I am a public health physician and health promotion consultant and in July 2018 retired from my position as a Professor and Senior Scholar at the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. Since December 2014 I have written a regular weekly column on population and public health for the Times Colonist, the daily newspaper in Victoria. Links to all my articles are now available through this website. I am a frequent keynote speaker at national and international conferences, but am equally comfortable speaking to and working with small community groups.
My main areas of interest are population health promotion, healthy cities and communities, public health, healthy public policy, environment and health, healthy and ‘green’ hospitals, health policy and planning, and health futurism. I am one of the founders of the (now global) Healthy Cities and Communities movement, co-authoring with the late Len Duhl the original background paper for the European Regional Office of the World Health Organisation in 1986. Over the past 30 years I have worked as a consultant for local communities, municipal, provincial and national governments, health care organizations, NGOs and the World Health Organization.
I have a long-standing interest in the relationship between health and the natural and built environment. For four years I led a Canadian Public Health Association workgroup that resulted in a comprehensive Discussion Paper on the ecological determinants health (May 2015). In the past I co-founded both the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care and in the 1980s I was the first leader of the Green Party in both Canada and Ontario.
Nationally, in recent years, I was a member of the Canadian Council on the Social Determinants of Health, a member of the Board of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada from 2010 – 2015, and on the Advisory Council of the Arts and Health Network Canada. In BC I was Vice-President of the Board of BC Healthy Communities for many years, until 2019. In 2019 I established a new Victoria-based and locally fociued NGO, Conversations for a One Planet Region.
In 2015 I was awarded Honourary Fellowship in the UK’s Faculty of Public Health for my contributions to public health, and in 2017 I was awarded the Defries Medal – the Association’s highest honour – by the Canadian Public Health Association.
Outside of my work life, I am an enthusiastic Morris dancer – a traditional English folk dance, think ‘non-violent rugby’! – and enjoy creating new dances and parody songs, as well as performing as the Green Man in the annual Mummers Play. I have also been a semi-professional outdoor photographer and my photography has been shown in a number of juried art shows in southern Ontario and BC; at one point I was part of co-op art gallery near our then home in Kleinburg, ON.