FASS News, Awards, Faculty, Students, Research

FASS Earns Community-Engaged Research Initiative Awards

March 10, 2023
Top (left to right): Dr. Evelyn Encalada Grez, Jason Proulx, Erica McAdam, Dr. Meg Holden, and Dr. Habib Chaudhury. Bottom (left to right): Rachelle Patille and Sue Carabetta

A big congratulations to FASS faculty and students who earned a Community-Engaged Initiative Award. We are so proud that FASS won four out of five categories!

Emerging Community-Engaged Researcher Award

Dr. Evelyn Encalada Grez

Dr. Evelyn Encalada Grez (she, her, ella) is a Latinx Assistant Professor in Labour Studies and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at SFU. She is the co-founder of the award-winning collective, Justice for Migrant Workers that has advocated for the rights of migrant farmworkers in Canada and transnationally for over two decades.

As a community-engaged scholar and Public Sociologist, Evelyn has mobilized her migrant-labour research through various media including documentaries and given talks in venues such as Parliament Hill, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and at the United Nations in New York. Currently she is working on mobilizing research findings from community-engaged research she led on the systemic discrimination of Internationally Trained Physicians in BC.

She is also conducting research on the invisible labour undertaken by community workers and organizers who support migrant farmworkers, particularly during the height of the pandemic.

Publication: The Myth of Canada: The Exclusion of Internationally Trained Physicians

Community-Engaged Graduate Scholar Award

Jason Proulx

Jason Proulx (he/him) is a Vanier Scholar and PhD Student in the Department of Psychology at SFU. He received his MA at SFU and his BA (Hons.) at UBC. His research uses multi-method, community-engaged approaches to respectfully and rigorously examine how to nurture kind, diverse, and happy communities.

In his PhD, Jason collaborates closely with non-profits and communities from across Canada to examine the social and emotional impacts of various real-world interventions—from Intergenerational programs to Experiential Philanthropy Programs. He has investigated whether and how these programs develop empathy and generosity among youth, foster meaningful social connections that transcend common group boundaries (e.g., age, ability), and boost the health and well-being of people across the lifespan.

Throughout his work, Jason strives to empower practitioners, community members, and participants to contribute at each stage of the research process—from project design and data collection to analyses and dissemination. Through this community-engaged approach, Jason has helped connect and positively impact the communities he has worked with and privilege the voices of people who are often underrepresented in the literature (e.g., youth, the elderly, people with disabilities).

Erica McAdam

Erica McAdam (she/her) is a recent graduate from the Master of Public Policy Program at SFU and a drug policy researcher at the BC Centre on Substance Use. Erica is a white settler who was raised on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe peoples, what is colonially known as Ottawa, Ontario and currently lives and works on the unceded and stolen lands of the Coast Salish Peoples, xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and SəlíL lwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

During a co-op placement in the summer of 2021 at the BC Centre on Substance Use Erica led a novel analysis of how people who use drugs during the beginning of the COVID pandemic perceived the illicit drug supply. Guided by people with lived and living experience, she drew on survey data from 738 people who use drugs to investigate whether this population perceived a decline in the quality of the drug supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. She worked closely with community partners to ensure that the interpretation of data accurately captured people's lived experiences. A key policy implication of Erica’s analysis is that transformational interventions, particularly expanding a “safe supply” of drugs, are needed to address the toxic drug supply.

A collaborator and co-author with lived experience on this study, Paige Phillips, recently passed away as a result of the toxic drug supply. Erica hopes that this award can become an opportunity to further uplift the voices of people who use drugs and raise awareness of the dire need for a regulated safe supply to prevent further deaths.

Community-Engaged Partnership Award

Dr. Meg Holden

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) participated in a research project in partnership with SFU Urban Studies Program (with Professor Dr. Meg Holden) and the Faculty of Health Sciences. The research project stemmed from growing concerns that there were gaps in the provision and equitable distribution of resources and services across Vancouver. These gaps were effectively putting South Vancouver residents at a disadvantage when compared to the residents in other neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

The data from the research, combined with the stories of participants, indicated that SVNH was able to:

  1. Rally their community together to form neighbourhood advisory committees;
  2. Advocate for their community and present the research, data, stories, and evidence of inequities in South Vancouver to funders and key stakeholders; and
  3. Spark conversations and support to start addressing the inequities in social infrastructures’ investment in South Vancouver. This research was a gateway for SVNH to move their community from being unaware of issues to being agents of change.

Special Recognition Award

Dr. Habib Chaudhury

Rachelle Patille

Sue Carabetta

InterGenNS is a community-engaged research project developed in partnership between Simon Fraser University and North Shore Community Resources Society. It began in September of 2020 when the uncertainty of Covid had all but dashed hope. The main goal of the project was to better understand the current state of intergenerational initiatives on the North Shore. The InterGenNS Project has since generated community connectivity bringing together generations, ideas, and diverse organizations. In addition, this project facilitated community capacity and networking by bringing much needed attention, awareness, and action to intergenerational initiatives in BC. Key to the project have been: 

  • Dr. Habib ChaudhuryProfessor at the Department of Gerontology, SFU, was a keen supporter from the beginning. He responded to an informal outline, attended the initial community brainstorming meeting, secured funding and invited SFU student Rachelle Patille to join the project.
  • Rachelle Patille, MA student at Department of Gerontology, SFU, has contributed significantly to InterGenNS. Deeply mindful of the community vision, she engaged with the Steering Committee and larger community table, expanding her research to broaden and strengthen the Project, and all with boundless energy, attention to detail, and advocacy.
  • Sue Carabetta, Manager for Seniors and Community Engagement at North Shore Community Resources Society, was part of the project from the start. Sue has been a tireless and creative champion: securing funding, making community connections, and promoting and facilitating InterGenNS while always true to its vision.

Congratulations to all the award winners!

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