Cassidy Paxton, BA is one of BC Healthy Communities' Researchers. Cassidy joined our team in early 2018 when she came to do her practicum during her final semester at UVic, graduating this June with a Major in Health and Community Services and a Minor in Public Administration. Cassidy's background includes work in politics at all levels of government, and both work and volunteer roles with youth through the City of Victoria Youth Council and Girl Guides. Read on to hear more about Cassidy's passion for helping communities improve their health and well-being.
Why do you do healthy communities work?
I always knew that in one form or another, I wanted a career that allowed me to help people and create positive change in communities. Healthy communities work takes a holistic, upstream approach to address the underlying factors that are making people and communities unhealthy. This work is about empowering communities, advocating for healthy public policies and changes to the built environment, and helping sectors come together to make communities a place where people thrive! The policies and initiatives implemented by local governments have such a strong influence on health, so, doing this work allows me to bridge my passion for health promotion with my inner policy wonk—it’s very fulfilling.
How is what you do unique from regular public health approaches?
I think the most unique part of what we do is our emphasis on collaboration across sectors. Our approach recognizes that to create lasting change we must all work together, instead of working in silos. I think many people see public health and community planning as two separate entities, but in reality, they are so interconnected. I constantly wonder why the two fields do not work together more often, they have so much to teach one another. It has been such an enriching experience, personally, to work alongside planning professionals!
I also see a strength in our focus on upstream interventions focusing on the determinants of health and the relationships between the built environment, and community health and well-being, rather than focusing on treating illnesses or access to health care services. This upstream approach allows us to work in communities with local governments on policies and programs that promote health, well-being, and equity.
What is your secret superpower (outside work)?
I’m a great baker/chef. I love being in the kitchen and creating healthy but tasty dishes!