This fall we are holding Wellesley Institute’s 2nd biennial symposium, Advance 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on historic and systemic inequities and challenged us to rethink our priorities. To reflect this, our 2021 symposium theme is Building the new normal, focusing on exploring ways to place health and equity at the forefront as we rebuild.
This year’s symposium is going virtual and we have deconstructed it into four panel discussions.
COVID-19 community impacts
October 20, 1:00 p.m.- 2:30p.m. EST
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequities and disproportionally affected racialized communities, low-income workers, people living and working in long-term care, and other equity-seeking groups. Where do we go from here? In this panel, experts will discuss how to move forward on ensuring health equity for racialized communities and restoring trust in long-term care.
Dr. Carole Estabrooks
CM, PhD, RN, FCAHS, FAAN
Dr. Carole Estabrooks is a health services researcher and holds a Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation in the care of older adults in residential long term care (LTC) settings. She is Scientific Director of the pan Canadian, longitudinal research program, Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC).
She has been the recipient of several awards and distinctions among them, the Order of Canada (2016), the Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Translation in Aging (2014), the CAFA Distinguished Academic Award (2010), and the Alumni Award of Distinction, University of New Brunswick (2007). She is a fellow in the Royal Society of Canada (2020), the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2007), the American Academy of Nurses (2011), and the Canadian Academy of Nurses (2020).
Dr Estabrooks’ applied health services research program focuses on knowledge translation in the health sciences. She studies the influence of organizations on the use of knowledge and its effects on quality of care, quality of life/quality of end of life and quality of work life outcomes. Her work is primarily situated in the residential long term care sector and focuses increasingly on quality improvement and the spread and scale-up of innovation.
O.C., MSW, LL.D (hons.)
Carol Hopkins is the Chief Executive Officer of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation (a division of the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation) and is of the Lenape Nation at Moraviantown, ON. Carol was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Canada, 2018. In 2019, she was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Western University.
Carol Hopkins has spent more than 25 years in the field of First Nations substance use and mental health. She holds both a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Toronto and a degree in sacred Indigenous Knowledge, equivalent to a PhD in western based education systems.
Carol has co-chaired national initiatives known for best practice in national policy review and development, resulting in the: First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework (FNMWC), the Honouring Our Strengths: A Renewed Framework to Address Substance Use Issues Among First Nations in Canada, the Indigenous Wellness Framework, and the Native Wellness Assessment. Her leadership has been engaged within Health and Mental Health for First Nations, Provincial, Territorial, and Federal governments.
Angela Robertson is the Executive Director of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. Parkdale Queen West is a community-based health service organization serving mid-west Toronto. Angela is dedicated to people and communities facing discrimination, poverty and marginalization and working to change those social conditions.
She is a founding member of Blockorama, which focuses on forging spaces for Black and other racialized LGBTQ+ people and allies in Toronto’s Pride, and has served on numerous community Boards, including Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Houselink and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Angela has been recognized for her social justice work by the YWCA, Fred Victor Centre, and Urban Alliance on Race Relations, NOW magazine and was honoured by York University in 2017 with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree for her social justice work.
In response to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on racialized and low-income populations, Angela initiated and co-chair a Black Health Equity Working Group of health sector experts, leaders, practitioners, and researchers concerned with improving the health and wellbeing of Black people. For her work she was recognized by the Alliance with the Denise Brooks Equity Champion Award and the Pillar of the Pandemic award from the U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
Housing and health
October 27, 1:00 p.m.- 2:30p.m. EST
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise of evictions and encampments throughout the GTA and highlighted the critical need for accessible, affordable and safe housing. In this panel, experts from the US and Canada will examine the Housing First model, housing activism, and how we can move forward on healthy housing for everyone in our city.
Abi Bond is the Executive Director of the Housing Secretariat at the City of Toronto. She started out in the community housing sector in the UK and moved to Canada in 2007. She has worked on affordable housing policy and delivery for both the City of Calgary and the City of Vancouver. She took up her current position early in 2020 and leads the City’s new HousingTO 2020-2030 plan, which includes a range of projects, programs and policies, delivered in partnership with private and community housing partners. She believes that having a home is essential to our health and well-being, and that it has an important part to play in our economic recovery from COVID-19 and also in addressing long-standing and worsening inequities in our City.
Sarah Jama is the Executive Director at the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO). She is a community organizer from Hamilton, ON with Cerebral Palsy who does work around combating anti-Black racism, policing, and housing insecurity. Through DJNO, she works to tackle systemic ableism by building up capacity in disabled organizers to challenge structures locally, provincially and nationally.
In her past role as Senior Program Coordinator at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, she ran a Civic Leadership Program which sought to help Black and racialized youth to understand their place in working inside and outside of institutions to affect structural change.
Sam Tsemberis, Ph.D.
Los Angeles, California
Sam Tsemberis, clinical-community psychologist originated the “Housing First” model based on the belief that housing is a basic human right. Currently serves as CEO of the Pathways Housing First Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, UCLA Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Tsemberis works with programs addressing homelessness for people with health and mental health challenges in the US, Canada, EU, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Conducts research and published articles and books on these topics and his contributions recognized by American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and the Lieutenant Governor of Canada.
Income inequality and health
November 3, 1:00 p.m.- 2:30p.m. EST
How is income inequality linked to poor health? What is the connection between a universal basic income and good health? How is good food linked to equity and social change? In this panel, experts will share their perspective on the current state of income inequality as well as potential solutions and ideas to advance health equity.
Evelyn L. Forget
Evelyn L Forget is Professor of Economics and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg (Canada). Her research examines the health and social implications of poverty and inequality, and she is often called upon by governments, First Nations and international organisations to advise on poverty, inequality, health and social outcomes.
Evelyn was first introduced to the idea of Basic Income as a student studying economics many years ago in Toronto, and she recognized that a guaranteed income delivered with dignity would have made a tremendous difference in her own life and the lives of her friends and neighbours when their families faced difficult times. Years later, as a health economist, she witnessed how our hospitals and the health system generally were affected by the poverty in our communities. She went in search of data from a Canadian experiment conducted in the 1970s that guaranteed families a basic income, and began to work towards economic security for all Canadians. Her most recent book is Basic Income for Canadians: from the COVID-19 emergency to financial security for all.
Dr. Ichiro Kawachi
Ichiro Kawachi received his medical degree and Ph.D. (in epidemiology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1992.
Kawachi is the co-editor (with Lisa Berkman) of the first textbook on Social Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press in 2000 (new & revised edition published in 2014). His other books include Behavioral Economics and Public Health (co-edited with Christina Roberto, Oxford University Press, 2015), Neighborhoods and Health (2nd edition, Oxford University Press, co-edited with Dustin Duncan 2018) and The Social Epidemiology of Sleep (Oxford University Press, co-edited with Dustin Duncan & Susan Redline, forthcoming 2019).
Kawachi is the Co-Editor in Chief (with S.V. Subramanian) of the international journal Social Science & Medicine (2021 Impact Factor 4.63). He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Medicine, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Nick Saul is co-founder and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada, a national organization that builds and supports vibrant, food-focused community centres in low-income neighbourhoods across the country. These centres are based on the idea that good food is a basic human right and a powerful force for greater health, belonging and justice. Nick is a member of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the prestigious Jane Jacobs Prize, as well as the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and has an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University. Nick is also the Chancellor of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
Born in Tanzania and raised in Canada, Nick studied at University of Toronto (Vic) and Warwick University in the UK as a Commonwealth Scholar. His bestselling book, The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement, written with his wife, Andrea Curtis, was nominated for the Toronto Book Award and won several other awards. It is published in Canada, the US and U.K. Nick lives in Toronto and is the proud father of two boys.
Climate change and health
November 10, 1:00 p.m.- 2:30p.m. EST
Climate change is recognized as one of the most significant public health threats of this century. Social determinants of health influence the way communities experience climate change. How does climate change exacerbate health disparities? In this panel, experts will examine the interconnectedness of health and climate, links between homelessness and climate change and unpack climate resilience.
Dr. Courtney Howard
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Dr. Courtney Howard is an Emergency Physician in Yellowknife, in Canada’s subarctic, and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary.
Working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières on a children’s malnutrition project in Djibouti, she learned that one of the devastating forecasts of climate change is malnutrition. After returning to Canada’s North she heard her mostly Indigenous patients relate how the rapidly-changing landscape was wreaking havoc on their wellbeing. She is now a globally-recognized expert on the impacts of climate change on health, and in the broader emerging field of planetary health.
Her work has spurred an increasing recognition of the need for systemic and political action on climate and health, for the health of our country, our planet, or economy, ourselves, and our children.
Dr. Sean Kidd
Sean Kidd is a Clinical Psychologist, Senior Scientist, and the Division Chief of Psychology at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an Associate Professor in the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry. The focus of his career has been upon developing and trialing interventions for individuals with severe mental illnesses and youth who have experienced homelessness.
Dr. Kidd’s intervention research has included the study of models of peer support, cognitive interventions for schizophrenia, complex interventions for homeless youth, and mobile health strategies for psychosis. He has also developed a global network that is looking at the implications of climate change for populations experiencing homelessness.