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Ian Cromwell


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Ian Cromwell (he/him) is a health economist at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, where he provides advice to healthcare decision-makers to ensure the best use of public resources. Cromwell is a classically-trained violist and founder of Locals Lounge, a grassroots incubator for Vancouver’s music community.

I moved back to Vancouver in 2009 to take a research job at BC Cancer after finishing my MSc. in Epidemiology at Queen’s. I was extremely fortunate to find a warm welcome among the community of fellow local musicians. The music scene was my introduction to this amazing city, and has been what has kept Vancouver feeling like home over the 12+ years I’ve lived here.

In 2019, I completed a PhD at UBC. My field is health economics. We look at how to use evidence to support decisions about equitable distribution of resources in health care. Basically, how to get the most “bang” for our health care “buck”. Healthy communities are the foundation of a healthy society and our individual well-being alike. That means they’re always a good investment. But it’s hard to get to know and trust your neighbours if you can’t afford to live in your neighbourhood. Housing scarcity has driven some amazing local artists out of the city. Many of the ones who do stay are unable to work and struggling to pay rents that keep going up. I know it’s not only musicians who face this reality, and I know it doesn’t have to be this way.

Reason for running

submitted by the candidate or their team
To improve the health of Vancouver and its residents by using arts and culture to restore social ties and fight social isolation. Building complete and accessible neighbourhoods with thriving social networks will help us address the climate emergency, rebuild from the pandemic, and create a Vancouver for everyone.

I know a lot of people haven’t had the same welcoming Vancouver experience I’ve had. Vancouver has a reputation as being a place where it’s hard to make friends. People often seem distant and aloof, and it can be difficult to form and maintain strong relationships. You shouldn’t have to be a performing artist to feel at home in the city you live in - everyone deserves to feel welcome. And that’s why, in 2016, I founded an organization called Locals Lounge, which seeks to build social connections in Vancouver using the connecting power of live music.

The pandemic has taught us all a lot of lessons. Probably the most important one for me is this: human beings can do great things when we work together. Whether it’s fighting a plague or responding to climate disaster, the world is better when people are looking out for their neighbour. We need to make the kinds of public policy choices that sustain our community infrastructure as we rebuild our physical infrastructure, and we need to make them now.

I dream of a city that is built for people to live in. To thrive in. To grow and share and connect in. I think a lot of us want to live in a city like that. One that prioritizes people, not just profits. One that faces the future with courage, optimism, and shared resolve. That’s why I hope you'll support me as I seek this nomination to Council. Arts and culture have the power to bring us together, to connect us, and to galvanize us as we prepare to tackle big challenges. The challenges ahead of us have never been bigger, and neither have the opportunities to transform 'No Fun City' into 'A City For Everyone'.

Every great action movie has a comeback montage, where the heroes pull together to accomplish an impossible feat and save the world through the power of teamwork.

Let’s write the soundtrack.