Louise Pitre on Coffee, Leadership, and Power

Louise Pitre, the Executive Director for Family Service Thames Valley, and member of the Governance Board for the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion, was recently profiled in the London Free Press.

Coming Out Over Coffee, a program of Family Service Thames Valley, is a growing and successful initiative. The program gives clients a safe and confidential place to discuss issues related to sexual orientation. But despite its success, Pitre does not want to take the credit for what the program has accomplished. As she tells the London Free Press, leadership means relinquishing power and decision-making to people who have the perspective, experience, and knowledge to create something new.

Coming Out Over Coffee has been nominated for a Pillar Community Award, in the community-impact category.


London Delves into the Political Correctness Debate

The Wolf Hall Debates series (presented by the London Public Library, Urban League of London, London Community Foundation, and London Arts Council) is hosting an Oxford-style debate on Monday, October 17, 2016 (7:00pm – 9:00pm). The motion: ‘Be it resolved that political correctness has gone too far.’

The civic discourse on the concept of political correctness is particularly interesting from an equity and social inclusion lens:

In the shadow of the global refugee crisis, Islamophobia, #BlackLivesMatter, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Report, and the rhetoric of the American presidential election (19 days later), four debaters and three respondents take the stage to discuss an inescapable theme of our time: political correctness. Has it gone too far? Or do we need more of it? Does ‘correcting our politics’ actually change how we think and act as a society? In the end, does political correctness change the way we treat one another… for better or for worse? (Quoted from Wolf Hall Debates)

Political correctness drives us to examine fundamental questions about the way people in society frame the identity of ‘the other.’ At a broad social level, it is increasingly becoming difficult to talk about systemic marginalization and stigmatization without accounting for the rhetoric of political correctness. Furthermore, political correctness also has obvious and interesting implications for the academic/research sector.

Everyone interested in ‘taking the pulse’ of how our community is thinking about these big questions is encouraged to attend.

The debaters at this event are Ali Chahbar, Susan Toth, Mojdeh Cox, and Jeff Preston. Respondents include Tim Blackmore (Western University), Frankie Condon (University of Waterloo), and Sheri Doxtator (Oneida Nation of the Thames Settlement). The debate is convened and hosted by James Shelley.

Learn more and sign up if you are interested in attending. (Free. General Admission.)

Reflections from London’s Community Forum on Racism

On September 17, members of the London community gathered to discuss the issue of racism in the city.

Several members of the CRHESI community were present. James Shelley, CRHESI Co-Coordinator, shares some of his reflections on the event in a recent blog post, ‘When Inclusivity is Exclusionary.’ The post gathers together some points from the discussion (both live and on Twitter) and ponders how the language of inclusion is inherently related to power and privilege.

Mayor Matt Brown also issued a statement after the event. ‘We will devise an action plan to work with our community to combat racism in London. It is important for us to address this as it is, an anti-racism strategy,’ he said.

In other developments, London’s Diversity and Race Relations Advisory Committee (LDRRAC), organizers of the September 17 forum, received approval from City Council to change their name to the Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Oppression Advisory Committee (DIAAC).

Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate is holding a public community meeting in London sometime in October.

Stay tuned for further material, follow-up, and video related to the September 17 forum over the coming weeks.

Abe Oudshoorn Named Western’s 2016 Humanitarian of the Year

Abe Oudshoorn, member of the CRHESI Steering Committee, has been announced as the recipient of the 2016 Western Humanitarian Award.

Abe Oudshoorn is Assistant Professor in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University, the Department of Psychiatry Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and Associate Scientist with Lawson Health Research Institute. Having worked as a nurse with people experiencing homelessness, Abe’s research focuses on health, homelessness, housing policy, and poverty. Outside of the University, Abe has the privilege of chairing the London Homeless Coalition, is a board member with the United Way of London & Middlesex, and sat on the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Poverty.

Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West, stood to acknowledge Abe’s achievement in Provincial Parliament.

On behalf of all of us at CRHESI, a big congratulations to Abe for all your hard work and dedication to our community.

Meet CRHESI: Marlene Janzen Le Ber

Marlene Janzen Le Ber is Assistant Professor, Leadership at Brescia University College and Adjunct Research Professor at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Western University. Her PhD in Business Administration – Strategy followed a MScN, a career in mental health and public health nursing, and over 20 years in hospital and health research administration.

Marlene’s research focuses on the complex processes of leadership in social innovation at both the micro/individual level and at the more macro/organizational/systems level. The two ongoing projects at the individual level are: “Women’s Leader Identity Development” and “Organizational Culture and Leadership: Exploring the Practice of Leadership in a Women’s Circle.” Two additional projects, “From Intractable to Tractable: Transdisciplinary Processes of Innovation” and “Develop and Test Indicators of Ontario Local Public Health Agency Work to Address the Social Determinants of Health to Reduce Health Inequities” are at the organizational/systems level, with a focus on how social systems change. More specifically, Marlene focuses on the processes of social innovation that address issues of social (in)justice and equality for vulnerable, disenfranchised and marginalized populations.