Growing and Supporting a Healthy Community – Wawa’s Wellness Table

Katherine Grundt and the Wawa EDC have created Wawa’s Wellness Table. The first meeting of the Wellness Table was held July 29th, 2021, and explained the basis for and the goals of this new group.

This Wellness Table will begin the community conversation about health and wellness, and how to share these wellness professions with Wawa and the area. Wawa has a great medical team with the Wawa Family Health Team and the Lady Dunn Health Centre, but Wawa also has a number of wellness professionals that augment and complete a healthy person and then by extension a healthy community.

Wawa has oft promoted itself as a place to work, play and live. The ‘Wellness Table’ will help to place the emphasis on holistic health care and help to promote knowledge of and access to the wellness-related care that is available in Wawa. For example, you many not think of yoga as a way of getting healthy – but doing yoga stretches and balancing on the beach helps to develop better balance, and flexibility – critical body skills not only as one ages, but are important before physical work.

This is an extremely important time for this venture. There are significant hurdles in Wawa and the Algoma District today, including, lack of affordable/appropriate housing, food insecurity, physician shortage, mental health/addiction care. Jordan Robson, APH’s epidemiologist and vice-president of the Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario stated that “Between 1986 and 2016, the incidence for all cancers was 567.3 cases per 100,000 population in Algoma. Algoma’s rate over this period is statistically higher than the Ontario rate of 519.5 cases per 100,000. Between 1986 and 2016, there were over 22,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in the Algoma population.” Algoma Public Health also released some very statistics regarding opioid-related deaths, 53 in 2020, up from 17 in 2019.

However, with Wawa on the cusp of economic growth and redevelopment in this economic boom, this ‘table’ may help to provide a solid foundation for a healthy community by creating public awareness and acknowledgment that health depends not only on good medical care – but also on what you eat, how you live, mental health, and living a mindful life. Developing this further, the Wellness Table will help to promote local agriculture and the many methods of preventative health care. This is a bold step forward for the community.

Katherine, a 4th year student in Nutrition and Dietetics at Brescia University College, affiliate of Western University is working with the Wawa EDC’s facilitatation of this ‘table’ where all wellness professionals can share their professions and create alliances. Her career choice is part of the medical field, but is gaining momentum in day to day life as the general public is gaining more awareness that we are what we eat. Although she is returning to school in September – she will continue to facilitate meetings via Zoom.

The next meeting will be held on September 1st at 2 p.m. Please contact the Wawa EDC for the Zoom link.