Historical Overview

In 1999 – 2000 the Northern Diabetes Prevention Coalition (NDPC) was formed.  This coalition was the original partnership group that came together to work on two strategies to promote healthy eating and physical activity for northern Saskatchewan people as a prevention strategy to address the increase of type 2 diabetes.  The Coalition was one of seven demonstration entities that received prevention-geared funding for a three year project from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.  At that same time, First Nations health organizations were also working on diabetes prevention.  It made sense in the North to work together with other sectors such as health, recreation and education sectors to improve health and well-being with the aim of reducing diabetes rates.  The coalition used a slogan called “Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice”. 

When funding ended in 2004 the partners continued to work together and found ways to pool money to continue with an awareness campaign in partnership with MBC radio amongst other actions. 

In the early days of the NDPC, partners worked together to raise awareness in the North, spreading the message that prevention of type 2 diabetes is possible. The Coalition created and promoted templates for healthy public policies for schools, recreation centers and any organization that wanted to promote healthier choices for nutrition and physical activity.  “The Gift of Health” video was also produced in Cree, Dené and English to highlight Northerners’ actions.  The Coalition offered small grants as seed money for communities to choose projects for local action.  It also organized Restaurant Awards for those northern dining facilities that chose to participate by performing a self-assessment of food choices they made available to the public and Recognition Awards for individuals and organizations that were taking positive action to “make the healthy choice the easy choice”.  The Coalition coordinated and hosted two rounds of community development workshops to help northern people increase their community development capacity; over 350 individuals attended.  The success of these workshops was recognized by the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations as the coalition later received a Green Ribbon Award for Excellence in Health Promotion. 

In 2004, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health introduced their population health promotion strategy, “Healthier Places to Live, Work and Play”.  The coalition membership met to discuss ways to enhance actions and expand work within the provincial strategy. There was agreement that continuing to work collaboratively to achieve better health for all made sense and there was a funding recommitment from the Ministry to support this work.  In 2004, the Coalition changed its name to the Northern Healthy Communities Partnership; subsequently, a new vision—the current vision of NHCP—developed. 

NHCP continues to build upon the NDPC’s foundation and success.  NHCP continues to work on finding common ground for north-wide action in Saskatchewan that aims to enhance the health and well-being of communities and individuals.