2021 BC Substance Use Conference Awards

Every year, the BC Centre on Substance Use brings together stakeholders from across the province for its annual conference. In addition to sharing the latest expertise and experiences, the conference also recognizes leaders in the field for their contributions to improve the wellbeing of people who use substances.

This year’s recipients:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Recipient: Ann Livingston

This honour recognizes Ann Livingston as a passionate and visionary health advocate who, during her lifetime, has made substantial contributions to the advancement of evidence-based approaches to substance use and addiction. Her outstanding contributions in health policy demonstrates an enduring personal commitment to community engagement and the advancement of health equity. In addition to co-founding the (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users), she’s also helped organize and establish multiple drug user groups across BC. She first began organizing drug users locally in the midst of an HIV epidemic and has continued this work throughout the overdose public health emergency. She is revered as an empathetic and fiery leader who has enabled substance users to reclaim their lives.

Nothing About Us Without Us Award
Recipient: Ron Kuhlke

This award is presented to a person with lived experience of substance use who has demonstrated remarkable achievements in engaging their community through activism and advocacy while facing the challenges of structural and institutional discrimination. This year’s winner, Ron Kuhlke, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Ron is remembered for his tireless work to improve the lives of his community. He was involved in countless organizations — Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS), Eastside Illicit Drinkers Group for Education, and the DTES SRO Collaborative. He was also engaged in BCCSU work from guidelines to education to research. His willingness to share experiences around his personal alcohol use has shaped policy and clinical care across BC.

Family Support and Advocacy Leadership Award
Recipient: Frances Kenny

This award recognizes contributions in advancing the interests of families affected by substance use and addiction, reducing stigma surrounding substance use, supporting local and provincial advocacy and education efforts, and providing leadership to families and their loved ones. For over 20 years, Frances Kenny has run a support group called Parents Forever which provides a wide range of resources and supports for families. Her work and tireless leadership has allowed hundreds of families to receive ongoing emotional support. This dedication has provided a toolbox of coping strategies to help them take control of their own lives and better support their loved ones.

Recovery Systems Leader Award
Recipient: Jessica Cooksey

Recovery Systems Leader Award recognizes forsignificant contributions in the development, improvement, delivery, and accessibility of recovery-oriented services throughout BC. This year’s recipient is Jessica Cooksey. Over the past two decades, Jessica has changed the lives of countless women through her leadership and her commitment to recovery. She has also led the Last Door Recovery Society youth program, helping hundreds of youth connect with recovery and reunite with their family. As a researcher, she’s led innovative work on recovery capital and strength-based approaches to recovery, changing the way many think about their lives and their recovery.

Interdisciplinary Clinical Excellence Award
Recipient: Dr. Andrew Kestler

As the recipient of the Interdisciplinary Clinical Excellence Award, Dr. Andrew Kestler is recognized for championing education and training in effort to improve knowledge and understanding of substance use and addiction, and seeks every opportunity to share this knowledge widely. He led the education of emergency department physicians, and promoted awareness of the overdose crisis and the role that the emergency department can play in maintaining engagement with the health system and initiating treatment. He is also recognized for his leading part in the distribution of take-home Naloxone kits. Dr. Kestler work has played a major role in the implementation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, treatment pathways and other practice support documents.

Primary Care & Substance Use Trailblazer Award
Recipient: Dr. Jeff Harries

The title of Trailblazer is awarded to a primary care clinician who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and advocacy in support of system improvements to improve the quality of care for people with substance use addictions. This award was in fact created in 2020 in honour of Dr. Jeff Harries. His work paved the way for prescribers to effectively screen and treat alcohol use disorder in primary care settings. His unwavering commitment as a health advocate has changed how we treat people with alcohol use disorder and impacted the lives of countless people.

Bud Osborn Award for Excellence in Knowledge Translation
Recipient: Madison Thulien + ARYS YAC (ARYS Youth Advisory Committee)

This award is named after the activist and unofficial poet laureate of the Downtown Eastside, Bud Osborn, who is known for helping people in his community to find their voice. The award recognizes exceptional work in integrating, translating and mobilizing knowledge in the community. Madison and the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) built a program of qualitative and community-based participatory action research and knowledge translation with and for young people who use drugs in Greater Vancouver. Accomplishments of Madison and the YAC include peer review publications and presentations spanning from the local to national level, an experimental storytelling video project, an organized event for sharing youth voices, and the development of a virtual field school for medical students and fellows interested in doing research with young people who use drugs.

Philip Owen Award for Excellence in Policy Research Award
Recipient: Dr. Geoff Bardwell

This award recognizes a researcher at the BCCSU whose work contributes to our mission to conduct research that will inform policy and improve the wellbeing of people who use substances. It is named after former Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen who led the implementation of the Four Pillars drug strategy during the peak of the HIV epidemic and overdose crisis in the 1990s. The winner of this award, Geoff Bardwell, whose work examines the way in which social, structural and physical contexts affect drug use and the effectiveness of substance use interventions. His work with the substance-user community provided clarity as to how and why people diverted prescription opioids, which aims to shape future policy in this area.

Fellowship Awards

The Fellowship award winners are presented to BCCSU interdisciplinary fellows in recognition of outstanding contributions:

  • Outstanding Trainee Award – Kate Jaffe
  • Outstanding FLEX Student – Jessica Chaiton
  • Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award for the Addiction Medicine Fellowship – Dr. Valerie Giang
  • Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award for the Addiction Medicine Fellowship – VIHA – Dr. Anne Nguyen
  • Excellence in Clinical Teaching for the Addiction Nurse Practitioner Fellowship – Marcey Norman
  • Excellence in Clinical Teaching for the Addiction Nursing Fellowship – Shafia Ali
  • Excellence in Clinical Teaching for Addiction Social Work Fellowship – Chantelle Ludwig
  • Vincent P. Dole Award for Outstanding Addiction Medicine Fellow – Charles Boissonneault
  • Outstanding Addiction Nurse Practitioner Fellow – Patty Wilson
  • Richard Cunningham Award for Outstanding Addiction Nursing Fellow – Christine Deziel
  • Outstanding Addiction Social Work Fellow Award – Alanna Mulholland
  • Outstanding ICAMRF Research Fellow – Kaye Robinson
  • Best Research Presentation Award, ICAMRF Research Fellow – Trevor Goodyear
  • Best Research Presentation Award Addiction Medicine Fellow – Victoria Weaver
  • Best Research Presentation Award, Nurse Practitioner or Allied Health Fellow – Christine Deziel