Exploring the Intersection of Mindfulness and HIV Risks: Insights from Dr. Roula Hawa

We are delighted to share a recent article shedding light on an intriguing intersection: mindfulness and HIV risks. Dr. Roula Hawa, Executive Member of CRHESI, contributed to this thought-provoking piece, offering insights that could shape our understanding and interventions in public health.

Published on Western University’s news platform, the article delves into the potential role of mindfulness practices in addressing HIV risks, particularly among vulnerable populations. Dr. Hawa’s expertise in this area enriches the discourse, highlighting the importance of holistic approaches in health promotion and risk reduction strategies.

In addition to her insightful contributions, Dr. Hawa is currently leading a pivotal study titled “Promoting Mental Health and Reducing HIV Risk Behaviours through Self-compassion, Mindful Acceptance & Resilience Transformation (SMART).” This pilot study focuses on the diaspora MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) gay, bisexual, and trans youth in Ontario.

The SMART study is part of the broader Youth Sexual Health and Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Sexually Transmitted Infections (HIV/STI) Prevention in Middle Eastern and North African Communities (YSMENA) initiative. This mindfulness-based intervention aims to enhance mental health, self-compassion, psychological resilience, and collective empowerment among participants. For more information, you can contact the Research Coordinator at ysmenastudy@gmail.com.

To read the full article and delve into the discussion, visit the link below:

Read the Article

We extend our gratitude to Dr. Roula Hawa for her contributions to this vital conversation and look forward to further collaborations in advancing health equity.

From Genetic Code to Postal Code: Addressing the complexity of pain care in Canada

Dr. Bosma is the Director of the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain and is an Assistant Professor of Pain and Neuroscience in the Faculty of Dentistry. Her research program is embedded within the Toronto Academic Pain Medicine Institute at Women’s College Hospital where she is the Research Lead for the program. Dr. Bosma is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Pain Ontario, serves on the executive for the Ontario Chronic Pain Network, and is a principle investigator for the SPOR Chronic Pain Network.

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If you have any questions about this event, please email us at win@uwo.ca or visit our website.

Addressing Homelessness Stigma: Finding Ways to Help Individuals to Thrive Following Homelessness

Dr. Carrie Marshall stands at the forefront of a critical mission: supporting the well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness. With a deeply rooted passion for social justice and human rights, Carrie’s journey into this field began during her studies in Occupational Therapy, where she encountered a glaring gap in the support systems for those transitioning out of homelessness. Motivated by a desire to make a tangible difference, she embarked on a mission to understand and address the multifaceted challenges faced by this group of people.

Reflecting on her journey, Carrie says, “I started in my PhD working on helping to identify how to support people to transition to housing following homelessness. What we know is that when people are housed following homelessness, their psychosocial well-being isn’t necessarily improved…I realized that when people get a home after being homeless, they still often feel lonely or like they don’t fit in.” This realization served as a catalyst for her research, driving her to explore innovative solutions to enhance the lives of people who have experienced homelessness.

Carrie’s groundbreaking work led to the development of the Peer-to-Community model, a holistic initiative that combines peer support and occupational therapy to facilitate the integration of individuals into their communities following homelessness. Rooted in the principles of empowerment and community building, this model has shown promising results in helping participants rebuild social networks and regain a sense of belonging.

“I believe that community integration is essential for individuals transitioning out of homelessness,” Carrie asserts. “The Peer-to-Community model provides a supportive framework for individuals to reconnect with their communities and rebuild their lives with dignity and respect.”

Beyond her research endeavors, Carrie is committed to countering the stigma surrounding homelessness—a pervasive issue that often exacerbates the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness. Recognizing the power of education and awareness, she launched the “At Least Five Ways” initiative—an innovative campaign aimed at empowering youth and young adults to challenge stereotypes and foster empathy through creative expression.

Explaining the inspiration behind the campaign, she says, “One thing that holds people back from integrating into their communities following homelessness is the stigma associated with having experienced homelessness. By empowering young people to engage in dialogue and raise awareness, we hope to spark meaningful change in societal perceptions.”

The “At Least Five Ways” initiative invites participants to create animated videos highlighting innovative approaches to reducing stigma and promoting understanding. Through these videos, participants share personal experiences, challenge stereotypes, and offer practical solutions to address homelessness stigma. By fostering empathy and understanding, Dr. Marshall believes that we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for people rebuilding their lives after experiencing homelessness.

As Carrie continues her research and advocacy efforts, her commitment remains steadfast. With every project, she strives to make a meaningful impact and advocate for the rights and dignity of individuals experiencing homelessness. Through collaboration, education, and empathy, she believes that we can create a more just and inclusive society for all. Dr. Carrie Marshall’s work serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring positive change and paving the way for a brighter future for generations to come.

Here are some papers directly related to this work:

Marshall, C.A., Holmes, J., Todd, E., Panter, G., *Plett, P., *Easton, C., *Perez, S., Landry, T., Collins, S., Jastak, M., Murray, R., *Goldszmidt, R., Rudman, D., Carlsson, A., Oudshoorn, A. & Forchuk, C. (2024). Co-designing the “Peer to Community (P2C) Model”: an intervention for promoting community integration following homelessness. International Journal on Homelessness. In press.

Marshall, C., *Cooke, A., *Bengall, J., Holmes, J., Aryobi, S., Phillips, B., Lysaght, R. & Gewurtz, R. (2024). “It’s like your days are empty and yet there’s life all around”: A mixed methods, multi-site study exploring boredom during and following homelessness. PLOS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0302900

Marshall, C., Phillips, B., Holmes, J., Todd, E., Hill, R., Panter, G., *Easton, C., Landry, T., Collins, S., Greening, T., O’Brien, A., Jastak, M., Ridge, R., *Goldszmidt, R., *Shanoff, C., Laliberte Rudman, D., Carlsson, A., Aryobi, S., *Szlapinski, J., *Carrillo-Beck, R., *Pacheco, N., *Perez, S., Oudshoorn, A. (2023). “I can’t remember the last time I was comfortable about being home”: lived experience perspectives on thriving following homelessness. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 18(1), 2176979. https://doi.org/10.1080/17482631.2023.2176979. [Contribution: 75%; IFR 2.179; Citations: 0]

Marshall, C., *Easton, C., Phillips, B., Boland, L., Isard, R., Holmes, J., *Shanoff, C., *Hawksley, K., Landry, T., *Goldszmidt, R., Aryobi, S., *Plett, P. & Oudshoorn, A. (2022). Experiences of transitioning from homelessness: A systematic review and meta-aggregation of qualitative studies conducted in middle to high income countries. Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness. Online ahead of print. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/10530789.2022.2141868.

Marshall, C.A., Phillips, B., Holmes, J., Todd, E., Hill, R., Panter, G., *Easton, C., Landry, T., Collins, S., Greening, T., O’Brien, A., Jastak, M., Ridge, R., *Goldszmidt, R., *Shanoff, C., Laliberte Rudman, D., Carlsson, A., Aryobi, S., *Perez, S. & Oudshoorn, A. (2022). ‘We stick people in a house and say okay, you’re housed. The problem is solved’: A qualitative study of service provider and organisational leader perspectives on thriving following homelessness. Health & Social Care in the Community. Online ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.14035

Marshall, C., Boland, L., Westover, L., Marcellus, B., Weil, S. & Wickett, S. (2020). Interventions to address community integration in homeless persons: A systematic review. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26(8), 1843-1862. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13030

Ontario Investing in More Accessible Communities

Applications now open for the 2024-25 EnAbling Change Program

The Ontario government is investing up to $1.5 million in the EnAbling Change Program this year to support not-for-profits, municipalities, and other organizations across the province that are developing and implementing innovative initiatives to make Ontario accessible to people of all abilities.

“By working together with businesses, organizations and communities, we can build a stronger and more accessible Ontario,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “The EnAbling Change Program allows organizations to develop tailored supports to ensure Ontario is open and inclusive to everyone.”

Applications for the 2024-25 EnAbling Change Program are open now until June 27, 2024. Eligible projects can include those that increase the accessibility of community programs and services, as well as online initiatives, educational tools, and public outreach programs that help communities and businesses understand the benefits of accessibility and inclusion.

Examples of projects currently funded through the 2023-24 program include:

  • BioTalent Canada is receiving approximately $150,000 to promote equitable employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • The Geneva Centre for Autism is receiving approximately $112,500 to create The Inclusive Education Resource Hub to support better outcomes and experiences for neurodiverse students in publicly funded education.
  • The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum is receiving approximately $100,000 to develop a guide for employers on recruiting and retaining apprentices with disabilities in the skilled trades.
  • Toronto Metropolitan University is receiving approximately $150,000 to develop, pilot and disseminate a curriculum called The Enabling Accessible Healthcare Delivery project, which aims to foster accessible and sensitive health care for disabled people.

The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility’s Age-friendly and accessibility grants web page has information on how to apply for the 2024-25 EnAbling Change Program.

Quick Facts

  • The EnAbling Change Program started in 1999 and has supported more than 230 projects across Ontario. It provides funding to municipalities, not-for-profit, industry and professional associations across a range of sectors.

Additional Resources

Breaking the Stigma: Join the “At Least Five Ways” Campaign

Are you ready to make a difference in combating the stigma of homelessness? Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in collaboration with Dr. Carrie Anne Marshall from Western University, is launching an exciting initiative called the “At Least Five Ways” campaign. This campaign aims to engage youth and young adults across Ontario in generating ideas to reduce the stigma associated with homelessness.

What’s the Campaign About?

Funded by the Ministry of Ontario Colleges and Universities, this initiative focuses on raising awareness and fostering discussions about homelessness in Canada. Dr. Carrie Anne Marshall’s research project at Western University, called the “Peer to Community (P2C)” model, is at the heart of this campaign. The P2C model aims to help individuals integrate into their communities after experiencing homelessness.

The “At Least Five Ways” Campaign: How Does It Work?

Every May, youth and young adults aged 16-30 in Ontario are invited to submit videos of 2-5 minutes in length. These videos should propose “At Least Five Ways” to reduce the stigma of homelessness in Canadian communities. Submissions can be made by individuals or teams.

Participating in the Campaign: What You Need to Know

  • Eligibility: Youth and young adults aged 16-30 residing in Ontario are eligible to submit videos. Both individuals and teams can participate.
  • Video Content: To protect privacy, only animated videos are accepted. Videos should not contain personal information that could compromise individuals’ safety.
  • Submission Deadline: Videos must be submitted by May 31st, 2024.
  • Video Creation Tools: Several free programs are available for creating animated videos, including Canva, Adobe Express, Powtoon, Moovly, and Renderforest.

Recognition and Awards

The winning video will be featured on the P2C website and social media pages. The individual or team behind the winning video will receive a $200 award and a certificate recognizing their contribution to reducing homelessness stigma in our communities.

How to Submit Your Video

When your video is ready, use the following link to submit: Submit Your Video Here

Campaign Timeline

The submitted videos will be circulated on social media and the P2C website throughout June 2024.

Join the Movement!

Let’s work together to break the stigma of homelessness. Your creative ideas can make a real difference. Get your videos ready, submit them by May 31st, and let’s spread awareness and compassion throughout our communities!

Learn More

Visit the campaign website to learn more: At Least Five Ways Campaign

For any questions, feel free to contact at: AtLeastFiveWays@peer2community.ca

Let’s make change happen!