Our team at the Hub is incredibly excited to be engaged with our partners in what we consider critical work as our communities grapple with the meaning of and access to individual and collective well-being. As an educator, the social, political, and economic challenges and possibilities of this enterprise during such unsettling and difficult times is a powerful space within which our students, faculty, and community members can mobilize knowledge in ways that make a difference.
We believe at our core that universities are privileged spaces and with that privilege comes a tremendous responsibility. The Community Health and Social Innovation Hub was conceived out of a for a community-university relationship that is driven by creativity, humility, rigour, and responsiveness. It is this commitment that we believe helps us stand apart recognizing particularly in these times that we must do things differently. We are privileged to be joined on this path with our founding community partners: First Nations Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and the Divisions of Family Practice of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission.
Our team uniquely positions our current students, recent graduates, and alumni returning from graduate school to participate in interdisciplinary research clusters to address issues that are important to their communities. There is no better recognition for our students of the power and responsibility that comes with education than their engagement in idea generation, research, activism, and implementation of meaningful and timely responses to our communities’ calls for change.
As a faculty member at UFV I have been deeply involved in community engaged work over the last 26 years and was privileged to be asked to take the lead in developing the vision of the Hub with our community partners. We are committed to working on issues of equity and social justice through the lenses of oppression, reconciliation, and empowerment and feel privileged to be informed by the voices, silence and shared histories of people of colour and Indigenous and queer individuals and communities.
I believe deeply and unreservedly that it is through our collective willingness to engage in this work in ways that honour the intersectionality of our intellectual, personal, and professional selves that we will inspire one another and build responsive and compassionate communities that nurture our health and social well-being.
On behalf of the CHASI Team, we look forward to collaborating with you!
Dr. Martha Dow
Director, Community Health and Social Innovation Hub