Act now to end this grief, pain, anger and sadness

If you have not done so already, be sure to read Selma Tobah’s column in the London Free Press:

Canadian Muslims are tired. We’re tired of violence against us not being taken seriously. We’re tired of online hatred spewed without consequence. We’re tired of constantly having to reassure our children the future will be better when we ourselves remain unsure. It’s time for serious steps to be taken, to collectively work toward the day when this grief all becomes unfamiliar.

Read the full article at

Also published by the London Free Press:

Leadership Succession at CRHESI

On July 1, 2021, the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion welcomes incoming Academic Director, Nadine Wathen. Nadine is a Full Professor and Canada Research Chair in Mobilizing Knowledge on Gender-Based Violence in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University. She is cross-appointed in Western’s Faculties of Information & Media Studies (FIMS), and Education, is a Research Scholar at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, and is a Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

Nadine joins Heather Lokko (Community Director) in providing leadership, vision and oversight for the centre. Together, Heather and Nadine work with an executive team of academics and community partners to further research efforts that bring communities together to collaboratively identify, research, understand, and address ‘wicked problems’ that prevent access to justice, health, and belonging for all people.

I’m honoured and excited to work with Heather, and CRHESI’s steering committee, staff and membership, to continue to advance the Centre’s role as a catalyst for research, action and change in London and beyond.

Nadine Wathen, Incoming Academic Director

At the same time, we celebrate and congratulate Helene Berman, outgoing Academic Director and CRHESI founder, on a job well done and on the occasion of her well earned retirement! Helene has served as CRHESI’s inaugural Academic Co-Director since the centre’s launch in November 2015, having inspired and initiated the vision and planning for the centre two years prior. Helene is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and a recipient of the prestigious Excellence in Research Award of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International. Helene received the Distinguished University Professorship Award in 2018, Western’s highest honour recognizing sustained excellence in scholarship over a substantial career at the university.

It has been my honour and privilege to serve as the founding Academic Director of the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI) since our beginnings in 2015. While we have accomplished a lot, there is so much more to do. And I’m so pleased that my friend and colleague, Nadine Wathen, along with Community Director Heather Lokko, will lead the way. Our successes were only possible because I’ve had the most wonderful friends and colleagues with whom to work, within & beyond the university.

Helene Berman, Outgoing Academic Director

Helene’s inspiration and vision for CRHESI – and her tireless commitment to its goals – have had a clear and positive impact on our university, our community, and beyond.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from Helene!  All of us in CRHESI wish her the very best in her retirement.  At the same time, we extend a warm and enthusiastic welcome to Nadine as the new Academic Director, and look forward to the many contributions we know she will make through her leadership, expertise, and collaborative and authentic approach.

Heather Lokko, Community Director

CRHESI stands with Muslim community

Like so many others in London and across Canada, we are deeply saddened by the horrific act of hatred, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia that took place in our community. We know that words sometimes seem so inadequate – and ultimately they are. We need action. And we need to grieve. We send love and condolences to the friends, families, and neighbours of the beautiful family who were killed while taking an evening stroll. We are profoundly sorry. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and reiterate our commitment to working to end existing hatred and violence. In the words of CRHESI Executive Committee member, Javeed Sukhera, “I ask of you all, please, never, ever, look away from the hatred that lives within our midst. Do not give it oxygen. Starve it with love. Suffocate it with compassion.”

A crowdfunding campaign to the support the lone surviving family member is underway on LaunchGood.

Book Release: Poverty, Mental Health, and Social Inclusion

You are invited to the virtual book release of Poverty, Mental Health, and Social Inclusion, edited by Cheryl Forchuk and Rick Csiernik. The event will be held on Zoom and Facebook Live on June 2, 2021 at 10:00 AM.

With input from over 35 community partners and people with lived experience, the hope is to engender community-based initiatives to counteract poverty and promote social inclusion.

Registration and further details available at

CRHESI Launches New Grant Streams

CRHESI is excited to support new research collaborations and initiatives in our community through two funding streams:

Planning/Development Seed Grant: Support for emerging or established teams of academic and community partners in planning, developing and/or carrying out the initial stages of collaborative research.

Putting Knowledge Into Action – Pilot Grant: Closing the gap between knowledge and practice, by facilitating productive exchanges among community-based and academic partners.

Applications for the first round of funding are due September 15, 2021.

Both grants are made possible through the generous support of the Arthur Labatt Family.