I'm currently a Nurse Practitioner with the ARCH team working with the Inner City Health and Wellness Program at the Royal Alex. I became involved in ANCHR after taking a harm reduction self-study course and realizing that there was not much offered for nurses in terms of harm reduction education and training. As nurses, we are often the first line of contact with the healthcare system and it is important to understand the importance of harm reduction. I believe harm reduction reflects nursing at its core and truly works with people and communities with where they are at. Through ANCHR, I hope that we can support nurses, break stigma, and advocate for change so that we can feel comfortable and competent working with people with where they are at in order to achieve positive health outcomes for all.
Katrina Stephenson Vice President
My passion for social justice, advocacy, health promotion and prevention naturally drew me to work in this field. As a Clinical Nurse Educator at Providence Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver’s DTES and within the SALOME clinic trails, Canada’s/North America’s first Clinic to offer injectable opioid agonist therapy (iOAT) or safe supply care to individuals struggling with chronic opioid use dependence and other poor social determinants of health. Individuals were offered evidence informed care within a multidisciplinary team which started their recovery journey. Safe supply, within a healthcare environment that provided the patients with holistic care along with dignity and respect. I value and have seen that supporting others from a non- judgemental and trauma informed approach, our patients find the care they need. In this way we can explore together where they are at. It lets them know you care to ask and you acknowledge their trauma and pain. The root cause, to their mental health challenges and why people will self medicate with substances. In Harm Reduction care, marginalized, stigmatized individuals find the care they have been lacking, improve their overall wellbeing, get control of their pains, and feel valued as a human being no matter where they are at. The environments we work have constrained budgets, politically we have governments cutting programs and threats to cut nursing positions. There are excessive workloads, little to no onsite wellness programs to buffer the stressors. We are exposed to much more trauma because the people we care for continue to suffer and die and we are not given all the tools to do our job. We know there is evidence informing harm reduction care such as safe supply. As a nurse that has worked in these socio-political environments that are not all trauma informed and that are ideologically opposed to harm reduction, it can be very challenging and from my experience it puts us at risk for occupational stress injuries (OSI). As someone who has cared for my own work related injury, in 2020, I found Nurse 2 Nurse Peer Support to advocate, educate and support our nursing peers to prevent, mitigate and care for OSI. It is time for change and for us Nurses to have the supports necessary to continue the work we love to do. www.n2nps.com
Jenna Kocik Director of Communications
Focusing my career on the public and community health sector, I have worked with diverse populations such as indigenous groups, the at-risk and at various correctional facilities. I have experience in northern nursing and providing comprehensive care in communicable disease programs, including tuberculosis and sexual transmitted infections. I worked as a street nurse at the needle exchange program in Edmonton focusing on the prevention and treatment of HIV and Hep C. Presently, I am employed as a clinical development nurse for the STI/HIV Provincial Program and have a Masters in Public Health from the University of Liverpool. I believe that harm reduction should be incorporated in all nursing care regardless of the practice setting. These approaches recognize the need for risk reduction, health and safety promotion and the prevention of disability and death. I hope ANCHR can support nurses and advocate for changes in public policies to integrate harm reduction in health care.
Georgia Dewart Treasurer
I am currently a full time doctoral student at the University of Alberta with a clinical background in labour and delivery and women’s health. I returned to graduate studies to research HIV care and health equity. It was through this education that I began to learn about the importance and need for harm reduction. In my clinical and research work, I have seen firsthand, the need for nonjudgmental, compassionate services for women and mothers. I believe that by advancing harm reduction principles in care we can improve the experiences and outcomes of not only marginalized communities but all patients. I hope that ANCHR serves as a community and educational network for nurses committed to the principles of harm reduction. I truly believe that ANCHR will help improve health care within the Province of Alberta by encouraging the advancement and acceptance of harm reduction principles.
Jessica Muller Education Coordinator
Hello. In 2006 I graduated from the University of Alberta’s After Degree Program in Nursing. I worked in women’s health for several years before returning to school to obtain a Master of Nursing in Leadership. While doing my graduate work, I became interested in harm reduction and working with marginalized populations. I had the opportunity to do my final placement with The Inner City Health and Wellness Program at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and was subsequently hired as the Clinical Nurse Specialist for the program. It was during this time that some other board members and I created ANCHR. We noticed a need for harm reduction education, resources and learning opportunities for nurses and so ANCHR was born. I currently work at the STI clinic in Edmonton and enjoy the role of Education Coordinator with ANCHR.
Open Vacancy Secretary
Are you interested in a unique opportunity to join the ANCHR board? We have a vacancy on our board for the secretary positon! Please message the team at firstname.lastname@example.org