photo: Elena Iourtaeva
The Faculty celebrated two of its own earlier this month as they were honoured with Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals in recognition of outstanding contributions to making physical activity a priority within their community and across Canada. Michelle Brownrigg, the Faculty’s director of physical activity and equity, and Professor Guy Faulkner, an expert in exercise psychology, received the medals on February 1 as a result of nominations through ParticipACTION, Canada’s national voice of physical activity and sport participation.
The Diamond Jubilee Medals were created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. In the past year 60,000 Canadians were recognized with medals in honour of their outstanding achievements. Brownrigg and Faulkner were among 55 individuals and volunteers working within the field of physical activity promotion to receive a medal.
“Each recipient was chosen by a selection committee of prominent Canadians in the physical activity sector,” says Kelly Murumets, president and CEO of ParticipACTION. “The presentation of this medal is a tribute to the dedication, passion and commitment that has been made to getting Canadians more active and ultimately contributing to a healthier nation.”
Brownrigg manages a portfolio focused on providing broad-based physical activity and sport opportunities for the University of Toronto student body, faculty and the broader community, with a particular mandate to reach out to underserved populations. With a long history of working in physical activity and health promotion she joined the Faculty after serving as the CEO for Active Healthy Kids Canada, which produces the annual national report card on physical activity for children and youth. In partnership with ParticipACTION, Brownrigg played a leading role in the development of an awareness campaign called MoveU, an initiative to encourage undergraduate students on U of T’s three campuses to become more physically active.
Professor Faulkner oversees the activities of the Faculty’s Health and Exercise Psychology Unit. He is also a research scientist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and a member of the ParticipACTION research advisory committee and the research work group for the 2013 Active Healthy Kids Canada national report card. Faulkner’s research focuses on two inter-related themes: the effectiveness of physical activity promotion interventions, and physical activity and mental health. He is also working with Brownrigg on the evaluation of the MoveU campaign.
“I am so proud that our Faculty includes such nationally-recognized leaders of health and physical activity research and programs,” says Dean Ira Jacobs. “These medals serve as a testament to the impact this extraordinarily important work is having, and to the fact that active, healthy living is a growing priority in Canada.”