What sparked your interest in working in the HIV or hepatitis C community?
Throughout nearly two decades of work with social justice issues and organizations, there have been strands of HIV and hepatitis C advocacy woven through my experience both personally and professionally. I had a basic understanding of some of the ongoing challenges faced in the Canadian context, and internationally, and combining that with work and volunteer experience in healthcare, I recognized the continued inequalities and barriers to care.
What kind of impact do you hope your work has on the “real world”?
I think that for anyone who works in areas of advocacy and research, collectively we can only hope that the work we do makes the lives of people in our communities better. That might be supporting community-based organizations to provide services at a local level, or advocating for policy change at a provincial or federal level… and everything in between.
What are you looking forward to in your work over the next year?
Over the next year I will be working with the Research team in the final stages of the Making it Work project including building out a plan for concluding data collection and analysis and then focusing on knowledge mobilization pieces. I am excited to work with the team to conclude the project in a good way and share our findings with our partners and the community.
How do you engage the community in your work?
One of the things about PAN that really attracted me most to the work here is the focus on involving the community at absolutely every level of this organization. In every project and working group that we can, the voices and work of peers are weaved throughout. I have always been a very strong advocate of patient-centered care models in healthcare, and those same principles hold true for research as well.
If you were able to choose, what is the natural talent or superpower you’d like to be gifted with and why?
If I were gifted with a superpower, I would want it to be the ability to expel peace to those around me. There are so many things happening in the world right now and so much hardship, the feeling of calm and inner peace truly is a gift.