Paola Ardiles, Bridge for Health Founder wins Social Trailblazer Award

Simon Fraser University News

SFU health sciences lecturer Paola Ardiles is honoured by the Surrey Board of Trade for social trailblazing with a Women in Business award.


Health sciences lecturer honoured as social trailblazer

March 09, 2017

SFU health sciences lecturer Paola Ardiles has been honoured with a 2017 Surrey Board of Trade Women in Business award for her role as a community “social trailblazer.”

The annual awards recognize the work of Surrey’s businesswomen and their contributions to the community. Ardiles is cited for contributing to myriad public health areas including mental health promotion, health literacy, cultural competency, immigrant and refugee health and women’s mental health.

Ardiles provides mentorship and supervision for students interested in the public health field. She recently co-designed the new Health Change Lab at SFU Surrey, in partnership with SFU’s Radius Social Innovation Lab, Beedie School of Business.

The Health Change Lab launched as an experiential program to help students co-design innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to complex social/health problems in partnership with City of Surrey, Fraser Health Authority and various community partners.

Such partnerships ensured that students were working with mentors and coalitions to support priority areas identified by the Surrey community, such as food security, active transportation for seniors, mental health and substance use issues.

This past week her fourth-year students participated in the Surrey arm of Metro Vancouver’s Homeless count and saw first-hand the impact of homelessness and poverty.

“I’m incredibly honoured to receive this award, and will continue to work with our students and community partners towards solutions to our most urgent public health issues,” says Ardiles, who shared the award with her two co-nominees, Jen Temple of the Trademark Group and Alice Sundberg of Surrey’s Poverty Reduction Coalition.

Paola Ardiles and Surrey Board of Trade speaker and SFU alumna Margaret Trudeau

Ardiles has placed a particular focus on youth engagement and leadership development over the last few years. In 2015, she launched a social media campaign for youth and with youth to answer the questions of why and how to best engage youth in global health policy development.

Ardiles joined SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences in 2013 to design and teach a new curriculum on health promotion in the Canadian context for the Master of Public Health program. The same year, she founded Bridge for Health (B4H), a local and global network focusing on social innovation to promote health and wellbeing.

Since forming the network, Ardiles has worked to engage students, academics, professionals and organizations to share their talents, ideas and solutions in the B4H creative space. She also created an advisory group of global research and policy experts, whose initial report instigated the creation of a youth symposium at the World Health Organization’s international conference in Shanghai last fall.

For the past eight years, she has been a board member of the Public Health Association of BC and is past president of the non-for-profit organization, which advocates for healthy public policies. Her collaborative efforts led to the first public dialogue between the business sector and B.C.’s public health community, the first of its kind in Canada.

The idea of using sustainable business practices as a force for good health led her to enrol in SFU’s part-time MBA program in Surrey to study the concept. That led to the recent launch of the Bridge for Health Cooperative, to support businesses to design healthy social and physical environments in the workplace.

In 2016, Bridge for Health piloted its Well-being at Work Innovation Labs in Surrey with some local businesses as part of a Surrey Board of Trade event. The co-op will be implementing the labs in Brazil in May 2017.

The awards luncheon feature speaker, Margaret Trudeau, an SFU outstanding alumni award recipient, praised the work of all the award nominees.

© Simon Fraser University

Media Advisory about Co-op Launch today!

Just released by Simon Fraser University!
Advisory: New co-op to be “a force for good health”


Paola Ardiles, an SFU lecturer in health sciences created Bridge for Health as a Vancouver-based volunteer network to promote citizen engagement in health. Enabling people to have more control over the conditions that impact their health is the impetus for turning the network into a social enterprise. The launch of B.C.’s new Bridge for Health Co-op takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in Vancouver.

The goal of Bridge for Health is to work with community organizations and businesses to co-design healthy social and built environments that promote wellbeing. Bridge for Health Innovation Labs aim to get at the root cause of illness in order to reduce stress and burn-out, which is causing huge social and economic impacts in the workplace.

Since its inception three years ago Bridge for Health has reached people across Canada and abroad and is evolving into an incubator of social innovation in health, with empowerment and community engagement at its core. A number of SFU students are also involved.

The co-operative model resulted from Ardiles’ consultations with the health, business and NGO sectors, and she says it’s an example of using innovative business models “as a force for good health.” Co-ops promote inclusiveness, collective leadership and shared ownership, all concepts core to promoting health and wellbeing.

The new B.C. Co-op will focus on social innovation research and consulting. The launch party will include a talk with best-selling author, physician and SFU alumnus Dr. Gabor Maté.

What: Party for Bridge for Health’s co-operative launch

When: Wednesday, September 28 at 6:45-9 pm

Where: Centre for Peace, 1806 W 15th Avenue, Vancouver

Who: the general public is welcome

More information and purchase tickets here.


The 6th Global Forum on Health Promotion-PEI

Bridge for Health is a proud partner of this event!

The 6th Global Forum on Health Promotion, in PEI, Canada, October 16-17, 2016 (CNW Group/The Quaich Inc.)


CHARLOTTETOWN, June 13, 2016 /CNW/ – The 6th Global Forum on Health Promotion, October 16-17 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, will highlight the strategies and achievements of communities, organizations and health promotion leaders working locally to achieve global impact. Organized by a team of international and Canadian health promotion organizations, including the Alliance for Health Promotion (Geneva), The Quaich (Charlottetown) and Groupe entreprises en santé (Montreal), the theme of the 6th Global Forum is Health Promotion ~ At the Very Heart of Sustainability.

Central to the 6th Global Forum’s programming are the five principles of the Ottawa Charter, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015, world leaders at the UN Sustainable Development Summit adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. Although 15 years is a short time to achieve these goals, huge strides are being made through civil society initiatives in health promotion. And the impact is both local and global.

Gabriella Sozanski, coordinator with the Alliance, looks forward to welcoming international delegates in Charlottetown, alongside the Forum’s Canadian hosts: “The Global Forum is known for uniting community and government leaders, policy makers, researchers and practitioners from across sectors to share knowledge and build partnerships. Hosting the Forum in Canada in 2016 will bring a new dimension to our discussions and strengthen connections among health promotion leaders in Canada and abroad.”

Preliminary program highlights include keynote speaker Zsuzsanna Jakab from WHO Europe, as well as invited speakers who are trailblazers in the field of health promotion. Participants will take part in the creation of the PEI Declaration, a declaration calling for increased investment in health promotion to be submitted to the WHO’s 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai in November.

The 6th Global Forum is an initiative of the Alliance for Health Promotion, an NGO in official relations with the WHO that works to bridge the gap between international declarations and local realities. This is the first time the event is being held outside of Europe, and the Alliance is thrilled to be hosted by the Government of Prince Edward Island for the occasion, with PEI’s Department of Health and Wellness as an official sponsor.

To learn more about the Forum and to register, visit Early bird rates and student rates are available until June 30.


Innovation Labs in Small Businesses

Bridge for Health is piloting the Healthy Business Practice Framework to support the design of healthy workplaces, using systems thinking and a rapid prototyping model to spark some creativity to identify common wellbeing/health challenges and solutions in the workplace setting.

In partnership with Simon Fraser University-Faculty of Health Sciences, we are pleased to invite you to join us for an interactive workshop with Surrey Board of Trade to explore the barriers and opportunities faced by small businesses in BC.

Join us at our next event in Surrey on June 21, 2016! 

More info below:


sbot workshop