Medieval map of the world sparks an idea for project

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Patsy Beattie-Huggan was inspired by a compass rose design on a medieval map when she helped create the Circle of Health 20 years ago.

Health promotion in the province

It all started 20 years ago, when inspiration struck Patsy Beattie-Huggan while looking at a medieval map of the world on the wall of the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.

She was working on a community development project with Islanders who were seeking to create an inclusive tool for health promotion in the province. And the compass rose on the medieval map inspired the design that would become the Circle of Health.

The Circle of Health draws upon the aboriginal medicine wheel promoting holistic health — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being; the goals established in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and the determinants of health.

The idea is that everyone can achieve a healthy life within a supportive environment, no matter what their social, cultural or economic background may be.

And while this health promotion tool was developed specifically for P.E.I. communities and intersectoral groups, it has spread around the world. The Circle of Health has been translated into six languages and is used as far away as Serbia and Brazil.

In P.E.I., it is one of the main teaching tools of the Atlantic Summer Institute on Healthy and Safe Communities.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Circle of Health, along with the 30th anniversary of the Ottawa Charter in 2016, Beattie-Huggan is facilitating a five-part series of online health promotion workshops using the framework.

The workshops, entitled A Global Perspective: Work Across Sectors with Positive Results, are organized by The Quaich, the P.E.I.-based consultancy that champions the Circle of Health. Participants will learn how to use the circle in the context of their own work and life and will gain skills in facilitation, partnership development and collaborative planning.

The online workshops run from Feb. 11 to March 1 and will be offered in the mornings and afternoons so they can be widely accessible. Prices vary with discounts available to groups of two or more. A special reduced rate is also available for students and those on a low income.

For more information, visit or email Beattie-Huggan at

Organizations: Ottawa Charter, Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, Islanders Institute on Healthy

Geographic location: P.E.I., Serbia, Brazil

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