It’s beginning to look a lot like winter, which means we are at the end of another year, and thus a great time to reflect on the power and significance of Activate Health in 2021, and what it means today. Activate Health is our battle cry for British Columbians—a call for you to be a health ambassador in your community by taking actions that have positive population health impacts. Let’s take a look back at Activate Health this year!

We began 2021 with our 21x21x21 campaign—21 ways to Activate Health over 21 days in 2021.

Individual actions like wearing a mask indoors, voting, washing your hands and not touching your face, staying home if you feel unwell, and having a conversation with friends and family about the history of Canada and how it has impacted Indigenous people, were some of the examples we shared of how each of us can make a positive impact for our population—practices that are still relevant and important today.

Wear a mask indoors
Stay home if you feel unwell
having a conversation with friends and family about the history of Canada and how it has impacted Indigenous people

The COVID-19 pandemic followed us into 2021, and when BC began administering COVID-19 vaccines in our province, we were able to see, in real-time and on a large scale, how our individual actions had a population-level impact.

We are pleased to see that vaccine uptake, for the most part, being widely accepted in our province and has been providing another layer of protection on top of our standard best practices like handwashing, physical distancing, and mask-wearing, to name a few. And whether it’s their first, second, or booster dose, we continue to see people in our province protecting themselves and others even more as each day passes. Most recently, we were happy to celebrate a COVID-19 pediatric vaccine approved for children five to 11, meaning even more people are being protected every day.

At the same time, vaccine hesitancy continues to exist in pockets of our province, due in part to a significant spread of mis- and disinformation, which is why we wrote “Vaccine Hesitancy: Foe of Healthy Communities.”

But COVID-19 wasn’t the only theme we covered through Activate Health this year. It’s our priority to address the overdose crisis in BC, so we wrote “Help End the Overdose Crisis: 7 Ways to Reduce Stigma” because stigma around people who use drugs plays a key role in perpetuating this drug poisoning crisis. We all have a responsibility to eliminate stigma, and this is one way we can Activate Health.

As we journeyed through 2021, extreme environmental events like the “heat dome” we experienced this summer, to the “atmospheric rivers” this fall, shined a light on the health and safety effects of climate change for all, certainly, but especially for those who already experience inequities. As health equity is at the heart of the work we do, we were compelled to shine a light on the issue by writing “The Health of Our Planet Affects the Health of our Population.”

Then, in May, a month prior to National Indigenous History Month, 215 undocumented remains of children were uncovered at a former residential school in Kamloops. Since, more graves have, and will continue to, be exposed. As colonizers, it’s our duty to move us toward reconciliation and ongoing healing, for which we gave ways to do so from a public health perspective in “Indigenous Health and Rights: Time for a Healing Way Forward.”

Unfortunately, COVID-19, vaccine hesitancy, stigma, climate change, and Indigenous health and rights, for example, are topics we covered, but are not limited to 2021; we will carry these realities with us into 2022, and you can expect us to continue the conversation from a public health lens this coming year.

Though each of these matters are big and complex, we hope that you see the silver lining—there is so much we can do about it, and the more people involved, the greater the impact we will make.

As we enter a new year, here are four ways you can be a champion of Activate Health and the BCCDC Foundation in 2022:

  • Follow our Activate Health campaign through Instagram and our blog posts.
  • Have conversations about these important topics with those you know who also seek to make positive change.
  • Promote the important public health work we do by following and sharing our content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  • Make a donation or set up a monthly gift, not only because it’s good for the health of our population, but giving back is good for our own health and connection too.

We are looking forward to continuing the Activate Health conversation with you in 2022 and hope you are too. Through each of our positive actions, we can, and will, continue to create a ripple effect of positive change for the health of our province, especially those most vulnerable to experiencing inequities.

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