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Kaiser Foundation Recognize 2008 National Awards for Excellence Winners at Calgary Event

by NationTalk on April 26, 20081888 Views

CALGARY, April 25 – The Kaiser Foundation has honoured seven outstanding Canadians and organizations selected for this year’s National Awards for Excellence (NAE) in the fields of mental health and addictions. Held last night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Calgary, the 3rd annual NAE event recognized the outstanding work undertaken by organizations, communities and individuals from across Canada in reducing the physical and mental harms associated with substance use and mental health issues.

“The support from Albertans and the citizens of Calgary for these awards was truly overwhelming,” said Edgar Kaiser, Chairman of the Kaiser Foundation. “The presence of Lieutenant-Governor the Honourable Norman Kwong, Mayor Dave Bronconnier of Calgary, government and civic leaders at the dinner, honoured not only the winners but the more than 100 mental health and addiction workers present at the event.”

Nominated by their peers, winners were selected by an independent National Secretariat and National Advisory Board, based on demonstrated results, leadership, new ideas, research and education. Each award recipient received a $10,000 grant directed to a recognized charity of their choosing.

The seven award categories and 2008 recipients are:

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Initiated in 2006 by The Kaiser Foundation, in partnership with a growing roster of governments, foundations, corporate and private national partners across the country, the National Awards for Excellence highlight the tireless efforts of field leaders promoting healthier lifestyles and raises awareness of drug/alcohol abuse and mental health issues and their impact on our society.

The annual National Awards for Excellence event is hosted in a different city in the spring of each year, to ensure recognition, across the country, of the individuals and organizations working in the fields of substance use and mental health. The 2009 National Awards for Excellence will be held in Montreal on May 20 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

About the Kaiser Foundation: Founded in 1985 by Edgar F. Kaiser Jr., OBC, LLD (Hon.) Chairman, Kaiser Foundation, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Resources Ltd. The Kaiser Foundation is a registered charitable organization dedicated to helping individuals and communities live healthier and more productive lives by reducing the physical and mental harm associated with substance abuse. The Kaiser Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors representing a wide spectrum of the community, with each Director bringing unique talents to the organization.

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2008 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE WINNERS:

EXCELLENCE IN ABORIGINAL PROGRAMMING: PETER MACDONALD, PRINCIPAL, EEL GROUND FIRST NATION SCHOOL DRAMA CLUB, EEL GROUND, NB

The Eel Ground First Nation School drama club program uses an innovative approach to the arts to teach students life and coping skills through drama, music and other forms of media. The program helps students connect to their culture and has inspired students to deal directly with issues common to first nation communities, such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) and teen stress and suicide. Movie versions of the students’ plays have been shown across Canada, inspiring students from other communities to follow the lead of Eel Ground School.

EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY PROGRAMMING: MARIO GAGNON, GENERAL DIRECTOR POINT DE REPERES, VILLE DE QUEBEC, QUEBEC

Point de Repères (PdR) is a health service conducted through needle exchange and related initiatives aimed at prevention of harms, especially blood-borne and sexually-transmitted infections, among intravenous drug users in Quebec City. It attempts to bring together mobilized users, concerned researchers and sensitized community stakeholders in a concerted endeavour to intervene effectively against the hazards associated with intravenous use.

EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP: DR. RONALD ABRAHAMS, FAMILY PHYSICIAN AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR – PRIVATE PRACTICE, SHEWAY, FIR SQUARE COMBINED CARE UNIT, VANCOUVER NATIVE HEALTH – VANCOUVER, BC

One of Canada’s pioneers in harm reduction, Dr. Ron Abrahams has been applying the harm reduction model of care to substance-using pregnant women since 1984, notably in community settings such as Sheway, a Vancouver pre- and post-natal program for women who have current or previous issues with substance use, and the Vancouver Native Health Clinic. He has consistently modeled a non-judgmental approach to care. In 2004, his leadership as Medical Director of the Fir Square Combined Care Unit at BC Women’s Hospital was recognized by Canadian accreditation as a Best Practice area.

EXCELLENCE IN MEDIA REPORTING: PETER MCKNIGHT, REPORTER, THE VANCOUVER SUN, VANCOUVER, BC

For years, Peter McKnight has been a voice for evidence-based discussion on issues largely misunderstood by the public, giving a voice to those who live with addiction or its effects. He has clearly demonstrated a grasp of complex substance-related issues and has been able to present them, in their complexity, to mainstream readers, combining evidence with its application (or often the lack of application to policy or public debate) on a range of relevant social determinants. He consistently writes from a range of perspectives, providing a context which enables readers to gain a more comprehensive understanding of relevant issues.

EXCELLENCE IN MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMMING: LYNDA KENNEDY, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, AND NANCY MCLEAN, PROGRAM MANAGER, MPA BERMAN HOUSE (MOTIVATION, POWER AND ACHIEVEMENT SOCIETY), VANCOUVER, BC

MPA Berman House is a program featuring personalized, high-adventure therapy for men with concurrent mental health concerns. This one-year residency program is unique in that it serves men typically viewed as hard to house, those with severe mental health and substance use problems who are not accepted elsewhere. The program has an extremely high completion rate, with 100% positive response from participants. Staff have demonstrated skill in assessment, motivation techniques and client care. Their success in helping so many clients is testimony to their skills.

EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC POLICY: DR. ERIC SINGLE, ADJUNCT PROF. OF PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCES AND PROF. OF SOCIOLOGY (JOINT APPT.), UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO; SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR EMERITUS, CCSA, TORONTO, ON

Since the 1970s, Dr. Eric Single has played an increasingly central role in the conceptualization and assessment of substance use problems and their burden on society. His conceptual models have helped shaped the contemporary framework in addiction, while his broad perspective has set the context for action-oriented policies and practices such as server intervention programming and inclusive programming for people who do not or cannot reduce or stop drug use. His insistence on establishing the evidence base for innovative practices has led to their greater acceptance in Canada and beyond and has contributed to their development and expansion.

EXCELLENCE IN YOUTH LEADERSHIP: DANIEL MCKENNITT, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR ABORIGINAL HEALTH GROUP, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, EDMONTON, AB

Daniel McKennitt was born in the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba and grew up in Edmonton. Witnessing the devastating effects of problem alcohol and drug use in Aboriginal communities, he entered medical school, determined to help his people. While a medical student at the University of Alberta, he created the university-based Aboriginal Health Group by recruiting other Aboriginal health students from fields of Nursing, Pharmacy and Rehab. He also spearheaded a project involving cultural use of tobacco among Aboriginal youth, raising awareness about traditional uses of tobacco while exposing high smoking rates among Aboriginal youth, and introducing Western smoking prevention tools.

KAISER FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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For further information: and to coordinate media interviews: Paul Sullivan, Sullivan Media, Tel: (604) 561-7516, Email: psulli@sullivanmedia.com; Judy McGuire, Director of Communications and Research, Kaiser Foundation, Tel: (604) 926-9767, Email: communications@kaiserfoundation.ca

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