Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Partnership Award – 2011

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research (CIHR) Partnership Award – 2011
Dr. Patricia Williams (centre) and Ms. Marla MacLeod (right) with Dr. Alain Beaudet (left), CIHR President.

Some exciting news for the Participatory Action Research and Training Centre on Food Security (PARTC-FS) as well as the Mount community. The partnership between the PARTC-FS and the Nova Scotia Food Security Network (NSFSN) was nominated, and was a successful candidate for the 2011 Canadian Institutes of Health Research Partnership Award. $25,000 has been awarded to support the partnership, and the partners can use the funds to support the priorities of their choice.

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research (CIHR) Partnership Award – 2011
Ms. Marla MacLeod (left) and Dr. Patricia Williams (centre) with the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq (right), Minister of Health.

The CIHR Partnership Award recognizes partnerships with one or more external partners from the private, voluntary or public sectors which exemplify excellence by bringing health research communities together to create innovative approaches to research questions; to develop research agendas that are responsive to the health needs, concerns and priorities of Canadians; and to accelerate the translation of knowledge for the benefit of Canadians.

Excerpt rom the CIHR wesbite:

In 2000, community members and other partners concerned with sustainable food systems came together to discuss food security in Nova Scotia. The workshop resulted in a unique collaboration between the Nova Scotia Food Security Network (NSFSN) and the Participatory Action Research and Training Centre on Food Security (PARTC–FS). Together, they have challenged old assumptions and generated new strategies for improving access to healthy, affordable food.

“The idea is to take what we learn here [in Nova Scotia] and, in partnership with others across the country, apply and share those lessons,” says Dr. Williams.

Through the partnership, researchers, representatives from family resource centres and the Nova Scotia Nutrition Council, and people who have directly experienced food insecurity have come together to calculate the cost of a basic healthy diet in their communities and identify barriers to accessing safe, nutritious food. They have also examined the issue from the suppliers’ side, looking at the capacity of communities to produce their own food and support local farmers and fishers. The partners have used this research to create a more comprehensive definition of food security and they have developed new tools to help communities and policy makers build better food policies. Two of these tools, a workbook called Thought about Food? and a DVD entitled Food Security: It’s Everybody’s Business, have been distributed to policy makers and resource centres in over 800 communities across the country.

Dr. Patricia Williams, Director of PARTC–FS, and Marla MacLeod, Co-chair of the Coordinating Committee at NSFSN, say that these resource materials are designed to start discussions about food security at local, provincial and national levels. The partnership has also led to a multi-year, community-university research alliance to explore what community food security (CFS) looks like in four Nova Scotia communities and strengthen their capacity for policy change to achieve it.

Click here for to go to the CIHR website’s reward page.