49 Langarans

49Langaran

Kelley Lee

Langara Alum | Global Health Researcher

Dr. Kelley Lee has studied the need to strengthen collective action on global health challenges related to tobacco control for over two decades, largely focusing her work outside of Canada. When the Langara College alum and internationally renowned global health researcher relocated back to Vancouver, she soon noticed that many of the tobacco control issues she’d observed abroad were happening right here at home.

“My research focuses on the tobacco industry and how it has grown its markets worldwide through a range of business and political strategies. We then noticed the high rates of commercial tobacco use in Indigenous communities, and the ineffectiveness of mainstream tobacco control approaches, and wondered if we could approach the issue from a different perspective,” Lee said. “We don’t have detailed data, but smoking rates in some First Nations communities can be triple the rate of use of non-Indigenous people in Canadian mainstream society.”

With this in mind, she worked with partners at the First Nations Health Authority to initiate the three-year Promoting Indigenous Led Action on Respecting Tobacco Project in 2017, aimed at improving health and wellness in B.C. First Nations communities.

Working in partnership with five B.C. communities, her team has been consulting with community members through engagement events, interviews, and focus groups, among other activities.

With consent, they are hoping to conduct a survey in each community to collect baseline data on tobacco use, and community opinions on commercial tobacco use and potential initiatives that would build on community strengths.

“We want to provide useful information to these communities based on local perspectives and what community members would like to do regarding tobacco use,” Lee said.

Tobacco use in Indigenous communities involves complex cultural and historical considerations, she added. Many communities use the plant for spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial purposes.

“If you come in and say ‘all tobacco is bad,’ that doesn’t resonate with cultural teachings. It is a very colonial approach,” she said. “We need to understand that in order to support health and wellness while respecting Indigenous cultures.”

Such an initiative, for example, might involve supporting traditional ways to use tobacco, such as burning during ceremonies, and offering tobacco leaves as gifts in pouches or tobacco ties. “We’ve learned that there can be healthy Indigenous relationships with tobacco, which do not involve inhaling smoke into your lungs,” she said. “When you’re inhaling commercial tobacco products, with added toxic chemicals and flavourings, that’s when cancers and other illnesses arise.

“Alternatively, traditional tobacco could be a part of the healing of Indigenous communities from the impacts of colonization through the recovery of traditional cultures.”

The project team, the majority of whom are Indigenous, plan to finish conducting their qualitative research by December, and then conduct the survey with the permission of the five communities in 2020.

They have until 2021 to finish the project, eventually leaving the communities with resources and a strategy document that will help them move forward.

“That’s the most important part, to leave the communities with something that is useful. Not just academics writing papers,” Lee said. “We want to conduct our research differently, and show that this will produce findings that are far more practical and useful.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media.

49 Facts — NO. 20

More students transfer to BC universities from Langara than from any other college in the province.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

  • Christa Belle Walley

    Christa Belle Walley

    Langara Alum | Music Specialist

    Christa Belle is a DJ, producer, and Artist Relations specialist with the music software company Ableton. In her current role at Ableton, she creates initiatives to grow and engage with electronic music economies throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa while offering one-on-one support to some of the most influential artists in the world. In a previous role, Christa Belle was the resident DJ and Program Director at Vancouver’s Fox Cabaret, where she was a champion of the growth of the local music scene through her support of emerging artists. Throughout her career, she has supported artists in Canada and around the world by providing access to opportunities, equipment, and learning resources. In 2017, she was chosen to be one of the jurists for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, which honours, celebrates, and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music. Christa graduated from Langara Continuing Studies Digital Music Production Program.

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  • Patricia Woods

    Patricia Woods

    Current Employee | Nurse Educator

    Patricia has been teaching nursing for over 20 years with strong focus on health equity, advocacy, and nursing globalism. She was formerly the Assistant Chair of the Langara Nursing department. Patricia was part of the initiative that created the first-ever Post-Graduate Certificate in Nursing Leadership and Management for international nurses in Western Canada. She was also the Coordinator of the Continuing Studies Health Care Assistant program, which was the first educational partnership between Musqueam First Nation and Langara College. The program prepared Indigenous students to provide elder care in their community and to pursue a career in health care. Additionally, Patricia led Langara’s smoke-free campus initiative as Co-Chair of the Smoke-free Committee. She has received many awards including Langara’s Leadership Excellence Award in 2014; the Award for Excellence in Nursing Education (non-tenured) in 2015 from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing; and the Nursing Advocacy Award from the Association of Registered Nurses of BC in 2015. As the epitome of a lifelong learner, Patricia is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing at the University of Victoria.

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  • Jai Goyal

    Jai Goyal

    Langara Alum | Financial Literacy Advocate

    As a driven leader with an entrepreneurial mindset, Jai is no stranger to the world of B2B sales. After attaining a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Langara, Jai proceeded to graduate from the esteemed Queen’s University Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, specializing in corporate innovation. His unwavering commitment to achieving excellence and exceeding objectives did not stop with his experience at Fortune 500 companies. He is currently serving as a Commercial Client Manager for Western Canada at IBM. After being the VP Corporate Relations of the Young Investor Program Canada for the past five years—a not-for-profit organization dedicated to teaching financial literacy skills to youth—Jai now sits on the Board as a Senior Advisor helping to strategically grow the program. Jai strives to make the conversation surrounding financial literacy and investing in one’s future a priority amongst youth across the nation. He now channels his passion for giving back to the business community, that awarded him “Mentee of the Year” during his undergraduate studies, by mentoring students as a Vancouver Board of Trade Leaders of Tomorrow mentor.

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