Whistleblower, a child advocate hero among award recipients

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 9:44am


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Cindy Blackstock and Dr. Peter H. Bryce

The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) honours individuals or organizations who provide outstanding service to their community and profession. The following are the 2019 honorary award recipients.

R.D. Defries Award: Peter Bryce (posthumously)

Dr. Peter H. Bryce, a charter member of the Canadian Public Health Association, was a leader in the field of public health at the turn of the 20th century. He served as the first secretary of the Ontario Board of Health from 1882 to 1904 and wrote Canada’s first Health Code for the province of Ontario in 1884.

He played an important role in Canadian history as a whistleblower who documented and released evidence of the rate of Indigenous children who were dying in residential schools. For more information on his work, see the trailer to Findng Peter Bryce on YouTube https://youtu.be/2QAAX8yN90E

National Public Health Hero: Cindy Blackstock

A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy Blackstock has over 30 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. She is the executive director of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada (the Caring Society) and a Professor of Social Work at McGill University.

Blackstock’s work for fundamental human rights for First Nations young people, culturally based and evidence-informed solutions, including work on the case on First Nations child welfare and Jordan’s Principle, have been recognized by First Nations communities across Canada, including Norway House Cree Nation, Jordan River Anderson’s home community.

Certificate of Merit: Erica Phipps
Erica Phipps has a longstanding track record of leadership in policy action, knowledge translation and applied research on environmental health issues. She has worked in the environmental health field for over 20 years in Canada and internationally.

As the executive director of the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment (CPCHE) since 2008, she has been a leader, guiding force, ambassador and spokesperson for its collective efforts to protect children's health from toxic chemicals and pollution, with a focus on health equity.

R. Stirling Ferguson Award: Peter Barss
With a career that spans multiple decades and several countries around the world, Dr. Peter Barss has a tremendous track record in a broad range of areas including community protection from traffic, water-related, stair-related, intentional, and other injuries, as well as toxic and social effects of resource extraction.

His early-career work with low-income tropical communities convinced him of the importance of natural and person-made environments, occupation, and culture for falls and other injuries.

Dr. John Hastings Student Award:

Manal Masud, a Master of Public Health student at Simon Fraser University for her presentation entitled “Evaluation of Fraser Health’s Community Based Overdose Response”

Richa Sharma, a PhD candidate at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia for her presentation entitled “The Cedar Project: Experiences of interpersonal racism among young Indigenous people who have used drugs in Prince George and Vancouver, BC.”