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Story Telling Builds Compassion!

By Katherine Dodds On July 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

Everyone is someone's brother, son, father, sister, mother, auntie, cousin... we are all connected.

This is true for everyone, but even more so in First Nation's communities, where tight knit familes, mean the impact on one person is felt by many. This is why the implications of a positive diagnosis of HIV/AIDS has the potential to ripple out. And it's the love families have for their kin that can save communtiies from the devastating effects of stigma. 

We've had the priviledge of working over many years with Chee Mamuk, and recently did two projects we're really proud of: A book of photographs and stories of people living with the affects of HIV "Honouring our Journey"  and a video about Chee Mamuk's ongoing program "Around The Kitchen Table" which we've also been involved with in the past.

Freida Prince is featured in both the book and the video which can be seen after the page break. We think her story about losing her son is very moving and hope that the video is widely seen where it is needed as tool to build undertanding for those living with HIV, their families and the community. Thank you Frieda! 

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Katherine Dodds AKA "Kat" is the founder of Good Company Communications and Trained in renegade advertising & branding through her work with Adbusters in the '90s, Kat's early induction into the possibilities of the web-world was inspired by the term hypertext, which she immediately found comforting. She is dedicated to cause-related communication and to the development and use of tools that promote democratic processes.

An Incurable Case of Brotherly Love - A tribute to both Riyad and Roy Wadia

By Katherine Dodds On December 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

I didn’t know Riyad Wadia, but I know his brother Roy. And because I’ve seen Roy in action, I know Riyad must have been someone very wonderful.

On November 30, ten years ago, Riyad Wadia, India’s first openly gay filmmaker and a behind-the-scenes gay activist died of AIDS. It was two years later when I met his brother Roy who was working at the BCCDC when he accompanied us on a trip to Kitamaat Village with Chee Mamuk (Aboriginal program of the BC CDC) to make a short film about STIs and HIV with youth from the Haisla Nation. Riyad moved Roy to do this kind of health advoacy work, and it’s an honour to his memory that Roy is so dedicated to this cause. And while Kitamaat Village was a far cry from the world of Bollywood celebrity that Roy and his brother Riyad knew, taking the creative approach to health promotion came naturally to Roy.

Roy’s tribute to Riyad, was included by Denise Ryan in the recent Vancouver Sun’s series on the HIV/AIDS epidemic to mark this December’s 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day and Month.

Roy writes: “Riyad was a beautiful soul, loving and giving, missed to this day not only by our mother and myself, but by literally hundreds of people around the world who were lucky enough to know him.” Describing the irony of the fact that while Riyad helped many HIV-positive people get discreet and top-notch medical advice about HIV as well as access to medication, he himself never took any medication for the entire seven-plus years after his diagnosis, Roy wonders “Was it deep-seated self-stigma that stopped him from taking care of his own health especially in a day and age when medication was easily available and all the more when India’s leading generic drug manufacturer, Cipla, run by a family friend, would have provided him ARV free of cost? I still struggle to figure out what the true reason was.”

For those of us who work in health promotion within already marginalized populations, the reality is poignant: stigma can be deadly. The topic of the film made by the Haisla youth was on rumours and how they can travel quickly, like STIs can, in a small community. And like STIs, rumours can be prevented.

Their film  “Stand True” was light hearted and funny, but the night of its ‘world premiere” celebration, when it screened in front of 200 Community members in the Kitamaat Village Rec Centre, invited guest, Charlotte Brooks got up to speak. I witnessed the group of young filmmakers visibly transform. Charlotte talked about how their film’s theme of rumours touched on something so important, and she shared what living with HIV has been like for her, how rumours and stigma caused so much pain to her and to her family. Suddenly those youth knew that they had not only done something cool, they had done something important with their short film. Life-changing even.

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CDC 2013 recap

By Maria Martin On March 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

The three days at the CDC Conference was a whirlwind of mid-week fun. The team was there to live-tweet CDC conference happenings + their projects around First Nations health and social media promotion. Many attendees recognized and were aware of our projects and campaigns. We did live tweeting & video interviews throughout the conference, so stay tuned for our vlog post highlighting the event. We asked people what community health meant to them & what community health looked like in First Nations communities. We also interviewed Dr. Evan Adams who explained the connection between community health and the new First Nations Health Authority. The wellness model takes a mind, body, spirit approach.

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Maria Martin is interning with Hello Cool World as part of her community nursing course at VCC.

Strive for Zero?

By David Ng On March 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

The much anticipated Day 3 of the #CDC2013 #FNhealth conference has finally arrived!

We were looking forward to Day 3 because the presentations today covered the topics of HIV/AIDS and harm reduction.  Kathy Wrath talked about doing harm reduction in small communities, and a lot of the stigma and misinformation about harm reduction that exists in communities.  She pointed out an interesting fact that drug users are often the biggest opponents to harm reduction! So in order to "do" harm reduction effectively in communities, we have to consider how and where people are receiving care.  Who are they listening to and where are people going to receive help?  Kathy explored a part of grassroots outreach that is fundamental to reaching people - using peer groups.  By using existing social networks, we can meet people where they are.

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David Ng is a Hello Cool World veteran with experience going back a decade. David first worked with us when he was just 14 years old as a participant in the youth advisory group for the sexual health education program Condomania. Now an accomplished videographer passionate about the issues of gender and power, he is currently on sabbatical in South Africa while he pursues a Masters in Gender Studies with a focus on international development.

3 topics to avoid: God, Politics, Immunizations

By David Ng On March 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Day 2 at the First Nations Health conference today started with a presentation on vaccines, which we were of course interested in because of our work with ImmunizeBC. (See Kat Dodds holding a few of our I Have Immunity portfolio pieces to the right.)

The topic of immunizations has been in the media a lot recently, particularly with Simon Fraser University recently coming under fire for allowing an anti-vaccine conference to take place at their Harbor Centre campus.

Andrea Derban explored some of the common myths and misinformation in the public today about vaccines, including the idea that vaccine's "cause" autism, and the idea that the reactions to vaccines that some people get is evidence of the vaccine delivering the full disease itself.

"If someone ever says 'I got the flu from the flu vaccine,' that's like saying 'I got an egg from ground chicken.'"

Looking at the actual science behind vaccines, the presentations today explored some of this widespread misinformation, and suggested that we need to think about the way that we talk to people about immunizations.

The way that we communicate with people - as health care service providers, (and social marketers!) is critical! Polarizing the conversation is not always productive - it's not just about "us versus them". The presentations today implored health care providers to remember that it is their responsibility to promote the most optimal health in their communities, and that immunizations are one of the tools that they have to do so.

After the jump, hear Vancouver's Tyson and Dawn Wozniak tell their story about how, as "natural parents," they decided not to vaccinate their first child. But when their second child arrived, they did more research - and had a change of heart. 

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