Healthy Cities, the World Health Organisation project in Northern Ireland, has announced Christine McKee, a Registrar in the Public Health Agency, is the winner of the Healthy City Explorer Bursary 2018.

The Explorer Bursary has been awarded on an annual basis since 2014 and allows individuals working in the field of health and wellbeing, including healthy urban planning and design, to visit another WHO European Healthy City or National Network to study their approach to addressing a key issue relating to health inequalities. The bursary is open to applicants living or working in Belfast from community, voluntary, public and business sectors.

Christine will undertake a study trip to the cities of Rotterdam and Utrecht in the Netherlands to engage with urban planning / public health professionals and policymakers as well as innovative entrepreneurs to learn more about Early Years obesity prevention, cervical screening and Green Care programmes. The study trip aims to include visits to both the Rotterdam Centre for Health Promotion and the Dutch Alliance for Health Literacy.

The main objective of this study trip will be to explore examples of projects that aim to improve health literacy within the general population.  Health literacy is one of the priority issues that links closely to both the strategic goals and all of the core themes of Phase VI of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, and is acknowledged as a priority locally, nationally and internationally.

Christine said,

“I am honoured to have been awarded this bursary and am really looking forward to learning from international good practice in a country with renowned levels of population health literacy. I hope that this experience will benefit my own practice and that my feedback following the study visit will also benefit the Public Health Agency and other local agencies, in relation to incorporating health literacy considerations within projects and policies in the future.”

The learning outcomes from this study trip will be disseminated within the PHA in order to shape future health literacy programmes. The learning outcomes will also be made available more widely through a presentation at the Belfast Healthy Cities’ Annual Awards Ceremony.

Joan Devlin, Chief Executive of Belfast Healthy Cities said,

“Health literacy is a major policy area across all WHO Healthy Cities. In practice health literacy can be as simple as understanding a prescription or instructions on a medicine package, to accessing and understanding health promotion messages. The learnings which Christine will bring back from her visit to Holland will help inform policy makers in Belfast and across Northern Ireland.”