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UBC Reports Apr 30, 2011

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 UBC
^jM,
a place of mind
THE  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
R E PO RTS
April 2011
7
Lending a voice:
Thank you Mary Taitt
T
This researcher is finding
ways to reach out to
immigrant gro1"      * A
orraine Chan
Wrongful conviction,
justice derailed
A home that
doesen't need heat
o inside:
Interdisciplinary
Graduate Studies
Program turns 40
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen
helps UBC celebrate 4
By Heather Amos Lending a voice
UBC's Crane Library provides students with audio recorded materials.
It is sustained by volunteers like Mary Taitt
By Heather Amos
In the news
Mary Taitt has volunteered with UBC's Crane Library for over 41 years. This year, she was recognised
for her dedication with the Slonecker Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contribution.
UBC REPORTS
volume fifty seven : number four
www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/ubc-reports
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fa place of mind
THE  UNIVERSITYOF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Public Affairs Office
Highlights of UBC media coverage
in March 2011
Compiled by Heather Amos
UBC RESEARCH
UBC EXPERTS COMMENT
'Clean fuel' not always successful     Japan's Triple Disaster
As reported by the New Scientist, United
Press International and the Vancouver
Sun, UBC researchers say a program
in New Delhi, India, to switch vehicles
to clean fuel has not significantly
improved harmful emissions in more
than 5000 vehicles.
In New Delhi's 5,000 auto-rickshaws
with two-stroke engines, the
conversion to "clean fuel" was making
the vehicles dirtier, producing
emissions that have a negative impact
on climate change.
"Our study demonstrates the
importance of engine type when
adopting clean fuels," lead author
and UBC post-doctoral fellow Conor
Reynolds said.
Swapping fecal bacteria
Pathogen microbiologist Brett Finlay
has shown that, in mice, resistance to
a deadly E.coli-like bacterium depends
on their gut microbes, reported Nature
and Science. Finlay explained that those
microbes can be swapped around by
effectively feeding the mice each others'
feces.
"When 100 people at a wedding eat
the potato salad, only a few get sick,"
says Finlay. He thinks these results
might help to explain why. "Resistance
to many diseases could be from our
microbiota."
UBC SPORTS
Volleyball, basketball
championships
The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, The
Province, the Daily Courier and others
reported on the success of UBC athletic
teams the Thunderbirds and Heat.
The T-birds won the CIS women's
volleyball championship for the
fourth consecutive year. With eight
national titles, they are the most
decorated team in the league. The
T-birds took home the bronze in the
men's basketball CIS championship in
Halifax.
UBC's Okanagan campus men and
women's Heat volleyball teams took
gold in the BCAA championship, in
their last year as members of the CCAA.
The men's team took home silver at the
CCAA National Championship, while
the women came in fourth.
Faculty, staff and students quickly
responded to the disaster caused by the
earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis
in Japan.
Stories by the BBC, Canadian Press,
CTV, CBC and others featured members
ofthe UBC community responding
to the disaster. Joseph Caron, Jessica
Main, David Edgington, Carlos
Ventura, Perry Adebar, David Measday,
Solomon Tesfamarian, Mika McKinnon,
Barbara Lence, Michael Bostock, Julian
Dierkes, Kenneth Elwood, Andrew
Riseman and others provided expert
commentary to the media.
"Most ofthe neighbourhood was
congregating outside and the older
residents noted that this was more
severe than anything they had ever
experienced," said Christina Laffin,
an assistant professor in UBC's
Department of Asian Studies who was
in Tokyo during the earthquake.
"The fundamental issue is not
going to be funding, it's going to be
reassuring Japanese people that the
government is in control and that
they need not panic," said Paul Evans,
director ofthe Institute of Asian
Research, about the recovery process.
KUDOS
Michael Hayden wins
Wightman Award
Dr. Michael Hayden has received the
Canada Gairdner Wightman Award.
Hayden, a professor in the Faculty of
Medicine and director ofthe Centre for
Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics,
is the most cited author on Huntington
disease in the world and best known for
developing a predictive genetic test for
Huntington disease.
Nineteen ofthe last 26 Nobel
Prizes in medicine or physiology in
the past 10 years have gone to past
Gairdner Award recipients. The only
other British Columbian to receive a
Gairdner was the late Michael Smith,
who went on to win the 1993 Nobel
Prize for Chemistry after receiving the
Gairdner International Award in 1986.
Hayden is the 15th recipient ofthe
Wightman Award and the first British
Columbian to be bestowed this honour.
"To have real voices
talking to me,
I can't explain it,
it means a lot to me
that people are
volunteering to
do this."
University students spend hours
reading every week. Whether it's
a novel, research paper or class
assignment, for someone with a print
disability, meaning they have difficulty
seeing, comprehending or physically
holding a book, access to materials in
alternative formats is critical to staying
on top of schoolwork.
At UBC, there is a long tradition
of producing human voice audio
recordings of school materials through
UBC's Crane Library, part of Access
and Diversity. Currently there are
more than 130 volunteers who spend
an average of 7,350 hours each year
narrating and recording all the audio
materials needed.
UBC's Access and Diversity facilitates
accommodations for students, staff and
faculty with disabilities, which include
alternate format materials like Braille,
electronic text, PDF and audio. Crane
Library houses an extensive collection
of alternate format materials and is one
ofthe largest producers of hum an voice
audio in Canada.
At UBC, volunteers read everything
from an undergraduate psychology
textbook to a complex philosophy
paper for a PhD student's dissertation. And Mary Taitt, who has been
volunteering with the Crane for the past
41 years, has read it all. This year, Taitt
was recognized for her dedication and
was awarded the Slonecker Award for
Outstanding Volunteer Contribution to
UBC.
"To be able to do something useful and
pass on information to all these folks
is a great motivator," says Taitt, who
believes that with all her education and
expertise, she should help give back to
the community.
Crane was established in 1968 as an
informal reading room with a gift of
some 10,000 volumes of Braille books
from the family ofthe late Charles Allan
Crane, who was both deaf and blind and
had been a UBC student in the 1930s. A
few readers were hired, production of
audio recordings began and volunteers
were recruited when extra help was
needed.
Taitt began volunteering in 1969 and
continued volunteering while working
on her PhD in Zoology, and then as
an alumnus and UBC employee. Over
the years, Mary has worked as a UBC
Research Associate, an environmental
consultant, an ecotourism whale
watching guide, and is an active
volunteer for local environmental
organizations. Taitt now works as a
faculty member at Thompson Rivers
University's Open Learning Division
and as an activist for protection of B.C.'s
natural environment.
"I've been very active in ecological
and environmental work and I've made
choices about my professional career so
that I've always been able to volunteer,"
says Taitt. "Volunteering is a very
important part of my life."
Having been a volunteer with the
Crane Library since it opened, Taitt has
seen the library evolve. "We used these
giant reel-to-reel tapes and you could
hear the machines whirling away in the
background of all the recordings."
The Crane Library now has eight
recording booths, each with its own
computer, recording software and
microphone.
Today's digital recordings are
produced to US National Braille
Association standards. The production
of audio materials follow established
standards on everything from pronunciation, to how to read a text box, and
when to break and read a caption.
"The library has really evolved into a
remarkable professional resource," says
Janet Mee, the director of Access and
Diversity. "It's extremely rewarding to
be able to provide such a quality service
for our students, faculty and staff with
print disabilities."
"To have real voices talking to me, I
can't explain it, it means a lot to me that
people are volunteering to do this," says
Katie Hobson, a UBC education student
who deals with chronic pain that makes
it difficult for her to stay in one position
and read for a long time. "The voices
are passionate and interested in the
material."
For many facilities, the cost of
producing human voice audio
recordings is too expensive. As such, the
demand for audio books is high and as
a member ofthe Canadian Association
of Educational Resources for Alternate
Format Production in Education, Crane
Library is able to share these resources
with students across the country.
"We can afford to do this because
we have such a long tradition of
volunteers," says Mee. "If it weren't
for the dedication of people like Mary,
who show up at least once a week for a
reading shift, it would be impossible to
offer this service."
"I deeply appreciate Mary for all the
volunteer service as a narrator, without
whose work I would not have been able
to carry out my academic journey at
UBC that I dreamed for," says Won Kim,
a PhD student in the Department of
Language and Literacy Education, who
has a visual disability.
But Taitt argues that she volunteers
as much for herself as for those who
listen. "If the week has gone well or if it
hasn't gone well, you know you've done
something useful," she says. "Personally,
it's very satisfying." •
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   April 2011 Creating a theory and a degree
Rajdeep Singh Gill's ideas won't be put in a box
By Heather Amos
For his PhD, Rajdeep Singh Gill has developed a philosophical and practical
outlook on the interrelationship of creativity, ethics and justice.
Celebrating 40 years
This year, UBC's Interdisciplinary Studies
Graduate Program (ISGP) is celebrating its
40th anniversary and the work of more than
300 students who have graduated from the
program. Alumni and current students of
the ISGP have studied a wide range of
topics including:
Urban Renewal, Drug-Related Disorder
and Displacement: Implications for Health
and HIV Risk Behaviour among Injection
Drug Using Populations
Storefronts, Tent Cities, and Squats:
The Forms and Meanings of Dwellings
Constructed by Persons who are Homeless
Early Childhood and War: Exploring
Child Development in Post Conflict
Northern Uganda
The Role of Aboriginal Artistic Expression
in Aboriginal Community: Politics in
Vancouver's Lower Mainland
Psychiatric Disorders and Patterns of
Mental Health Services Utilization According
to Ethnic Differences in Juvenile Detainees in
British Columbia
Acoustical Characterization of Green Roofs:
Contributions to Building Ecology and the
Urban Soundscape
Topologies and Design Methods of Folding
Structures: Expanding the Architectural
Paradigm
Impact of International Drug Policy:
Social and Structural Influences on Health
Outcomes and Health Care Access among
Injection Drug Users in Bangkok, Thailand
How Representation and Processing
of Visuospatial Information in the Brain
Influences Music Learning
Harnessing Social Capital to Reduce
Human Exposure to Pesticides: A Case Study
in Ecuador
On the Subject of Goethe and the Nature
of Pzribram: Science Studies Research on the
Nineteenth-Century Scientific Persona
Public Trust in Biobanks: The Influence
of Economic and Funding Factors
Biomedical Innovation in Regenerative
Medicine
Writing Instruction in Interdisciplinary
and Multi-disciplinary Spaces: A Critical
Ethnography of Writing Studies in Canada
Children and Adolescents Facing Extreme
Adversity: Social Ecology, Resiliency and
Psychosocial Interventions
Interdisciplinary Collaboration:
The Interface of Art & Science
Cultural Resilience in the Upper Athabasca
River Valley: The Role of Traditional
Leadership in a Modern World
Le Corbusier and the Politics of
Postcoloniality
Heidegger in the Poetry and Poetics
of Octavio Paz
Amartya Sen
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen will
receive an honorary degree from UBC
at a ceremony on April 21. Sen won the
1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
for his research on welfare economics,
human development theory and famine.
Sen's research crosses several
disciplines but he is best known
for his work to understand the
causes of famine. This work led to
the development of new policies
and solutions for preventing and
minimizing the effects of food shortages.
The honorary degree is being
presented to Sen as part ofthe
Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate
Program's 40th anniversary celebration
and as part ofthe Institute of Asian
Research's celebration ofthe 150th
anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore,
who was Asia's first Nobel Laureate
and who deeply influenced Sen. Born
on Tagore's university campus, it is
believed that Tagore gave Sen his name,
Amartya.
As part ofthe ceremony, Sen, who
is currently the Thomas W. Lamont
University Professor and Professor of
Economics and Philosophy at Harvard
University, will give an Address. •
UBC student Rajdeep Singh Gill is tall, expressive and
passionate and his mind works fast. For the past five years,
he's been trying to channel this energy and his thoughts into
a PhD dissertation that could only be described as expansive.
Gill's PhD research engages the fields of fine art, art history,
philosophy, science, media and technology, cultural studies,
indigenous studies, law, history and sociology.
A Trudeau scholar, he has developed a philosophical and
practical outlook on the interrelationship of creativity,
ethics and justice in a dissertation entitled, "Transforming
Curatorial Practice: Transdisciplinarity, Plural Worldviews
and the Creative Universe."
To Gill, creativity is the "multidimensional human and
non-human capacity to transformatively participate in the
world." He grounds such an exploration of creativity in a wide
range of examples, from cultural contributions of crows to
the technologies of plants, from Sikh philosophy to social
movements.
Within that framework Gill explains how creativity is
integral to ethical responsiveness and the gathering and
pursuit of a more comprehensive sense of justice in a diverse
and interconnected world.
"Creativity is an essential part of
human flourishing," says Gill. "We don't
normally see creativity as part of justice
but it is a good measure of whether and
how we may feel free and just in the
world."
Taking the time to explore and pull
so many different ideas and disciplines
together into a thesis has only been
possible because of opportunities
found in the Interdisciplinary Studies
Graduate Program (ISGP), in the
Faculty of Graduate Studies at UBC. Gill
is typical ofthe students in the program
who study in nearly 40 departments
and 11 research centres and institutes
across UBC.
"The world is complex and my theory
is complex and this program has given
me the room to be imaginative and for
my ideas to come together organically,"
says Gill.
This year, ISGP is celebrating its
40th anniversary and is still producing
research that integrates theory and
practice across the disciplines. More
than 300 students have graduated from
the program and have moved onto
careers in law, medicine, academia,
architecture, business, science, the arts
and government.
"One of our graduates lived in solitude
on an island off the coast of Chile for
a year as part of his studies which
integrated philosophy, psychology and
forestry," says Hillel Goelman, chair
of ISGP. "This program encourages
students to take ownership of their
work. They decide what and how to
study."
Every student has an individualized
program of study and the program has
no required courses that all students
must take. Students who want to bring
together ideas from various fields don't
have to look for a program that fits
their interests. They design their own
program.
"They are the centre of their program,"
explains Goelman. "In consultation
with their interdisciplinary supervisory
committee, they decide which classes to
take, what their research will look like
and whom they consult as an expert."
"ISGP encourages you to have
integrity over your vision and your
project," says Gill.
This student-directed format worked
perfectly for Gill because it gave him
the freedom to choose how to carry out
his research and where.
For the first four years of his PhD,
Gill lived and worked from the Gulf
Islands where he began forming his
research ideas. He also spent time
managing the organization Creativity
Commons Collective and Press, traveling
internationally for research, teaching
at Emily Carr and interacting with
interdisciplinary thinkers, policy makers,
artists, and public intellectuals through
annual Trudeau Foundation events.
Gill believes that we should not separate
our commitments and understandings
into compartments.
"The world doesn't work by disciplines,
and the way I conduct my life
acknowledges this interconnectivity,"
he says. "The indivisibility of justice
necessitates that we learn to think
creatively and relate across worldviews." •
To learn more about the ISGP and
anniversary events: www.isgp.ubc.ca
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   April 2011 Your Conference
Planning Partner at UBC
Improving dental ergonomics
You're in the chair, but your dentist feels the pain.
The UBC Dentistry program is changing that
By Lorraine Chan
Hosting a conference at UBC? We can make it easy.
We offer full management and registration services and have experienced
and knowledgeable staff. Let us help you customize a program to suit your
needs and budget.
With UBC's unique venues and state-of-the-art facilities, your meeting
at UBC will no doubt be a memorable success!
VANCOUVER OKANAGAN
T 604 822 1060 T 250 807 8050
E conferences@housing.ubc.ca E conferences.ubco@ubc.ca
ubcconferences.com okanagan.ubcconferences.com
The key is to develop muscle memory for working in balance, says Dr. Lance Rucker.
West Coast Suites
Deluxe Hotel Suites, West Coast Style
EVERYONE CAN STAY WITH US
Contemporary, beautifully appointed, limited service deluxe hotel
suite for visitors and business travelers to Vancouver.
• Centrally located on campus
• Fully-equipped kitchen and complimentary wireless internet
• Ideal for short or long term stays
• Available year round
UBC
w
Conferences &
Accommodation
Vancouver
PETER   WALL   DOWNTOWN   LECTURE   SERIES
J. Craig Venter, leading genomic
scientist and sequencer of the
human genome, speaks on the
construction of the first synthetic
cell and the global ocean sampling
expedition.Tuesday May 3, 7:30pm
at The Vogue Theatre 918 Granville
Street. Tickets are at no charge but
must be reserved and are in limited
Balance range for back: Vertical spine in balance at 0° (left)
slightly out of balance at 10° (centre) and strained out of
balance at 15° (right)
T 604 822 1000
E reservations@housing.ubc.ca
www.ubcconferences.com
1
2
3
4
5
Students are taught
to always check
five key factors for
ergonomic dentistry:
The clinician's seat is stable and at the
correct height for balance.
The patient's oral cavity should be at
clinician's heart height and centered in
front of the clinician.
The patient's headrest must be adjusted
so that the patient's maxillary plane
(upper jaw) is vertically positioned for
best access.
There is clearance around the supine
patient's head to allow unimpeded
operator access from the 10 o'clock
position to the 2 o'clock position.
The overhead operating light beam is
within 15 degrees of the clinician's
eye-line.
supply. Contact www.pwias.ubc.ca
ented by the Peter Wall
for Advanced Studies.
-in the conversation.
a place of mind
FOR ADVANCED STUDIES
€* Genome
C3 BritishColumbia
Hunching over like Quasimodo can take its toll, but until
recently, dentists didn't know they had a choice.
"Traditionally, pain was considered part and parcel ofthe
profession," says Dr. Lance Rucker, professor in the Faculty of
Dentistry and director of Clinical Ergonomics and Simulation.
"As a result, three out of five dentists live with pain and end up
losing days of practice each year."
Recent North American statistics show that 67 per cent of
dentists and 80 per cent of dental hygienists in North America
experience musculoskeletal problems, primarily in the neck
and back. However, over the past 15 years, there has been a
major awakening, says Rucker.
"Clinicians have started to realize that chronic discomfort
and injuries are preventable."
And since the 1990s, Rucker—a leading global expert
on dental ergonomics education and ergonomics clinical
assessment—has been helping to refine UBC curriculum and
M
We've heard from many of our students
that one of the reasons they've decided
to come to UBC is for the integrated
clinical ergonomics."
develop specialized teaching equipment.
"We've heard from many of our
students that one ofthe reasons they've
decided to come to UBC is for the
integrated clinical ergonomics," says
Rucker. "The word on the street is that
our graduates do not undergo the same
wear and tear as graduates from other
universities."
Indeed, a 2001 B.C. Workers
Compensation Board survey showed
that UBC-trained dentists and dental
hygienists—about half of those working
in the province—were statistically less
likely to suffer low back pain.
Rucker explains that from the outset,
UBC students develop muscle memory
for working in balance—rather than
contorting their bodies—while wielding
the required instruments and accessing
the necessary areas to operate in the
patient's mouth.
Students also learn how to optimally
adjust equipment, from tilting the
patient's headrest to controlling the
angle ofthe operatorylight.
"Although most modern dental
equipment is designed with basic
ergonomics in mind, I always tell
students, if the setting isn't working for
you, then you're working for the setting,"
says Rucker, who also specializes in
operatory design concepts.
He recently took part in a World
Health Organization initiative to
provide enhanced simulation training
for oral health care workers in Thailand
and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
And over the past five years, he has
consulted on the design and construction of many new educational and
private clinic facilities in North
America, including Jamaica's first oral
health training facility in Kingston,
which just opened for patient care in
September 2010.
To further spread the ergonomics
message, Rucker is working with
longtime research collaborator Dr.
Michael Belenky, former professor at
the University of Maryland, Baltimore
Dental School, to produce an online
manual for clinical ergonomics
assessments and tools.
Working with oral health
professionals throughout North
America, Rucker provides ergonomic
practice assessment that first identifies
the factors that contribute to the
ergonomics risk profile ofthe clinician.
He then provides practical solutions
to prevent further musculoskeletal
injuries and to reduce risk factors
linked with musculoskeletal symptoms.
"Within four to six weeks after a few
retraining sessions, most motivated
clinicians can re-educate their muscles
to operate in balance as a matter of
habit," says Rucker. •
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   April 2011 a place of mind
av system design & integration
digital signage
presentation webcast & capture
av equipment rentals & repair
audio-visual services
av supplies & equipment sales
Create.
Communicate
Educate.
creative services
photography
video & media production
medical illustration/animation
graphic design
large-format printing
lamination
Mapping the
Landscapes of
Chi
ood
CONFERENCE
The landscape of child studies has changed.
Considering childhoods of the past, present and future, scholars
will present research results, policy approaches, and theoretical
paradigms that are emergent in this re-engagement with the
child and childhoods.
May 5 to 7, 2011
University of Lethbridge | Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
To register or for more information, visit the conference
website: www.ulethbridge.ca/conreg/childhoods
SPONSORED BY:
The Prentice Institute for
Global Population and
Economy; Alberta Centre for
Child, Family and Community
Research; Social Sciences
and Humanities Research
Council of Canada.
University of
Lethbridge
Wrongful conviction
A legal expert is examining how factors
like improper expert testimony may derail
the justice system
By Simmi Puri
UBC Law Prof. Emma Cunliffe researches wrongful convictions of murder against mothers.
On May 21, 2003, Kathleen Megan Folbigg was found guilty
of killing her four children who died over the course of a
decade. She was later sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
The widely publicized case sparked a global debate around
her innocence. Was Folbigg Australia's worst female serial
killer or was her case a serious breakdown of the justice
system, in which a bereaved mother had been wrongfully
convicted of murder?
It's a question that resonated with UBC Law Prof. Emma
Cunliffe, whose ground-breaking work focuses on the factors
that led to the wrongful accusations of murder against
mothers in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
"From the early 1990s up until 2005, there were at least 18
wrongful convictions of parents in Canada, Australia and
the United Kingdom," says Cunliffe. "It's a distressingly high
number and I wanted to understand why this happened in
three jurisdictions at about the same time."
Much of Cunliffe's research focuses on homicide trials.
Specifically, she looks at the way in which experts, such as
pathologists who provide medical evidence about an infant's
death, provide testimony.
"One ofthe extraordinary things I find is that academics
and doctors who publish their research
in peer-reviewed journals tend to be
extremely careful about the limits
of their knowledge," she says. "They
identify what they can be sure about
and where they are uncertain. But
when these same experts come into a
courtroom to give testimony they are
often much less careful. They run the
risk of misleading courts about their
capacity to diagnose the causes of an
infant's death."
Her critical assessment ofthe
relationship between medical research
and expert testimony is the only one of
its kind. Cunliffe advocates that courts
should look closely at the differences
between research and testimony and
be more critical of experts who have
become partisan.
"In my research I saw cases where the
expert initially said that a death might
be murder or might be from natural
causes and then said in court that the
death absolutely is murder and can't
be anything else. In these cases, the
expert had no new, medically relevant
knowledge that would change the
original diagnosis. Courts should see
warning signs when experts change
their story."
Cunliffe has carefully studied cases
such as Folbigg's, and the medical
research on which these cases depend.
She found that most pathologists agree
that they cannot reliably distinguish
between smothering and natural causes
of death in very young children.
"No one can be sure how the Folbigg
children died," says Cunliffe. "But
our law says that a person is innocent
until proven guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt. Some ofthe experts
in Folbigg's case misled the court
about the confidence with which
they could diagnose murder. In these
circumstances, Folbigg is entitled to the
benefit ofthe doubt."
Cunliffe also recommends that courts
examine the cultural assumptions made
by these same experts.
"There are cultural stereotypes of
what good parenting looks like that
play into the diagnosis of murder. Some
experts, lawyers and police operate
on the belief that murder happens in
certain sorts of families. As a result,
they unfairly perpetuate a stereotype
that families from certain economic or
cultural backgrounds are more likely to
commit these crimes. Frankly, there is
no medical research that suggests that
this is a fair way to proceed."
During the time of Folbigg's trial,
Cunliffe (originally from Australia)
was pursuing her Master's degree at
the UBC Faculty of Law. She joined the
faculty as a tenure track professor while
completing her PhD.
In May last year Cunliffe, together
with UBC Law Prof. Christine Boyle,
was awarded a research grant of
$101,893 by the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of
Canada (SSHRC) for a three-year
research project called "Reconsidering
Child Homicide: Investigation,
evidence, and fact determination in
Canadian cases, 1990-2010."
The project has produced a survey
of child death and child homicide
prosecutions in Canada as background
to a study ofthe transcripts of a series
of criminal trials. Cunliffe will use
this research to identify strategies
for improving investigation and fact
determination in child homicide cases.
In addition, she conducted a survey
of expert evidence in the B.C. Supreme
Court and Court of Appeal, with
funding from the Law Foundation of
B.C. The survey analyses all decisions
on the admissibility of expert evidence
between 1994 and 2009 and is the first
comprehensive study of this kind in
Canada. The goal is to identify which
types of expertise are most likely to
be disputed at trial, and to understand
more about the basis on which
objections are made.
As for Folbigg, she remains in prison
and continues to assert her innocence.
Cunliffe's forthcoming book, Murder,
Medicine and Motherhood (Hart
Publishing, June 2011), provides a
detailed case study of Folbigg's murder
trial and the appeals and explores how
legal process, medical knowledge and
expectations of motherhood work
together when a mother is charged
with killing infants who have died in
mysterious circumstances. Cunliffe
argues that Folbigg was wrongly
convicted. •
Learn more about UBC's Faculty of Law
at www.law.ubc.ca
High school
students solve
UBC murder
mystery
By Ashley Turk
A researcher is found dead hunched over her lab bench, and
seven suspects are in custody. Now it's up to 30 high school
students to determine who killed her.
That's the premise for "CSI at the LSI," a murder mystery-
based science outreach program for high school students. The
program, designed to get students interested in science as a
career, is hosted by UBC's Life Sciences Institute (LSI).
Students from Grade 10-12 are invited to the LSI, where
graduate students and post-docs set the scene: a female
graduate student has been found dead at her bench, and the
students must use basic scientific techniques to test evidence
collected from the scene and find her killer.
A workbook provides additional background, and includes
mug shots and possible motives for each suspect. The
workbook also contains methodology for the experiments the
students will be performing, along with prepared samples of
blood, skin, hair, and saliva.
Students are broken up into groups and assigned one
of four samples, which they evaluate using DNA analysis,
protein analysis, fluorescence imaging techniques, or classical
microbiology procedures.
After completing their workshops, students are asked to
reconvene to share their results and use deductive reasoning
to rule out suspects one-by-one.
Students must use basic
scientific techniques to test
evidence collected from
the scene.
"It was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be,"
one student from Eric Hamber Senior Secondary said in his
post-workshop feedback. "It was cool to see how the electron
microscope worked."
"Everyone was really helpful," said another. "We learned
how to use a pipette and how bacterial cultures are grown. It
was great to do the experiments ourselves in a real lab."
"These students are a motivated bunch," says their teacher
Brenda Dowle, head ofthe science department at Eric Hamber.
"Still, being part of CSI at the LSI was a real eye-opener.
"I could see the passion and excitement in their eyes while
they were doing the workshops."
Initially designed as part of Celebrate Research - UBC's
week-long celebration of research and its impact on the
society - the program has been popular with students,
teachers and now has received attention from academia and
government funders.
The program's methodology was published in the December
2010 issue ofthe Journal of Microbiology and Biology
Education and was recently awarded $14,500 from Year of
Science, a Province of B.C. initiative that encourages youth to
explore the world of science.
The grant will allow LSI to host an extended, two-day
version ofthe program for schools outside the greater
Vancouver area and cover the cost of meals, transportation
and overnight accommodation for students, teachers, and
chaperones, as well as an expanded number of hands-on
activities.
The expanded program will also build in more time for
students to spend with graduate students and post-doctoral
fellows, as well as a panel session with members ofthe LSI who
will share their educational experiences.
"At the end ofthe day, the students gather to use the results
from the workshops to determine the killer," says Santiago
Ramon-Garcia, co-creator ofthe program. "It's great to see
them collaborate and share what they've learned." •
8
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James Card was planting trees in a remote part of northern
B.C. in the summer of 2000 when news came over the radio
from Prince George—thousands of residents had gathered at
the local arena to protest the shortage of physicians.
"It kind of got me thinking that it would be a good job in
terms of future employability," he says. "That's when the seed
started to set. It was not something I had grown up wanting to
do, but I saw the opportunity."
When the time had come to act on his idea, that rally had
borne fruit—UBC's medical education program was expanding
beyond the Lower Mainland, to Prince George and Victoria. By
distributing doctor training around the province, the thinking
went, more doctors would be likely to set up their practices
throughout the province.
10
Dr. Jennifer Parker is among the first cohort of MD's from UBC's
distributed medical education program who chose to work in
Nothern BC.
Card was accepted into the inaugural class ofthe Northern
Medical Program, hosted by the University of Northern British
Columbia. He and his 23 classmates experienced the same
curriculum as their fellow UBC students in Vancouver and
Victoria, with many classes conducted by videoconferencing.
Now, having completed four years of medical school and
two years of postgraduate training (or "residency") in family
medicine, Dr. Card is one ofthe first family doctors produced
by UBC's distributed medical education program.
He has stayed in Prince George, filling in for physicians
who are vacation or maternity leave, or helping out in
the Emergency Department ofthe University Hospital of
Northern BC. But he also ventures around the province,
performing "locums"—short stints—for weeks or months at
a time, at clinics or hospitals. He has worked in the northern
town of Mackenzie (pop. 4,500), the bustling maternity ward
of Surrey Memorial Hospital, and even his home town of
Maple Ridge.
"It's a neat way to see the province," he says. "I like the
variety."
Some of Dr. Card's former classmates have chosen a less
peripatetic path since completing their family practice
residencies—and true to plan, they have settled in the North.
Jennifer Parker, who dreamed of being a doctor since
the age of six, is tending to patients in Fort St. John, a 480
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   April 2011
kilometre-drive north from Prince
George. A Cree Metis who was raised in
the northern B.C. towns of Chetwynd
and Fort Nelson, she was intent on
returning to the region as a doctor.
So after earning her MD, Dr. Parker
also opted for a residency in the north,
in Ft. St. John. Before long, she was
thinking about settling there.
"The medical community here is very
friendly, welcoming, accepting and very
supportive of one another," she says. "I
just got to do so much in that space of
time, and everybody was so excited to
teach me."
She is one ofthe few B.C. born-and-
raised physicians in town; most ofthe
others are transplants from South
Africa, the U.K., Australia and other
Canadian provinces. Her days are long
and varied, and can easily include
delivering babies, assisting in surgery,
seeing patients in the family practice
she has joined, and working in the
hospital's emergency room. She also
travels to outlying towns, such as
Hudson's Hope, every month.
"This was sort of what I had
envisioned to begin with, and being in
"The medical
community here is
very friendly,
welcoming,
accepting and very
supportive of one
another."
the Northern Medical Program, I was
able to easily confirm that this is what I
wanted," she says.
Brian Hillhouse, like Dr. Parker, also
was raised in the north. Although he
spent years earning a bachelor's and
master's degree at UBC's Vancouver
campus, he wanted to return to
hometown Prince George as a family
doctor. The opening ofthe Northern
Medical Program, in his hometown,
seemed tailored just for him.
Upon completing his residency in
Prince George, he joined a practice
there; he also sees patients at a walk-in
clinic and the hospital's Emergency
Department, where it becomes clear just
how many more like him are needed.
His fellow physicians estimate that a
third ofthe town's residents don't have
a family doctor.
"When I work in a walk-in clinic or
in the emergency department, every
day I'm faced with the dilemma—'How
do I get this person to follow up?'" Dr.
Hillhouse says. "Usually the shortcut is
I see them in my office for that problem,
because otherwise there would be no
follow-up." •
The buck stops here
Prof studies environmental accountability of financiers
By Basil Waugh
Should banks and investment firms be held accountable when they bankroll
corporations that harm the environment?
That's a question being tackled by Benjamin Richardson, UBC Canada Research
Chair in Environmental Law and Sustainability, who is exploring how to advance
socially responsible investing in the financial sector.
Richardson, who joined UBC's Faculty of Law in January, says that many
corporations that cause environmental degradation and climate change are enabled
by the "unseen polluters" that finance their ventures, including banks, investment
firms, mutual funds and pension plans.
"For many people, the financial sector is simply a transactional mechanism: people
lend money, buy shares and hope for returns," says Richardson, who joins UBC
from York University's Osgoode Hall Law School, following stints at the University
of Auckland, and the University of Manchester. "In fact, the investment or lending
decisions banks and other financiers make can have huge downstream impacts on
the environment, in addition to social consequences, such as for human rights."
But while environmental laws exist to hold corporations accountable for their
impacts, these don't normally extend to the financiers that support them, says
Richardson, a native of Sydney, Australia. "Financial institutions therefore might
have little incentive to consider the environmental implications of their decisions,"
he says.
"Environmental laws exist to hold
corporations accountable for their impacts,
but these don't normally extend to the
financiers that support them."
However, with public concern for the environment growing, Richardson says
the pressure is mounting on government, business, and the financial sector to
adopt more environmentally friendly business practices, investment policies and
regulations.
"The environmental protests that once occurred in front of bulldozers are now
occurring in banks and corporate locations," says Richardson, naming Alberta's oil
sands as Canada's most pressing environmental issue. "They are drawing attention
to the seminal role that financial institutions play"
Beyond public pressure, a growing body of research suggests there sometimes
are financial advantages to investing socially responsibly, Richardson says. The
problem is a mismatch between financial and environmental "returns": the social
and environmental benefits tend to accrue over the long-term, while fund managers
must demonstrate financial returns in the near-term.
Richardson is working with a number of stakeholders—oil, mining and investment
companies, investors, fund managers, First Nations and international NGOs—to
understand barriers to socially responsible investment (SRI) and to determine
where inroads are most likely to succeed.
One area well-positioned for advances is pension funds, he says. "It is an untenable
position for any organization that aspires or claims to be socially responsible to hold
investments that contribute to environmental degradation or human suffering," says
Richardson, who injured his right eye as a teenager and wears a patch.
He offers Norway's Global Pension Fund as an important global precedent.
The fund has an SRI policy and actively divests from companies that harm the
environment. In contrast, Canada's Pension Plan has a less stringent requirement to
engage in "dialogue" with the polluters in its portfolio of over 2,000 companies, he
says.
Ethical mutual funds are another force for SRI. Richardson says a number of
reputable funds now exist on the market, including in Canada—a far cry from their
Milestones in socially responsible investing:
18
th Century
20
th Century
Quakers refuse to participate
in the trans-Atlantic slave trade
Ethical investors led by religious groups
boycott companies in South Africa
during Apartheid
Benjamin Richardson says the financial sector can have major impacts—good or bad-
on the environment.
antecedents, which lacked rigorous investment strategies and sometimes suffered
from low returns.
Despite these inroads, moving SRI from niche status to the mainstream will
require regulations, Richardson says. "You can outline myriad reasons for
institutions to change—ethics, public opinion, the business case, research evidence-
but some will still refuse," he says. "We need informed public policy and legal
intervention, because the market alone isn't going to do it. There needs to be a level
playing field and mechanisms to discourage 'greenwash.'"
Richardson traces his connection to the environment to a pivotal moment in his
youth. "When I was a boy we lived in a rural village in England, where I was appalled
how some ofthe local kids would look for bird nests, pilfer the eggs and smash them
as a hobby," he says. "I have always been deeply connected to the environment, but
that was one of my transformational experiences."
Richardson sees much progress since observing that hostility to the environment.
"We have environmental laws today that would have been unimaginable years ago,"
he says. "Back in the 1980s and '90s,
Margaret Thatcher and other leaders
were incredibly hostile to the idea of
carbon tax. But in 2001, the UK created
the climate change levy, which has
a similar purpose. And in 2005 the
European Union introduced a regional
cap and trade scheme for carbon
polluters—so we are definitely moving
forward." •
For more information,
visit www.law.ubc.ca
21st
Century
Norway's Global Pension Fund starts
divesting from mining giant RioTinto
and Wal-Mart on environmental or
labour grounds
Richardson's
projects include:
The role local governments can play
as climate change regulators while
bottlenecks occur in law-making at
international and national levels
The role of socially responsible
investors in improving Canadian
extractive industries
Hosting conferences and workshops
that will examine issues of financier and
corporate environmental responsibility
Planning a new global environmental
internship program at UBC's Centre
for Law and the Environment, which
Richardson directs, that will place UBC
and visiting law students with
organizations for real-world experience
dealing with environmental regulation
and policy problems
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A home that doesn't
need heat
Building a B.C. version of a European home
that stays warm without a furnace
By Heather Amos
Green features
come to life
A campus building that will model new
environmental technologies nears completion
By Lynn Warburton
UBC
Department of Physics & Astronomy presents
Phenomenal Physics Summer Camps
July4-July 29, 2011
SCUBA DIVING! ROCKETS!
Learn physics concepts through hands-on FUN!!!
Camps available for Grades 2-4, 4-6, 5-7, and 8-10
For more information, or to register, visit our website
http://outreach.phas.ubc.ca/SummerCamps/
Questions? Email us at camps@phas.ubc.ca
Kell Hansen (left) and Robert Fiirst are working to make a B.C. version of a home that requires no extra energy to heat.
IUBC       a place of mind
THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
/
ANNOUNCING
The
Peter Wall
Solutions
Initiative
UBC has launched a unique new
program, the Peter Wall Solutions
Initiative (PWSI), to support university
researchers from across UBC disciplines
and their community partners working
on innovative ways to develop practical
solutions with tangible benefits.
With initial funding of
$3M
the Peter Wall Endowment to support
projects, the goal is to advance solutions
and address issues that matter
to society including, but certainly not
limited to, sustainability, health care
delivery, poverty alleviation, economic
policy, community wellness, diversity,
natural resources, and other unique ideas
that come forward.
UBC researchers are invited to submit
Letters of Intent by
31 May
For more information visit:
www.research.ubc.ca/vpri/ubc-peter-wall
-solutions-initiative
12
As the story goes, when the three little
pigs built their houses out of straw,
sticks and brick, it was only the house
of bricks that was strong enough to
stand up to the big bad wolf. But the
Faculty of Forestry is working on a
house of sticks to prove that wood can
be just as good, at least when it comes
to energy use.
Using B.C. wood products, the Centre
for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP)
and the Department of Wood Science,
are working with a B.C.-based Brash
Ventures Ltd. to build a passive energy
home, a home that needs almost no
external source of energy to heat.
"We have to do things like this because
the cost of natural resources like oil and
gas are going up and we're consuming
too much of them," says Robert Fiirst, a
senior instructor in the Department of
Wood Science, who is leading UBC's side
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   April 2011
ofthe project.
Passive houses stay warm without
a furnace because they are so well
insulated that they trap in heat created
in the home. They do this through walls
much thicker than normal and with
breathable insulation. Items like the
oven, an electrical hot water heater
and people, generate enough warmth
to keep the home cozy. When required,
solar energy and heat exchange pumps
can be used to bridge any additional
need for energy.
Because of their ability to minimize
energy consumption, the passive home
market is growing rapidly in Germany
and other parts of Europe. Despite all
the forests and wood available here
in Canada, the passive home idea has
not taken off. Now Brash Ventures Ltd.
is working to build a "Canadianized"
model ofthe German passive home.
At 12 inches thick, the walls are double the
thickness of most walls in British Columbia.
The company turned to CAWP to
collaborate through its Business
Innovation Partnership program. When
CAWP was created, its objectives
included working with businesses to
make the knowledge and expertise at
the university accessible to industry. It
works with companies to get unique
ideas off the ground.
"Whether it's building a prototype, a
business plan or showing a company
how it can best manufacture a product,
we have the expertise to help," says
Iain Macdonald, managing director of
CAWP. "Our students get to work on
these real-world projects and it really
enriches their opportunities."
The goal ofthe industry-university
project is to create a prototype of a
B.C. passive home. As this is the first
attempt to build a passive home in
Canada, the cost hasn't been established.
In Germany, passive houses are
approximately 15 to 20 per cent more
expensive to build than regular homes.
The structure ofthe house is made
of lumber and the insulation is made
from excess waste products generated
in the manufacturing process. Instead
of releasing the carbon found in wood
back into the atmosphere by burning it
or letting it decompose, the carbon is
sequestered in the building for decades.
Passive homes are not only
****
Rainforest canopies with their tall trees and vines are amazing sources of energy.
They regulate the climate for people, plants and animals living below.
In April, UBC's Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS),
expected to be the world's greenest building when it opens this fall, will create
its own version of a forest canopy across the top two stories of its three-story
exterior west facade. The lush green wall will be planted in front of windows with a
fast-growing vine, Virginia Creeper, to create a comfortable interior climate.
In summer, its dense green leaves will provide shade and protection from the heat
ofthe sun. In autumn, the leaves turn a spectacular flaming red and then drop so the
sun can filter through the glass. Inhabitants won't be the only ones to benefit from
the green wall. The plants' blue-black berries are a winter food source for birds.
The plants will appear to be growing from the building but are actually supported
on a steel frame that stands alone. "It's actually a simple system," says Alberto
Cayuela, associate director ofthe UBC Sustainability Initiative. The sun's heat is
blocked by shade to cool temperatures and as temperatures drop, shines through
windows creating heat when it's needed."
The vegetated wall, which will advance the idea of cost-free control of indoor
climate, is one of the many ways CIRS will be a living laboratory for sustainability. •
environmentally sustainable but also
support healthy living. Homes are built
from natural products such as wood
and wood-fibre insulation panels and
water-based finishes are used.
"European passive homes are treated
like a living organism. They call it
'building biology,'" says Kell Hansen, a
fourth year Wood Products Processing
student who is working on the passive
home for a co-op placement.
"Unlike most Canadian homes where
the insulation works as a plastic bag,
locking everything in, the walls of a
passive home are breathable, allowing
fresh air to circulate."
At 12 inches thick, the walls are
double the thickness of most walls in
British Columbia. They're filled with
insulation made out of wood fibre and
work to filter out dampness and air
pollutants.
Despite all the benefits ofthe passive
homes, Fiirst and Hansen have run up
against some major obstacles in British
Columbia. The building codes are
different here than those in Germany.
In Germany, prefabricated walls and
ceiling panels can be used without prior
inspection ofthe building.
"I have never done construction
before," says Hansen. "This was a
chance to get involved in construction
but also to show that maybe we can
do this sort of thing in North America,
using our products and our knowledge."
"In the long run, these types of projects
are about changing people's perspective
on wood products, how we use them and
how we build," says Fiirst. •
13 COVER STORY
Heart disease high among
immigrant group
Study aims to find better ways to promote cardiac
rehabilitation
By Lorraine Chan
Arts Dean Gage Averill
on the Grammy experience
Community
health outreach
Assoc. Prof. John Oliffe will moderate
"Let's talk about dhil dhee sehayth (heart
health!)," a free public talk on April 29,
6 pm - 8 pm at the Sunset Community
Centre in Vancouver. The panel is part of
the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research's Cafe Scientifique.
For more details, visit: www.nursing.ubc.
ca/Research/documents/Cafe_
Scientifique_Apr29,2011.pdf
At Surrey's Newton Branch Library,
Oliffe, Bindy Kang, and Suki Grewal will
discuss South Asian Canadian men's
health experiences on May 14, 2 pm -
3:30 pm. The free event is presented by
the Surrey Public Library, Irving K. Barber
Learning Centre and UBC Woodward
Library. Space is limited.
To reserve a seat, contact 604.827.4366
or ikblc-events@interchange.ubc.ca.
A live Q&A webcast of this event will be
available at: http://tiny.cc/oliffe
Researcher John Oliffe looks at the complex links between masculinity, culture and health.
Nominee Gage Averill and daughter at the 2011 Grammys.
South Asian men—those who originate
from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal
or Sri Lanka—are amongst the largest
groups of immigrants in B.C. However,
little is known about their health
behaviours, experiences of illness, or
how they relate to and engage with
Canadian health care services.
Seeking to change that is School of
Nursing Assoc. Prof. John Oliffe, whose
work looks at the complex links between
masculinity, culture and health, with
previous studies on prostate cancer,
smoking, depression and immigrant
men's health.
Oliffe recently led a research team to
develop more effective ways to promote
healthy heart and cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs among South Asian
Canadian men.
"There is a high rate of heart
disease among South Asians that is
seen worldwide," explains Oliffe.
"South Asian men tend to experience
cardiac disease much earlier in life
and in greater numbers than those of
European, British or Chinese ancestry-
even if risk factors such as hypertension
or smoking are the same."
Researchers have not yet been able to
discover the causes, he says. "However,
health professionals are emphasizing
secondary prevention programs such as
The research team
worked with a cohort
of 30 Canadian men
of Indian ancestry,
all Punjabi-speaking,
who had experienced
a recent heart attack.
CR, which can reduce the risk of early
death by about 25 per cent."
CR measures include changes to
diet and exercise and sessions with
health specialists, among them
nurses, occupational therapists and
physiotherapists. Across all Canadian
communities, the sign up rate for CR
programs is low, about 20 to 30 per cent.
However, the participation rate among
South Asian Canadians falls even below
that, says Oliffe.
To find out why, the research
team worked with a cohort of 30
Canadian men of Indian ancestry, all
Punjabi-speaking, who had experienced
a recent heart attack. Over a 12-month
period, the researchers conducted
interviews with the study participants,
both those who had attended CR and
those who hadn't.
"Knowing what facilitated or
prevented their CR participation can
help us recommend more effective
healthcare strategies," says Oliffe.
For some ofthe men, factors such
as language or lack of transportation presented barriers to CR. Others
described strong beliefs and practices
that influenced their health decisions.
The Sikh spiritual tenet dharam dee
kiratkarnee, for example, stresses
self-reliance and care for oneself.
These and other spiritual beliefs
could feature in culturally specific
health outreach programs, says Oliffe.
"The tenet dharam dee kirat karnee can
also support seeking out medical care
and participating in CR."
The men also discussed seva, which
in Punjabi means selfless service. An
example of seva would be the free
communal meals or langar, prepared by
members of Sikh gurudwaras, which are
Sikh places of worship.
"While the local practice is for women
to do most ofthe cooking," explains
Oliffe, "the men take part in serving as a
way to practice their faith."
Similarly, the men could provide
community service by encouraging one
another to do or learn more about heart
health, he says.
Oliffe says that the strong collectivist
foundations of South Asian culture—
especially evident at Sikh gurudwaras
and seniors' groups—"would provide
time- and cost-efficient opportunities
to reach many men at a place where they
routinely congregate."
The study received support from
the Institute of Gender and Health,
Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The study co-authors are: Paul Galdas,
a lecturer at Sheffield University;
Langara College School of Nursing
educator Suki Grewal; Claire Prentice,
nurse coordinator at Surrey Memorial
Hospital's cardiac outpatient program;
Prof. Joy Johnson; Prof. Pam Ratner;
Assoc. Prof. Sabrina Wong and PhD
candidate Bindy Kang, all at UBC School
of Nursing. •
Although I have poked fun at the entertainment industry's obsessively
self-congratulatory award shows for years, I have to say that it was a thrill
(even if a hypocritical one) to attend the 2011 Grammys.
First, we were able to bring together most ofthe team that worked on my project,
Alan Lomax in Haiti, 1936-37, a 10-CD and DVD boxed set, including engineers,
producers, fundraisers and family members. Some of us were meeting in person for
the first time after years of phone and e-mail collaboration. At our small luncheon at
a Hollywood eatery, former California Governor Grey Davis surprised us with a visit
to congratulate the team.
Second, it was a treat to watch the show with my seven-year-old daughter. With
a cast from Jagger to Gaga and Eminem to Streisand and even Dylan, it was an
impressive smorgasbord of talent with lots of unpredictable moments. Among
her favourites were the performance by the British band Muse and the colorful,
Muppet-inspired Cee Lo Green duet with Gweneth Paltrow (F**** You).
Of course, there were many celebrity-sightings (a somewhat redundant concept
when most ofthe audience have some claim on celebrityhood): we sat near Elvis
Costello and Dianna Krall, had Rihanna and Cyndi Lauper parading below us, and
stood at the party with Esperanza Spaulding, the talented winner for Best New Artist.
Although the industry is in its death throes, the Recording Academy puts on a
good show and the Grammys are one ofthe last award shows to cover the gamut
of genres. The Academy clearly wanted to link generations through tribute pieces
and performances with mentors, and kept the telecast performance-heavy, leaving
most ofthe awards to the earlier, pre-telecast ceremony, where my categories were
announced.
Oh, and we lost in our two categories. But it was only about five minutes of
disappointment, and then back to enjoying the show. In one category we lost to The
Beatles, so who's going to complain?
Gage Averill
UBC Faculty of Arts
Hear Averill discuss his project and nomination at ubcproftalk.blogspot.com
14
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   April 2011
15 Investigating violence
against Aboriginal women
By Jody Jacob
Robyn Bourgeois teaches a course on Women and Popular Culture at UBC's Okanagan
campus and is researching violence against Aboriginal women in Canada
In quiet moments, PhD student Robyn Bourgeois sometimes finds herself
wondering what might have become of serial killer Robert Pickton's victims had
they escaped the culture of drugs and violence that plagues women in Vancouver's
Downtown Eastside.
These questions have helped motivate Bourgeois in her pursuit of both a higher
education and activism in the area of violence against women and girls, with a
specific focus on Aboriginal women and girls.
"My PhD dissertation is a critical analysis ofthe native anti-violence movement
that has been addressing violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada over
the last 30 years," says Bourgeois, who is Lubicon Cree.
Bourgeois notes that more than 600 Aboriginal women have gone missing or been
murdered across Canada in the last 30 years. Those are the statistics for documented
police cases, but she says most experts believe the actual number is much higher.
"The research is disturbing," says Bourgeois. "Eight out of 10 Aboriginal women
will experience violence in their lifetimes. Seventy-five per cent of Aboriginal girls
under the age of 18 have been sexually abused. To say that Aboriginal women are
being targeted in Canada is really an understatement."
Bourgeois says her research not only examines this culture of violence in Canada,
but aims to recognize and celebrate the fact that Aboriginal women have been
spearheading the anti-violence movement from the beginning.
Bourgeois cites the example an Aboriginal grandmother who, with her own resources,
created the website www.missingnativewomen.org—a comprehensive database of
missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada.
"These individuals, along with groups like the Native Women's Association and
Aboriginal Women's Action Network, have kept this movement alive. Now with social
media they has been able to reach audiences like never before," she says.
Bourgeois has spent six years immersed in activist organizations all over Canada
in order to get a 360-degree view ofthe Aboriginal women anti-violence movement-
how it took shape, who was involved and how it has evolved. She also spoke to many
family members related to missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls, and
analyzed key legal cases of missing and murdered Canadian Aboriginal women that
were central to her research—including the Missing Women case in the Downtown
Eastside and Robert Pickton's related arrest, trial and conviction.
In addition to studying activism, Bourgeois focuses strongly on examining what
role the state plays as perpetuators of violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
"We live in a system that really has normalized violence against Aboriginal women.
My research shows that the history of colonialism in Canada is entrenched in
violence against Aboriginal women," she says.
"And although my focus is on Aboriginal women, I am trying to reinforce that
the entire system—this same system that allows native women to be killed—is the
exact same system that allows other marginalized people to be killed with relative
impunity."
Bourgeois argues that the state could drastically reduce violence against women if
it sent a message that it wouldn't be tolerated.
"If we stepped up as Canadians, and the state stepped up and said violence against
women is intolerable and we're going to penalize it, we could drastically cut the rates
of violence—but we don't," she says. "In fact, my research shows we have a system
that is very lenient towards violence against women, especially Aboriginal women."
she says.
Bourgeois' doctoral thesis includes a section with recommendations to
policy-makers on how to reduce this violence. •
\
UBC Department of Computer Science presents
TECHTREK SUMMER CAMPS!
Get set... compute!
Inspired by our extremely popular Saturday workshop series, UBC
Computer Science brings youTechTrek summer camps! Take
computers to a whole new level with a wide range of activities
intended to excite, amaze, and teach you REAL skills. Computer
science brings a wealth of possibilities. Don't just sit back and
wait for the future... make it happen!
UBC
0
SPACES ARE LIMITED!
INFO: techtrek-camps@cs.ubcc
R: www.techtrek.ca
2011 Computing Camp:
From medicine to environmentalism to keeping people
connected, today's computers fuel the world of tomorrow!
In Computing Camp, explore all that computer science has
to offer. Spend time in our top-notch facilities with
computer experts who will take you through a week of
adventure: learn to program, tour our state-of-the-art labs,
design 3D animations, create video games, solve exciting
challenges, and a whole lot more!
CAMPS AVAILABLE FOR GRADES 8-10   COST $225
Lunch I.July 4-8
included! 2. July 18-22
3. August 8-12
2011 Robotics Camp:
Wondering what to do with a room full of spare parts?
Build a robot, of course!  In Robotics Camp you will design
and program a robot from the ground up using the Vex
Robotics System. At the end ofthe week you'll show off
your inventions as you go head to head in the grand
challenge! Also, you'll meet our own robot/Curious
George', watch theThunderbots team, and check out the
exciting research happening right here in our labs!
CAMPS AVAILABLE FOR GRADES 9-11   COST $225
4. July 11-15
TJ  inched! *■»*»
^^ 6. August 15-19
UBC
W
a place of mind
FACULTY OF SCIENCE

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