Creating Complete Communities: Vibrant, Healthy, Safe & Sustainable

Community Showcase and Panel Presentation

Featuring Dr. Robert Strang, Chef Joshna Maharaj, Dr. Brian VanBlarcam and Dr. Jonathon Fowles
Monday February 29th, 2016 6:30pm-9:30pm

Nationally renowned panelists explore how to create complete communities. Learn about the role of food systems, exercise and lifestyle choices and economic development in fostering personal wellbeing, community health and sustainability. Plus, visit the community showcase featuring a variety exhibitors from campus and the community.  This event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

Moderator: Dr. Alan Warner, Department of Community Development and Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Acadia University


Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Public Health Officer for Nova Scotia

Dr. Robert Strang is the Chief Public Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Province of Nova Scotia. He completed his medical degree (1990), family practice residency (1992) and Community Medicine Residency (1997) at the University of British Columbia. He was an Associate Medical Officer of Health in British Columbia from 1997-1999. In 1999, he moved to Halifax to become Medical Officer of Health for Capital District Health Authority. In January 2007 he became Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province. Dr. Strang was appointed Nova Scotia's first Chief Public Health Officer in August, 2007. 

Chef Joshna Maharaj

Making Change: How Public Institutions Can Nurture Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems

Learn how schools in the higher education sector are transitioning to more healthy and sustainable food systems.

Joshna Maharaj served as the Assistant Director of Food Services & Executive Chef at Ryerson University from 2013-2015 and was appointed to lead the transformation of food services. She has provided vision and leadership for the new direction of food service, with a focus on local, sustainable procurement and scratch cooking. Prior to joining Ryerson University, Joshna worked with several Toronto hospitals, working to reconnect good wholesome food with wellness, and create new models for institutional food procurement and production. Joshna’s strong social justice and sustainability ethics were fostered at her time at The Stop, where she built innovative and delicious community food programs, putting a grassroots kitchen on par with the rest of the kitchens in the city. Today she is a regular guest chef on a variety of main-stream media outlets, including CBC Television and Radio. She believes that universities can be leaders in nurturing more sustainable food systems and strengthen local economies with thoughtful food procurement, consumption and advocacy.

Dr. Brian VanBlarcom

Dr. Brian VanBlarcom is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at Acadia University. Brian earned his PhD at Clemson University in South Carolina, USA. His research involves economic impacts/issues related to the tourism/sport/recreation. Recent publications include: Comparing the Costs and Health Benefits of a Proposed Rail Trail, with J. Janmaat, Special issue of the Journal of Policy Research on Tourism, Leisure and Events: Advancing Healthy Communities through Tourism, Leisure and Events, (2013); Cost Benefit Analysis of a World Heritage Designation in Nova Scotia, with Dr. Cevat Kayahan, Review of Economic Analysis, (2012). Numerous economic impact studies completed for community groups can be found on the Annapolis Valley Event and Sports Tourism Association website:

Dr. Jonathon Fowles
Exercise is Medicine: How physical activity contributes to your physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.

Exercise is a powerful agent for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Learn practical strategies to include physical activity in your day and support physical activity in your community.

Dr. Jonathon Fowles is an exercise physiologist at the Centre of Lifestyle Studies at Acadia University and has done extensive work for the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology to promote practical strategies for health professionals to implement exercise recommendations as a core component of primary health care. He was on the Steering Committee for Canada’s most recent physical activity guidelines in 2011, and is the primary author of the Diabetes Physical Activity and Exercise Toolkit, developed in partnership with the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia and now adopted by the CDA. Dr. Fowles has done extensive work with many national organizations promoting physical activity and exercise and is currently a faculty lecturer with the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and Exercise is Medicine-Canada, spearheading national initiatives to promote practical strategies for health professionals to implement exercise recommendations as a core component of primary health care and diabetes care.  


For more information please contact


New location: Fountain Commons, Acadia University

Campus Map


This event is presented by Acadia University Student Services, the School of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Department of Community Development and the Acadia Sustainability Office with support from the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness through Thrive! A plan for a healthier Nova Scotia.