Health Lecture

18 February, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Janusz Korczak’s Enduring Legacy: Social Paediatrics in Canada and Vancouver

WATCH VIDEO: Social Paediatrics in Canada and Vancouver


Dr. Gilles Julien, one of the principle founders of the field of social paediatrics

Ms. Ardith (Walpetko We’dalks) Walkem has worked with Indigenous communities to recover and implement their own laws in the area of Indigenous children and families

Dr. Christine Loock, led the creation and development of the RICHER Social Paediatrics program in Vancouver.

Dr. Curren Warf, Head of the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine of the Department
of Paediatrics of BC Children’s Hospital and UBC.

Social Paediatrics focuses on addressing the social determinants of health of children, including poverty,  marginalization and racism through protecting vulnerable children from the cumulative negative effects of toxic stress and traumatic experiences on human development. Social Paediatrics focuses on building and nurturing the network of support around the child – the Circle of the Child – founded on an appreciation of children’s inherent resiliency, and nurturing their capacity. It is a model based on science and evidence and promises to prepare children and adolescents for a successful and fulfilling adult life, in particular children and adolescents confronting the burden of stress and trauma. “Promoting Child and Youth Health and Rights in Vancouver through the RICHER Social Paediatrics Model”

For the past decade UBC has been engaged in a community, place-based partnership to enhance access to primary through specialist health care, to address inequities in health outcomes for some of Canada’s most socially vulnerable children and youth. The RICHER program provides Responsive, Intersectoral, interdisciplinary Child and Youth Health services with Education and Research opportunities, through a collaborative practice model based in multiple community sites in Vancouver’s Inner City. This relationshipcentred, collaborative approach has allowed a diverse and disenfranchised community to develop shared vision and values, and to address inequities in access and ongoing violations of child/youth rights as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Canada over 2 decades ago.

Children, youth and their families working with committed stakeholders from the community, Children’s & Women’s Hospital of BC, Vancouver Coastal Health, and UBC have developed enduring and trusting relationships to work with government and non-government organizations, who are also tasked to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This RICHER approach has facilitated an intersectoral service delivery model that is embedded and effective, allowing this community and others to more fully address child and youth rights to access health, education, and safe spaces; and their rights to an identity, to participate, and to be heard.

Ardith Walkem: Wrapping Our Ways Around Them: Indigenous communities and the child welfare system.

Presentation will explore the ways that Indigenous culture, community, land, and language form part of the identity and belonging for Indigenous children.  Rather than looking at attachment and belonging from an impoverished view (seeing only parents or immediate family), equally, for Indigenous children, this broader network of belonging, and meaning, must be considered in planning to ensure their identity and connections over their lifetime.  This presentation will explore the understanding that restoring the ability of our communities and Nation to become actively and meaningfully involved in caring for our children is necessary to break the cycle that keeps Indigenous children in disproportionate numbers entering into – and remaining within – the child welfare system.

Dr. Gilles Julien has made it his mission to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop harmoniously and reach their potential. A visionary leader, he has created a preventive approach, community social paediatrics, guaranteeing that each of a child’s fundamental rights as set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child will be respected. Over the years, he mobilized the people from Montreal’s underprivileged neighborhoods by founding two social paediatric centers in Hochelaga-Maisonnueve and Cote-des-Neiges. The model of social paediatrics that he initiated has helped shape programs across Canada. He is affiliated with McGill University and the Universite de Montreal.

Ms. Ardith (Walpetko We’dalks) Walkem is a member of the Nlaka’pamux nation which stretches from the Interior of BC into Washington state. She has a Master of Laws from UBC (with a research focus on Indigenous laws and oral traditions). Ardith has practiced extensively with different Indigenous communities, and in assisting Indigenous communities to assert their Aboriginal Title and Rights and Treaty Rights, with a focus on assisting Indigenous communities to articulate their own laws and legal systems. She has worked as Parents Counsel on CFCSA cases, and as counsel for Indigenous nations in matters involving their child members, and has helped to design systems based on Indigenous laws for children and families. Most recently, she wrote Wrapping Our Ways Around Them: Aboriginal Communities and the CFCSA Guidebook (2015, published by the ShchEma-meet.tkt project) and has worked with Indigenous communities to recover and implement their own laws in the area of Indigenous children and families.

Dr. Christine Loock MD, FRCPC, is a developmental paediatrician at Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia, including Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and BC Children’s Hospital where she is medical director of the Cleft Palate/ Craniofacial Program and specialist lead for the Social Paediatrics RICHER Program. A distinguished teacher and clinical researcher, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia (UBC). Early in her medical training at Harvard and the University of Washington, she developed an interest in ‘Social Paediatrics’. Her earlier clinical and research work focused on children and youth with congenital conditions and developmental disorders, including Faetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and birth defects prevention. She has been a board member on the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and co-author of the Canadian National Guidelines for Diagnosis of Faetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Over the past decade she has been engaged in collaborative interdisciplinary research and practice partnerships with the UBC School of Nursing to develop innovative and effective RICHER health service delivery models for socially vulnerable children and families in Canada. Dr. Loock is a recipient of the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service awarded by the Governor General of Canada

Dr. Curren Warf
is a Clinical Professor of Paediatrics and Head of the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine (DAHM) of the Department of Paediatrics at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. He graduated medical school from the Drew/UCLA School of Medicine, completed paediatric residency and adolescent medicine Fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Prior to relocating  to Vancouver in 2009, at CHLA Dr. Warf was the medical director of the High Risk Youth Program focusing on homeless and runaway youth in Los Angeles communities. He has a long standing involvement in the care of adolescents, working collaboratively with community agencies, and has conducted research and published on vulnerable adolescents, systematic discrimination against minority youth in American urban centers, violence and adolescents, and academic text chapters.

This session has been co-ordinated by Dr. Curren Warf and Dr. Ashley Roberts, Department of Paediatrics at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine.