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Date: August 31, 2005

UVic to Lead Centre Investigating Link Between
Health and Learning

A consortium of researchers and individuals from government and non-governmental organizations will share knowledge, examine research gaps and establish a research agenda for investigating the relationship between health and learning as participants in a new centre announced today in Vancouver. The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) Health and Knowledge Centre, led by the University of Victoria, will engage institutions and organizations throughout B.C., the Yukon and across Canada. Centre participants will also monitor existing programs and report on their effectiveness to produce evidence-based support for the benefits of learning.

“The members of this centre will be examining health and learning issues across the age spectrum from youngsters in school to older adults,” says Dr. Budd Hall, dean of UVic’s faculty of education and the co-director for the centre. “Centre working groups will focus on different areas of research and share their knowledge within our centre and with the other regional centres across Canada.”

The federal government has provided the CCL with $85 million in funding over five years, about $30 million of which will be used for five centres based in different regions of the country examining various aspects of learning: adult learning (Atlantic Canada); early childhood learning (Quebec); work and learning (Ontario); Aboriginal learning (Prairies, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) and health and learning (B.C. and Yukon).

Key UVic participants in the Health and Learning Knowledge Centre are:

Dr. Joan Wharf Higgins (co-director), school of physical education, will examine how out-of-school cultural, recreational and athletic opportunities influence youth’s physical, mental and social health. Wharf Higgins has just completed an extensive study with community-based agencies on the Saanich peninsula on how recreation and physical activity can help people at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Irving Rootman, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Distinguished Scholar at the centre for community health promotion research in UVic’s faculty of human and social development, will work with Dr. Deborah Begoray (education) to apply his on-going research on the link between health and literacy to the centre’s projects. Rootman’s current work includes examining how school environments affect students’ physical and social well-being and evaluating the effectiveness of health promotion programs.

Drs. Ted Riecken and Alison Preece (education) will focus on engaging youth in the process of sharing their knowledge about health and advancing the principles of child honoring, developed by children’s entertainer Raffi. These principles, addressing emotional, educational and environmental needs of children, advocate a societal philosophy to improve children’s welfare.
Media contacts:
Dr. Budd Hall (Education) at (250) 818-3015 on Aug. 31; at (250) 721-7757 or bhall@uvic.ca after that date
Dr. Joan Wharf Higgins (Education) at (778) 232-4595 on Aug. 31; at (250) 721-8377 or jwharfhi@uvic.ca after that date
Dr. Irving Rootman at (604) 733-6072 or irootman@uvic.ca
Dr. Ted Riecken (Education) at (250) 721-6346 or triecken@uvic.ca
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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