Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Jessica Ball is a professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, Canada, specializing in early childhood survival, health, development, and education. She is a third generation Irish-English Canadian. She has had the privilege of growing up and raising her family on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish People.
Dr. Ball received her M.A. in developmental psychology, Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and M.P.H. in international health from the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught at universities in North America and Asia. Dr. Ball spent 12 years, from 1984 to 1996, in Southeast Asia, working with community service agencies and government ministries on research and programs involving mental health, youth health behaviours, and all levels of education from post-graduate to preschool. From 1998-2007, Dr. Ball was the Coordinator of an innovative, bicultural, post-secondary education program to strengthen Indigenous capacity to design and deliver culturally based early childhood care and development programs (www.fnpp.org). In 2002, Dr. Ball became a founding faculty member in the Early Childhood Development Virtual University initiative, in which she created and taught graduate courses in ECCD in Africa and the Middle East.
Dr. Ball is the principal investigator of an interdisciplinary program of research on the cultural nature of child and family development (www.ecdip.org), focusing on First Nations children in Canada and other Indigenous children globally. Most of her projects involve community-university research partnerships. Recent research addresses First Nations and Métis fathers’ involvement, Indigenous children’s health, early language development, evaluation of quality child care and child development outcomes, early screening and intervention, and Indigenous child care capacity building in rural and remote communities. Dr. Ball is an advisor to several international organizations promoting Indigenous and minority children’s right to early education in their mother tongue. She has done research and development projects for the Open Society Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, and UNESCO. Dr. Ball is the author or co-author of over 100 journal articles and book chapters and three books.
Recent publications and presentations include:
A chapter with Cree-Métis scholar Dr. Kim Anderson: Foundations: First Nation and Métis Families. In D. Long & O. P. Dickason (Eds.). Visions of the heart: Canadian Aboriginal issues (3rd Ed). (pp. 55-89). Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.
A co-presentation with Da'naxda'xw scholar Pauline Janyst: “Culturally-based, community-operated, multi-service hubs for Indigenous children and families.” 4th International meeting on Indigenous Child Health, Vancouver, March 5, 2011.
A co-presentation with Anishinaabe scholar Sharla Peltier: Cultural safety in health and ancillary clinical services for Indigenous children. 4th International meeting on Indigenous Child Health, Vancouver. March 6, 2011.
Keynote Address: Hooks, Hubs, Lifelines: Creating Connections for Child and Family Wellness
Description: There is a fundamental need for social connections in order to optimize the multiple determinants of health and wellness. The social determinants of health model that guides many of our programs for children and families in Canada points to the importance of social accessibility, social capital, cultural safety, and sustained social support in promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing problems, mitigating risks, and delivering health interventions. Some Canadian families are isolated because of living in geographical hinterlands. But there are also many children and families living in Canada’s social hinterlands - even in the context of urban dwelling - as a result of poverty, ethnic discrimination, language barriers, physical or psychological disability, developmental delay, or other conditions. Who are the children, youth and families in our program catchment areas who are affected by geographic or social isolation, and what impact is their isolation having on their opportunities to thrive mentally, physically, or developmentally?
What are the benefits and some steps to creating and sustaining the kinds of connections between these children and families and the supports they need to achieve and sustain wellness? This presentation explores these challenges and approaches. Examples of programs that have effectively reeled isolated children and families into centres of care, and reeled isolated professionals or programs into coordinated or integrated services, are described. Innovations that can break the ‘place’ barrier to include virtual spaces of connection are considered. ‘Hub’ program models that emphasize outreach and community-based, community-paced programs can enhance access to culturally safe communities of social support and multi-sectoral services that are lifelines for children and families.
- Identify various forms of social isolation that create barriers to social determinants of health for particular populations of children and families.
- Describe how social isolation appears to be contributing to particular kinds of negative health or development outcomes of children and families.
- Describe a promising approach to increasing social connections that can provide a hook or bridge to social support and access to needed services for children and families.
- Articulate key principles that can guide creating and sustaining socially supportive, culturally safe spaces where children and families can become aware of and learn how to access and effectively use health promoting resources.
Cindy Blackstock, PhD - Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada www.fncaringsociety.com and Associate Professor, University of Alberta
A member of the Gitksan Nation, Cindy Blackstock has worked in the field of child and family services for over 20 years. An author of over 50 publications, her key interests include exploring and addressing the causes of disadvantage for Aboriginal children and families by promoting equitable and culturally based interventions.
Current professional affiliations include holding fellowships with the Ashoka Foundation, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and the Trudeau Foundation.
- Identifying the key structural drivers of the over-representation of First Nations children among poor social, educational and health outcomes
- Exploring inequities in on reserve services for First Nations children and identifying available remedies.
Kathleen Cooper studied at the University of Toronto and has worked in environmental research positions for over twenty-eight years. She joined the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in 1987. As Senior Researcher at CELA, and a paralegal, she provides casework support to environmental litigation files and has directed several large law reform campaigns on the subjects of toxic substances, pesticides, land use planning, and hazards in consumer products. Kathleen has conducted extensive research into the effects of environmental contaminants on fetal and child health, including implications for later life chronic disease, and has also written extensively on the subject of environmental policy and human health. She chairs the steering committee of the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE), an innovative forum to facilitate collaboration among health, environment and child care professionals promoting children’s environmental health in Canada. She has authored or co-authored most of CPCHE’s publications and was the lead author on a detailed scoping review, published by CELA, the Ontario College of Family Physicians, and the Environmental Health Institute of Canada, addressing the evidence of associations between early life exposure to toxic substances/pollution and chronic disease.
Keynote Address: Early Life Exposure to Toxic Substances and Associations with Chronic Disease
Description: Children are known to be more vulnerable to toxic substances with the time in utero of particular importance. Likewise, solid evidence indicates a relationship between compromised fetal and perinatal nutrition and elevated risk of adult chronic disease. This 'developmental origins' concept is expanding rapidly to include environmental exposures. This talk will review the evidence for associations between early life exposure to toxic substances as part of the multiple risk factors for obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Policy implications will also be discussed.
- To understand the strength of evidence supporting the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease concept and underlying mechanisms.
- To summarize the concept and science of endocrine disruption and its relevance within the broader DOHaD concept.
- To place early environmental exposures within the broader range of risk factors for chronic disease.
Across all of the above, to focus on toxic substances suspected as being obesogenic or diabetogenic.
To describe policy implications of this evidence including fundamental challenges to how toxic substances are assessed for regulatory purposes.
Vincent J. Felitti, MD - Co-Principal Investigator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study
Vincent J. Felitti, MD, is co-Principal Investigator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study; the ongoing collaborative research between the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program and the Centers for Disease Control, USA. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Medical School (1962), Dr. Felitti is an internist who began his work in infectious disease at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego (1968) and founded the Department of Preventive Medicine in 1975, serving as Chief of Preventive Medicine until 2001.
Under Dr. Felitti’s leadership, the Department provided comprehensive, biopsychosocial medical evaluation to assess the health risks and disease burden of over one million individual adults. Major health-risk abatement programs were developed for obesity, smoking, and stress, as well as population-based screening for the genetic disease, Hemochromatosis. Dr. Felitti is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California and a Fellow of The American College of Physicians. He may be reached at VJFMDSDCA@mac.com.
Keynote Address: The Long-term Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences
Description: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is an in-depth, retrospective and prospective analysis of over 17,000 adult San Diego members of Kaiser Permanente, matching their current health status against 10 categories of adverse childhood experiences that occurred on average a half-century earlier. It was found that:
- Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are surprisingly common although typically concealed and unrecognized because of time, shame, secrecy, and social taboo.
- ACEs still exert a profound effect 50 years later, although now transformed from life experience into organic disease and mental illness.
- Adverse childhood experiences are the main determinant of the health and social well-being of the nation, as well as of adult medical care costs.
- Integrating these findings into primary care medical practice appears to produce a significant reduction in medical care costs, and is surprisingly resisted.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study has direct and important relevance to the practice of medicine and psychiatry, and to the field of social planning. The ACE Study challenges the conventional understanding of depression and addiction, showing these to have a powerful dose-response relationship to antecedent life experiences. Its findings indicate that much of what we recognize as abnormal in adult medicine and behaviour is the result of what occurred but was not recognized in childhood. These observations lead us to recognize that any attempt at comprehensive medical care must include as part of its history a routine and standardized exploration of adverse childhood experiences. In doing so, a new platform of information upon which to base all ongoing primary medical care is created, converting it from its current symptom-reactive approach to the inclusive biopsychosocial concept proposed by Dr. George Engel.
- Document the high prevalence of unrecognized adverse life experiences in childhood.
- Illustrate their profound effect on adult health and well-being, decades later.
- Discuss the significant Public Health Paradox wherein the conventional 'problem' represents an unconsciously chosen 'solution' by the individual.
Astrid Heppenstall Heger, M.D., FAAP - Executive Director, Violence Intervention Program at Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center and - Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Astrid Heppenstall Heger, M.D. is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the Executive Director of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) in Los Angeles. In 1984, Dr. Heger founded the Center for Vulnerable Children (CVC), the first medically-based child advocacy center in the world, which currently evaluates over 10,000 child abuse and child sexual assault victims each year. Now known as the Violence Intervention Program (VIP), the program provides interventions for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence as well as for victims of elder and dependent adult abuse. The VIP has become a “one-stop shop” community advocacy center, offering medical, mental health, protective, legal, and social services to victims of family violence and sexual assault. Dr. Heger implemented a “HUB” model program with services for children at risk for, or already in foster care.
The center incorporates 24/7 forensic and medical assessments with mental health services and support services including dental care, plastic surgery, mentoring and tutoring. Recently, the VIP has expanded, creating services for children and families impacted by violence. The VIP has also made room for an Elder Abuse Forensic Center and a first of its kind Forensic Urgent Care Center. In addition to her work providing medical and forensic interventions to victims of sexual violence, Dr. Heger serves as a consultant to the Los Angeles County Coroner in cases involving child death or sexual assault. Dr. Heger is an expert in the field of child abuse and assault, and has authored numerous articles in the field as well as authoring “Evaluation of the Sexually Abused Child”, now in its second edition. Dr. Heger has been featured in local and national print and electronic media including having served as a commentator on family and juvenile violence on CNN.
Dr. Heger has received over 20 awards and honours for her work with victims of abuse including the President’s highest award for victim advocacy. Dr. Heger continues to be a powerful advocate for the rights of children and families impacted by violence.
Keynote Address: Children at Risk: Building a Safety Net for Community Resources
Description: Are children our most important resource? This session will discuss this question. Included will be a discussion of how communities can use all available assets to build a system of prevention and intervention for families and children impacted by poverty, substance abuse, and violence.
Discuss realistic goals in building an integrated system of prevention, early identification, intervention and treatment for children who are living with or are at risk for abuse, neglect, substance abuse, and violence.
Explore the concept of prevention, particularly where prevention begins.
Question the resources that are needed to create such a system.
Examine the responsibilities of systems charged with the protection of children.
Discuss the concept of community responsibility.
Erica Phipps - Partnership Director
Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment (CPCHE)
Erica Phipps serves as Partnership Director for the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE), a multi-sectoral collaboration of organizations that are working together to protect children’s health from environmental exposures to toxic chemicals and pollutants. She has worked on environmental health and toxic issues for more than 15 years, including for the Montreal-based North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the United Nations, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and as an environmental health consultant for various clients including Health Canada and the World Health Organization. Erica has a masters’ degree in public health from the University of Michigan, where she specialized in environmental health and public policy.
Charlotte Greenall, CD
Charlotte has been working in the field of addictions since 2005 on completion of her addictions diploma from McMaster’s University. She started casual at Brief and Social Detox and Calder Centre. She currently works as an Outreach Worker at the West Side Community Clinic, where she coordinates two separate groups ~ a drop-in group, OASIS (Opportunity, Acceptance, Support, Invitation, Safe) with the motto “We Exist”, as well as an all female, closed group called Fire Within, “Finding our Voice”.
Charlotte is also an active Canadian Forces reservist and works part time for the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, educating provincial employers and educators on the benefits of supporting a reservist in the work place. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2009/2010 with the support of the Saskatoon Health Region in granting the time off.
Charlotte is an advocate for Mental Health and Addictions and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and has a wide variety of experience and knowledge in the field.
Brenda Ledding - Public Health Nurse, Building Health Equity Program, Saskatoon Health Region
Brenda Ledding has been dedicated to the field of prevention for her entire career. She has worked as a public health nurse in a variety of settings, including rural and urban, and is currently working in high risk neighbourhoods in Saskatoon. She is also a clinical instructor with the University of Saskatchewan.
Deborah Parker-Loewen, Ph.D
Deborah Parker-Loewen was raised in Moose Jaw and was strongly influenced in her growing up years by her parents, both psychiatric nurses and later managers at the Saskatchewan Training School. She was also an active Girl Guide and youth volunteer. Deb used to swim at the Moose Jaw Family YM/YWCA. Deb’s family moved to Regina when she was in high school and her mother became the founding Director of the Regina Developmental Centre. At that time, the Developmental Centre served several children who were diagnosed with autism. It was really serving as a volunteer with the children and their families at the Developmental Centre, combined with summer jobs at Camp Easter Seal and other camps for persons with disabilities that Deb began to form her views about the treatment of vulnerable children and other persons in our societ
Deb completed a Bachelor of Education degree in Special Education in 1976, followed in 1979 with a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology focused on counseling elementary school children. In 1986 Deb completed her Doctoral degree at the University of Calgary in the area of Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood.
Deb worked for many years with Saskatchewan Health. For ten years she was Early Childhood Psychologist with the Yorkton Public Health Office and had the opportunity to travel extensively in the health region working with vulnerable young children and their parents. During those years the early intervention program was established in the area and many parenting programs initiated. Deb then worked for over six years as the Director of Child and Youth Mental Health Services and the Discipline Head of Psychology for the Yorkton Mental Health Centre. Community development activities, including the development of prevention-oriented programs for children and youth were a major focus of her work. She was later promoted to become the Regional Executive Director of the Yorkton Mental Health Region, a position she held until she was appointed as Saskatchewan’s first Children’s Advocate in 1994.
Saskatchewan was the first province in Canada to appoint a Children’s Advocate who was also an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly and with the authority to promote the interests of, and act as a voice for children when there are concerns about the services provided to a child or group of children. Deb was the Children’s Advocate for her full term of ten years and throughout this time worked diligently to improve the lives of children and families in Saskatchewan and Canada.
Deb is also an active volunteer. She is a member of the Board of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and is currently President of the Board of the YWCA, Saskatoon. In the past she was a member of the Board of the Adoption Council of Canada and the Child and Youth Advisory Committee of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She was Co-Chair of the Yorkton Interagency Committee for Youth, founding member of the Yorkton Boys and Girls Club, member of the Yorkton Race Relations Committee, and the Food for Friends community board.
After her term as Children’s Advocate, Deb worked with the Ranch Ehrlo Society as the Vice-President of Northern Programs. The Ranch Ehrlo Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a range of quality assessment, treatment, education, and support services to improve the lives of the children referred to the residential treatment programs and other community based services. The Ranch has been providing services in Saskatchewan for forty years and part of Deb’s role with the Ranch was to help establish a program in the Saskatoon area. Deb, a Registered Doctoral Psychologist, is now in private practice and she provides services for children, youth, and their families. She works extensively in northern Saskatchewan and with children who have experienced trauma.
Deb and her husband, Rob, have been married for over 35 years. Deb and Rob enjoy spending time with their three adult children and their children’s partners. They also have a grandchild! Both Deb and Rob are committed to working in the community to ensure our future generations of children grow up in nurturing, safe, and loving environments.
Dr. James Irvine
Dr. James Irvine is the public health and preventive medicine physician with the University of Saskatchewan and works as the Medical Health Officer for the three northern Saskatchewan health authorities covering the northern half of the province. He is a Professor with the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Family Medicine in Northern Medical Services and is an Associate Member of the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology and the School of Public Health. He has lived in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Ronge for over 30 years where he has been involved with public health, health care, administration, teaching, and research. His main public health and research interests involve environmental health, child health, health promotion, Aboriginal health, and remote health care.
Brent McKee, Advanced B.A./B.S.W./R.S.W (Sask)
Brent McKee is a Senior Mental Health Worker, whose current primary focus in his work involves vulnerable families and children under the age of 5. Brent has worked in the Mental Health field since 1988 and has specialized in Play Therapy for young children and their families.
Lois Okrainec has worked in the field of Early Childhood Development for over 25 years and is passionate about the critical need for investments in the early years to inspire new opportunities and healthy growth for families and their young children. Lois has been the Program Manager of Yorkton's KidsFirst Program since 2001.