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Our Origin Story


Designing the network

Between September 2020 and March 2021, more than 1,500 people engaged in the Inspiring Healthy Futures initiative, representing a broad and diverse constituency of voices. Our guiding questions for Inspiring Healthy Futures included:

  • What is most needed to create healthy lives for all children and youth in Canada?

  • What are the urgent needs generated by the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • How can we work together to shape and create new knowledge and translate knowledge into action?


A participatory action approach was grounded in generative dialogue and appreciative inquiry. The full engagement was conducted virtually, in three phases.


October 2020 - March 2021

  • Convene Executive Team to provide advice about creating a representative engagement process and share interpretive insights of emerging ideas

  • Convene Core Team to provide advice on engagement process, interpret emerging ideas and conduct interviews in their own spheres

  • Set up diverse engagement process


October 2020 - February 2021

  • 19 virtual focus groups, with participants across Canada, across disciplines and across generations

  • Core team interviews with 150 participants

  • Tweet chat sponsored by Healthcare Leadership online community

  • “Big Questions” via social media and sponsor newsletters



February - March, 2021

  • Strategy Hives™ x 8

  • Two-hour intensives to co-create aspirational direction and concrete actions

    1. Hope for a brighter future

    2. Love, safety and healthy childhood

    3. Basics of a healthy life

    4. Stronger health systems

    5. Racial and structural equity

    6. Learning, belonging and play

    7. Acceleration Agenda

    8. Endurance Agenda​

Conducting this three-phase approach ​​​​​​​virtually enabled us to reach diverse participants. We engaged youth, parents, caregivers, educators, health and community service providers, youth-serving organizations, sector leaders, community leaders, advocates, policy influencers, researchers, and think tanks.


I'm inspired to go back to my organization and discuss new ideas to encourage more voice and engagement and to create hope within the middle school age youth!

Founding supporters

Inspiring Healthy Futures wouldn't exist without the encouragement and support of both both the founding Executive Team and Core Team. Their input, insight, and inspiration ensured the network's success from the beginning.




Julia Anderson, Canadian Partnership for Women & Children’s Health

Jocelynn Cook, Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada

Marie-Adele Davis, Canadian Pediatric Society

Brent Diverty, Canadian Institute for Health Information

Julie Drury, Parent partner; Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement

Vivek Gill, IHDCYH Youth Advisor

Jennifer Gillivan, Board Chair,

CCHF, Foundation President IWK

Rachel Gouin, Child Welfare League of Canada

Cassandra Hallett, Canadian Teachers Federation

Julia Hanigsberg, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab

Katherine Hay, Kids Help Phone

Zain Ismail, Henry Ford Health System

Paul Kershaw, Generation Squeeze

Annie Kidder, People for Education

David Morley, UNICEF Canada

Jane Philpott, Queen’s University

Melanie Redman, A Way Home Canada

Leila Sarangi, Campaign 2000

Erika Shaker, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Katharine Smart, Canadian Medical Association

Nora Spinks, Vanier Institute for the Family

Bruce Squires, Children’s Healthcare Canada

Kelly Stone, Families Canada

Anjum Sultana, YWCA



Christine Alden, Lawson Foundation

Sara Austin, Children First Canada

Stephen Barbazuk, Maternal Infant Child and
Youth Research Network (MICYRN)

Susanne Benseler, Alberta Children’s Hospital
Research Institute

Susan Bissaillon, Safehaven

Eric Breton, Family Network Community Health Centre

Roger Chafe, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Jean Clinton, McMaster University

Bob Connelly, Pediatric Chairs of Canada

Kristin Connor, Carleton University

Devanshi Desai, Young Canadians Roundtable
on Health

Joanne Downing, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab

Julie Drury, Parent partner, Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement

Erika Dupuis, Young Canadians Roundtable on Health

Peter Gill, Sick Kids Hospital

Cassandra Hallett, Canadian Teachers Federation

Lynda Kuhn, Maple Leaf Foods

Thierry Lacaze, MICYRN

Don Lindsay, Teck Resources

Andrew Lynk, Pediatric Chairs of Canada

Sharif Mahdy, Students Commission of Canada

Rachel Martens, Parent partner,
CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research

Dwayne Matthews, Evangelist and Future of

Education Strategist

Steven Miller, Institute of Human Development,
Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) Advisory Board

Taylor Morriseau, Youth Leader

Anne-Monique Nuyt, IHDCYH Advisory Board

Christine Hampson, The Sandbox Project

Mark Hierlihy, Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations

Clara Ho, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab

Kate Horton, Ronald McDonald House

Lauren Kelly, Dept of Pediatrics, University of Manitoba

Mobeen Lalani, Young Canadians Roundtable on Health

Frank MacMaster, Alberta Children’s Hospital

Research Institute

Shauna MacEachern, Frayme Representative

Annette Majnemer, Child Bright/McGill University

Joanne Maxwell, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab

Merryn Maynard, Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security

Jessica Nkongolo, YMCA Canada

Eki Okungbowa, IHDCYH Youth Advisory Council

Stephen Patrick, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Debra Pepler, York University

Niloufar Pourzand, UNICEF consultant

Alison Quigley, Trillium Health Partners

Susan Samuel, Canadian Child Health Clinician

Scientist Program (CCHCSP)

Mahendra Sheth, Regional consultant for the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO EMRO)

Keiko Shikako-Thomas, McGill University

Jessica Stepic, YMCA Canada

Gina Uppal, Western University and Bowhead Health

Cecilia VanEgmond, Health Canada

Annika Waschke, IHDCYH Youth Advisory Council

Aminata Wurie, CanWaCH

Laura Wittman, YMCA Canada

Adrienne Zarem, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab

Join us

Canadians want a future where every child, youth, and family thrives.​ We need everyone's help to make that happen.

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