Healthy Towns, Happy People

Healthy Towns is a health promotion program that supports rural and regional towns to run local projects that improve people’s health and happiness. This innovative collaborative pilot program commenced in April 2016. It acknowledges and rewards local communities for health promotion activity that creates new connections between people, connections with greenspace and connections with place. Healthy Towns responds to the need to engage local community groups and organisations in contributing to the health and happiness of their community, with a focus on populations where there is greatest need. Current research demonstrates that initiatives developed locally, focusing on existing strengths and resources, are more successful in improving health and wellbeing outcomes (Kelly et al. 2010). Research also shows that feeling a sense of connection to others, the natural environment and where you live are instrumental in creating improved health and wellbeing (Helliwell et al. 2012; Rossouw & Pacheco 2012; Tafarodi et al. 2012). Heathy Towns was piloted in three Queensland communities over 2016. A process evaluation was undertaken of the pilot to inform the ongoing development of the program in preparation for impact and outcome evaluation and expansion of the program in 2017.

Pattie Hudson & Jane Taylor

Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN and Unversity of the Sunshine Coast

Pattie Hudson is the CEO of Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN and also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast. In her 27 years in Queensland Health, she worked in alcohol and drug services, mental and community health and in clinical and management roles across Queensland, as well as a term in health management in Western Australia.
Dr Jane Taylor is a public health academic at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Prior to academia Jane worked as a health promotion practitioner for some 15 years in non-government and government organisations on a range of community-based health promotion programs.