> Backgrounder: What SFU OAA would do to change the world

Backgrounder: What SFU OAA would do to change the world

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Janis Horne, Alumni Association, 778.782.3994, horne@sfu.ca
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035, cthorbes@sfu.ca

January 7, 2008
They were all recently asked:  “What would you do to change the world if you could?” See following backgrounder.

Elaine Gallagher, Gerontology PhD ’88 – Professional Achievement
Director of the Centre on Aging, University of Victoria

“If I could change the world today, I would ask each person on earth to identify one positive change that they could undertake to improve the life of a neighbour, relative, friend or total stranger. Then, at noon local time globally on a Saturday in March, to celebrate the coming of spring, each person would carry out his/her identified action, creating a wave of kindness to encircle the earth for 24 hours. It could be a moment in time that changed the course of history. Elaine Gallagher

In her OAA speech, Gallagher, an internationally renowned leader in gerontology, will describe how SFU helped shape her learning. A nurse and a scientist primarily interested in how aging people interact with their environments, Gallagher’s research focuses on assessing and reducing falls among the elderly. The Victoria resident is also dedicated to boosting caregiver support, home care, health promotion and community development for the elderly. Gallagher works with the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities Project. It strives to make cities globally safer and more accessible, supportive and inclusive for the world’s growing elderly population.

David Granville, Molecular Biology BSc ’95 – Academic Achievement
Associate Professor/Canada Research Chair/MSFHR Scholar
St. Paul’s Hospital-University of British Columbia

“I am personally trying to improve the world by developing new treatments to combat heart disease, but if I had the ability, I would re-allocate much of the resources currently spent on wars worldwide towards alleviating world hunger and poverty.” David Granville

Granville’s OAA presentation will describe how his co-op experiences paved the way to where he is professionally and academically today. The Port Coquitlam resident is on a mission to fight the world’s number one killer — heart disease.

A pioneer in researching the biochemical and cellular mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, Granville discovered that inhibiting a certain enzyme could not only prevent atherosclerosis but also delay the aging process and age-related tissue degeneration. Atherosclerosis causes heart attacks and strokes and is the leading cause of death worldwide. Granville’s research has generated a spin-off company in which he is a co-founder and chief scientific officer. In 2005 Granville was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

Alison Lawton, Communication MA ’06 – Service to the Community
Executive Director, Mindset Media

“My approach to changing the world would be to start with individuals. When people are repressed and without hope they do not see positive possibilities. When I met with South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela he told me how much power we have as a collective people to make change. But we need to inspire individuals with hope and seed them with ideas.” Alison Lawton

In her OAA speech, Lawton will share her view that SFU is embracing social innovation by taking a multi-disciplinary approach to academia and fostering collaboration with many sectors in society. The West Vancouver resident is an accomplished business executive, director, financier, philanthropist and documentary filmmaker. A mover and shaker in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, Lawton is passionate about identifying high-potential social development initiatives and providing them with business expertise, funding and guidance. The recipient of UNICEF Canada’s Champion for Children Award, Lawton produced the award-winning documentary film Uganda Rising to bring global attention to children’s suffering during war.

For more information: http://www.sfu.ca/alumni/news/alumni_news/news02190801.html

(electronic photo files available on request)