Premier’s Council 2016 Award Winners - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Premier’s Council 2016 Award Winners

Bruce Uditsky (Edmonton) – Gary McPherson Leadership Award

Bruce Uditsky has been a leader for community inclusion for persons with disabilities for over 35 years. Throughout Bruce’s career, he has taught, written about, and consulted on community inclusion and social justice. His work has been instrumental in promoting inclusion, disability awareness and barrier-free environments for persons with disabilities in Alberta. Bruce is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Inclusion Alberta, an organization advocating for an inclusive society for persons with disabilities. Bruce’s additional roles in the disability community include: Adjunct Professor, Community Rehabilitation & Disability Studies (CRDS), Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary; Co-Chair, Alberta FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Family Advisory Committee; Member, Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Provincial Advisory Committee; Member and Alberta Education Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Education System.

Bruce was a founding member and Chair of the Alberta Disabilities Forum with Gary McPherson and a co-developer of the CRDS Summer Institute on Inclusive Education. He is also a co-founder of Inclusion Alberta’s Rotary Employment Partnerships and inclusive post-secondary education.

Bruce helped to develop Alberta’s education standards on the placement of students with disabilities. As a member of the Minister’s Expert Advisory Committee, he provided advice to government on the development of the Family Support for Children with Disabilities Legislation.

Bruce has received the Alberta Centennial Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a Paul Harris Fellowship, among other acknowledgements.

These achievements, when combined with his passion for inclusion, make Bruce an outstanding recipient for the Gary McPherson Award. Bruce’s career exemplifies the values and ideals of Gary McPherson. Bruce has made our province a better place to live.


Louise Miller (Edmonton) – Marlin Styner Achievement Award

Louise Miller is a tireless advocate for people with spinal cord injuries.

One of Louise’s greatest achievements was co-founding the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre Society (SCITCS). In 2017, SCITCS will celebrate 30 years of creating opportunities for people with disabilities and never saying “never”.

Louise has been instrumental in the success of SCITCS, by providing valuable leadership and time to the organization. Under her leadership, SCITCS brought the first exoskeleton ReWalk system to Canada. It is presently in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and several people with spinal cord injuries have had the opportunity to stand and walk.

In 1990, SCITCS brought Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to Western Canada. FES allows people with mobility impairments to move their limbs. SCITCS has provided several FES bicycles to hospitals, clinics and fitness facilities. In addition, SCITCS has contributed over $2 million to the University of Alberta for research to provide a better life for people with disabilities.

Louise produced the bestselling book, “Daring to Live: Personal Journeys of Courage and Triumph”. The book has motivated and inspired countless readers with proceeds from the book sales donated to SCITCS.

Louise was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada 2000 and the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2010. The University of Alberta recognized her contribution by bestowing an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 2013, for exemplary commitment to the advancement of health care and the promotion of human dignity.

Louise is the 2016 recipient of the Marlin Styner Achievement Award. Louise’s life and work exemplifies this award. Her disability has not prevented her from pursing excellence and dedication to empowering persons with disabilities.


UNITE HERE Local 47 (Edmonton) – Award of Excellence in Community

UNITE HERE Local 47 is a union representing camp, culinary and hospitality workers across the province.

Using inclusive and innovative thinking, UNITE HERE Local 47 recognized the need to redesign the courtyards and play spaces at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital to accommodate persons with disabilities.
The union made a generous donation of $600,000 to ensure that the spaces were accessible.

The redesigned spaces were officially opened on August 25, 2016. All aspects of the spaces have met or exceeded the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) guidelines.

The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital serves all ages and is devoted to providing specialized rehabilitation for Albertans with complex disabilities and chronic disease.


Dr. Hasmukhlal Rajani (St. Paul) – Award of Excellence in Community

Dr. Hasmukhlal Rajani has provided training to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostics teams for 16 years. He has been a member of the Lakeland Centre for FASD diagnostic team for nearly 20 years, and a member of the Northwest Central FAD Network for six years.

Dr. Rajani provides clinic and training support across the country, and works tirelessly to deliver compassionate and comprehensive medical care.

Dr. Rajani is widely recognized for this enthusiasm in teaching and mentoring. He is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. He teaches medical students, family medicine residents and pediatric residents in the ambulatory and inpatient setting.

Dr. Rajani also leads an outreach pediatric consultation clinic in several small communities in Alberta, where he provides exemplary pediatric care.

He also mentors and educates Government Agencies and various FASD Assessment and Diagnostic Clinics, provincially and nationally, through presentations that strengthen their ability to provide consistent supportive services.
A leader and a role model, Dr. Rajani is an esteemed educator not only in Alberta, but across Canada. Dr. Rajani’s passion, hard work and dedication to provide innovative training to promote excellence in support and medical services, reflects his career long commitment to the communities he serves.


Dr. Megan Strickfaden (Edmonton) – Award of Excellence in Education

Dr. Megan Strickfaden is and educator, designer and advocate for the well-being of persons with disabilities, who has significantly contributed to the goals of inclusive communities in Alberta. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta with a PhD in Design Studies, which includes creating numerous designed objects for persons with disabilities.

Dr. Strickfaden enjoys academic achievements in the fields of Anthropology, Industrial Design and Engineering. Over the course of her career she has worked and volunteered tirelessly to advocate for people with different abilities. She has achieved this through the creation of innovative and meaningful designs, teaching students about disability and design and by promoting inclusion through mentorship with her colleagues.

Dr. Strickfaden’s research combines elements of Design Studies with Anthropology, in an effort to improve the understanding of people’s abilities rather than disabilities.

Two of her most celebrated projects are: a short video titled Light in the Borderlands and exhibitions. The video has been shown at festivals in Canada and Europe, and focuses on urban spaces. It was filmed by three legally blind individuals from Edmonton. The exhibitions showcase photos that were taken by visually impaired individuals from Canada, France and Australia.

Dr. Strickfaden says, “these projects are about what people can see, as opposed to what they can’t see.”

Her most recent project is the creation of outdoor sportswear for the seated sportsperson to engage in extreme winter activities such as trail riding and sit-skiing.

Dr. Strickfaden has pushed barriers of old thinking models and endlessly promotes the value of an inclusive society. Through her continued pedagogy, writing and research projects, she has significantly impacted the practice of many students and professionals by inspiring them to frame their practice through more inclusion.


Dr. Dorothy Badry (Calgary) – Award of Excellence in Education

Dr. Dorothy Badry, PhD, RSW, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. Her key areas of expertise are in disability, child welfare, homelessness, women’s addiction and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

As a leading researcher on FASD, Dr. Badry has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting FASD prevention across communities. Her work has been instrumental in how FASD is being addressed in Alberta and across Canada.

As co-chair of the FASD Education, Training, Supports and Services Council, a lead co-principal investigator and an expert member of the Alberta FASD-Cross Ministry Committee, Dr. Badry has been a critical partner on many research and evaluation projects. Through the development of online courses, Dr. Badry has improved the delivery of distance education and made her classes more accessible to marginalized groups in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

Dr. Badry has also supported the mentoring work of the Parent Child Assistance Programs. The programs help women facing significant challenges to be matched with a mentor to help them make healthy lifestyles choices for themselves and their families.

Dr. Badry worked with the program on the PCAP Women’s Quilt – Woven Together – a qualitative research project, which has been showcased at numerous conferences and events, including the 50th Anniversary of the University of Calgary. She helps facilitate a social networking system and a national research agenda on FASD, Homelessness and Child Welfare, with various universities, communities and organizations.

Dr. Badry continues to be an educator and an advocate for people with an FASD, their families and caregivers.


Lynn Wheadon (Calgary) – Award of Excellence in Education

Lynn Wheadon, born with hearing loss, taught hard of hearing and deaf children by oral communication in Calgary and Edmonton in the sixties. Later, employed at what is now Deaf & Hear Alberta, she taught speechreading classes for hard of hearing and deaf adults, and started a tinnitus support group and provided peer counselling.

Lynn, an active member of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), helped to develop and coordinate a national program in speechreading and communication strategies.

Lynn has trained instructors in Alberta and across Canada through the Working and Coping with Hearing Loss project (WCHL) and the National Speechreading Project (NSP).

During the WCHL project, Lynn helped to develop a video, “Sound Ideas – Managing Your Hearing Loss” and a manual, “Working with Hearing Loss – A guide for Employees Employers and Entrepreneurs”.

Lynn’s commitment to education for the hard of hearing spans over 50 years.


Gordon and Barbara Drummond (Peace River) – Award of Excellence in Employment

Gordon and Barbara Drummond are strong advocates for Peace River’s disability community and their families. They are well-known for their generosity and commitment, particularly for people with developmental disabilities.

For many years Gordon and Barbara have provided a wide range of supports and initiative that contribute to an inclusive community for persons with disabilities and their families in the Peace River region.

Gordon, a former teacher, is committed to advocating on opportunity and equal treatment, inclusion and the celebration of individuality. Gordon is an avid cyclist who rides to raise funds and awareness for kids with Cancer. In 2009 he rode across Canada.

Barbara has been actively involved in engaging with provincial government leaders regarding employment initiatives for adults with disabilities.

Barbara and Gordon sponsor several soccer teams, and of course, they donate plenty of coffee and doughnuts. They also support school and soccer programs in their community by providing fundraising and mentoring supports.

As Tim Horton’s owners, Gordon and Barbara employ several individuals with disabilities and support them in reaching their full potential. Gordon and Barbara have made accommodations to their storefront schedule and workplace policies to respond to what their employees with disabilities need to be included and successful in their roles.

Gordon and Barbara are leaders in their community and are modeling the way for inclusion.


Blair Charters (Red Deer) – Award of Excellence in Public Awareness

“Create something positive,” is a mantra often repeated by Blair Charters, a motivational speaker, who promotes inclusiveness and raises awareness through his life experiences living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Blair impacts others through his heartfelt, humoristic and charismatic brand of storytelling, and is described by his peers as a truly impressive motivator.

Though his work, Blair raises awareness of FASD and promotes inclusion among audiences that include community leaders, First Nations, police and parents. Blair is the author of the book “Beautiful Struggles”. He humbly shares his personal experiences of living with FASD and invites his readers on a journey of celebrating abilities and bringing positive change.

In addition to ongoing speaking engagements in Canada, Blair has also reached out internationally to promote awareness about FASD through a YouTube series entitled, “Why FASD Matters to You”. He reminds us that a person with a disability can consistently break barriers and accomplish great things that make our communities inclusive for all. His tireless work in raising awareness about FASD continues to grow.


Terri Robson (Red Deer) – Award of Excellence in Public Awareness

After overcoming struggles to accept and understand the impact of Asperger Syndrome in her own life, Terri Robson was inspired to help others. With incredible determination, Terri has engaged with various projects, both nationally and internationally, to raise awareness and remove barriers for individuals with Asperger Syndrome.

Terri developed a company called “Awkward Spirit: Looking Beyond the Mask”, which has become a central force in Terri’s journey to better educate parents, teachers, caregivers and all Albertans about the capabilities and challenges of those with Asperger Syndrome.

By making various presentations to a variety of international organizations, Teacher’s Conventions and other professional organizations, such as Lions Clubs International, Terri has become an ambassador and a voice for thousands of Albertans and Canadians who cannot speak for themselves.

The impact of Terri’s tireless work is tremendous, as her presentations continue to be well received in communities, and have admittedly even exceeded her own expectations.

Her impressive skills are not limited to her work space. Terri is a leader and mentor who has worked tirelessly at many IDPD events in Alberta for years. Her determination, hard work and effectiveness continue to inspire and to make a difference in Alberta’s communities.

Modified: 2016-11-29
PID: 18468