2022 BC Substance Use Conference Awards

Every year, the BC Centre on Substance Use brings together stakeholders from across the province for its annual conference. This year we hosted our 4th annual conference virtually over two days, with more than 1,100 registrants, along with multiple regional conference sites with dozens of attendees hosted by drug user groups across BC.

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: Jane Buxton

This honour recognizes Jane Buxton 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 demonstrate an enduring personal commitment to community engagement and the advancement of health equity. Jane is the medical lead for harm reduction at the BC Centre for Disease Control and co-chair of the BC Harm Reduction Committee. Her legacy has led to the development of the Drug Overdose and Alert Partnership as well as the BC take-home-naloxone program. Jane’s contributions have saved countless lives and continue to make monumental strides research, policy and harm reduction programs.

Nothing About Us Without Us Award
Recipient: Charlene Burmeister

This award is presented to a person with lived experience of substance use who has exhibited remarkable achievements by engaging with their community through activism and advocacy while facing the challenges of structural and institutional discrimination. This year’s winner, Charlene Burmeister, is recognized for her tireless work to improve lives of people affected by substance use within the community. She trailblazed the first drug user group in northern BC and supported the start of many others. Charlene is revered for her leadership and ability to lift others up in their own activist proficiencies including capacity building, advocacy, proposal-writing, and other vital skills.

Family Support and Advocacy Leadership Award
Recipient: Helen Jennens

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. Helen Jennens selfless efforts have been seen across Interior BC through her contributions to International Overdose Awareness Day, Moms Stop the Harm, and the BeSafe App, and other professional groups and panels. Those who know Helen will tell you she is generous, wise, and supportive. She is thanked for her work and tireless leadership that have allowed countless grieving families to receive ongoing emotional support.

Recovery Systems Leader Award
Recipient: Stacy Wilson

Recovery Systems Leader Award recognizes significant strides in the development, improvement, delivery, and accessibility of recovery-oriented services throughout BC. This year’s recipient is Stacy Wilson. The Executive Director at Together We Can since 2015, Stacy has demonstrated unwavering commitment to recovery. Cited as a person who leads by example, he aims to expand the accessibility and range of quality treatment programs. Stacy is receiving this award in thanks for his life’s work to provide a message of hope and freedom to those struggling with their substance use.

Interdisciplinary Clinical Excellence Award
Recipient: Amanda Lavigne

As the recipient of the Interdisciplinary Clinical Excellence Award, Amanda Lavigne is recognized for her work in education and training. She has shown tremendous effort to improve knowledge and understanding of substance use and addiction, and seeks every opportunity to share this knowledge widely. She has led a nurse prescribers’ group in Interior Health and is recognized for her role in developing a supportive community of practice. Amanda has been integral to the BCCSU, Ministry of Health, and College of Nurses and has most notably championed the use of nurse prescribing which has resulted in increased access to OAT across the Interior. Amanda is granted this award in thanks for her unwavering support and advocacy of regulatory change.

Primary Care & Substance Use Trailblazer Award
Recipient: Tracey Day + Colleen Booth

The title of Trailblazer is awarded to primary care clinicians who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and advocacy in support of system improvements to improve the quality of care for people with substance use addictions. This year, the award is dedicated to two inspirational clinicians from Prince George, Tracey Day and Colleen Booth.

Both a Clinical Director of the Overdose Response at the Ministry of Mental Health and a BCCSU fellow, Dr. Tracey Day is given this award for her fearless leadership. She was among the first in northern BC to openly challenge the abstinence model of addictions medicine. Alongside other achievements, she is recognized for her trailblazing work in introducing safer supply and opening an OAT clinic in Prince George despite facing resistance. This award celebrates Tracey’s critical thinking and innovation that has improved the health of her patients.

Colleen Booth is described as selfless and ready to go above and beyond to improve the lives of her patients. At the root of her work, Colleen promotes patient-centred and trauma-informed care for marginalized individuals. This award celebrates for her role in introducing TiOAT to Prince George, advocating for perinatal individuals who use substances, and mentoring nurse practitioners in her community. It is evident in her day-to-day work that she is passionate about her patients and sharing her learnings with others.

Bud Osborn Award for Excellence in Knowledge Translation
Recipient: Sam Tobias

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. Sam Tobias is recognized as instrumental to the BCCSU drug checking project. He has applied his own frontline experience to inform his work in the interactive dashboard and a drug-checking technician training curriculum that is available in all five regional health authorities. Sam's innovative and practical presentation of vital information have resulted in wider access to these ground-breaking resources.

Philip Owen Award for Excellence in Policy Research Award
Recipient: Erica McAdam

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, Erica McAdam, whose work examines decriminalization thresholds and critiques the current proposed model.  Her work with the substance-user community provides clarity for the need to adjust thresholds to better meet the stated goals of decriminalization. Keeping in spirit Philip Owen’s legacy, Erica’s work provides credible research evidence and analysis that can be used to inform and advocate for improved policies for people who use substances.

Fellowship Awards

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

Fellow Awards Awardee
Vincent P. Dole Award
for Outstanding Addiction Medicine Fellow
Dr. Julia Zazoulina
Richard Cunningham Award
for Outstanding Addiction Nursing Fellow
Stefani Human
Most Outstanding Fellow ANPF Dr. Tracey Day
Most Outstanding Fellow ASWF Polly Cooper
Preceptor Awards  Awardee
Difference Maker - Inaugural Pharmacy Fellow
2021 to 2022
Rahim Janmohamed + Tifaine Magnusson
Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award Addiction Medicine Fellowship Dr. Isabelle Miles
Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award Addiction Nurse Practitoner Fellowship Tim Gauthier
Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award Addiction Nursing Fellowship Dr. Paxton Bach
Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award Addiction Social Work Fellowship Jess Temmel
Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award Addiction Pharmacy Fellowship Benjamin Trepanier
Presentation Awards
Best Research Presentation Award
International Collaborative Addiction Medicine Research Fellow
Dr. Victoria Weaver
Best Research Presentation Award
Addiction Medicine Fellow
Dr. Allison Hudson
Best Research Presentation Award
Addiction Allied Health or Nursing Fellow
Polly Cooper