On May 8th, Vanier College held its 5th Annual Vanier College Nursing Conference, entitled, What Difference Does Difference Make?
Keynote Speaker: Kara Redden
More than 300 people attended the conference where guest speaker Kara Redden, a Vanier nursing graduate who participated in the Malawi exchange while she was at Vanier, gave the keynote address. After Vanier, Kara obtained her Bachelor of Nursing degree at McGill University where she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Global Health. The Vanier Malawi Exchange had a lasting impact on Kara who has remained involved with international health issues ever since. She shared her perspectives on the differences of global access to health care and how what is needed is equity and not equality when it comes to distribution of resources. Kara will be collaborating on a project related to HIV and Tuberculosis this fall in Haiti.
Jacky Vallée addresses sexual diversity and healthcare
Vanier Anthropology teacher and co-founder of the Open Door Network, Jacky Vallée, also gave a talk about sexual diversity and healthcare. He addressed prejudice and lack of knowledge about how gender identity and sexual orientation issues can have a profound impact on the health and care of individuals from the LGBTTIQAas well as other individuals whose sexual identity doesn’t follow conventional norms.
2015 Vanier Malawi Nursing Exchange presentations
One of the highlights of the conference was the series of presentations by the 2015 Vanier Malawi Nursing Exchange students who returned six days earlier from a seven-week nursing internship in Malawi. They spoke about how differences in culture, health practices, access to health care, and views about medical treatment such as giving oxygen, can all have a negative impact on health outcomes. Their recent experiences abroad demonstrated in significant ways how difference makes a significant difference when it comes to health.
Seeing the person as a whole
“Humans have much in common but by negating our differences we only see part of a person,” says Melodie Hicks, conference organizer and Coordinator of the Vanier Malawi Nursing Exchange. “This can have extremely negative effects when what is needed is to provide care for the whole person. Our guest speakers Kara Redden and Jacky Vallée gave tremendous presentations, further broadening our perspectives on difference and the impact that this has on healthcare.”