School Travel Champion Profile: Deanna Tan-Francoeur

The connection between health and transportation has long been overlooked, and Deanna Tan-Francoeur, a Community Health Specialist with Fraser Health, is out to change that.

With so many of our health problems resulting from a lack of activity, the choice to walk or cycle can bring us back to the basics. By teaching healthy active travel habits to our kids, we can help them prevent possible health problems later in life.

Learn more about Deanna’s work making the connection between active travel and health after the break.

While education is important in bringing change, Tan-Francoeur notes that it is just one piece of the puzzle. Lasting change requires a supportive environment, supportive policy, and partnerships with the community in addition to education. As the Community Health Specialist in New Westminster, Tan-Francoeur holds a unique place in that her position allows her to work in all four of these pillars, as she fosters a supportive environment through education programs and policy recommendations aimed at creating a healthy city.

“A city designed for pedestrians and cyclists,” says Tan-Francoeur, “makes for a healthier community than one designed for cars.” Knowing that a city based on active transportation can be a difficult concept to grasli>in our car-driven, North American culture, she recommends that everyone take the opportunity to travel and see how thing can be. She points out that it takes intentional planning to create a healthy city. “Encouraging more travel by walking and cycling is not something that would be ‘nice’ to do, rather it is something we need to do.”