UBC Faculty Research and Publications

History and Future Directions of the “Sylvia” Think Tank Anderson, Joan; McDonald, Heather; Rodney, Patricia, 1955-; Dhari, Ranjit; Sawatzky-Girling, Brenda


The “Sylvia” Think Tank (STT) is comprised of a self-funded, diverse, intergenerational and interdisciplinary group of academics, health care and social service practitioners, and community leaders involved in social justice-related advocacy work. Our first meeting was held at the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver in 2015, and we have continued to meet there in subsequent years — except during the pandemic, when we met virtually — hence the name, the “Sylvia” Think Tank. The founders included Joan Anderson, Annette Browne, Heather McDonald, Patricia (Paddy) Rodney, and Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham. All shared a commitment to promoting equity and social justice in health care and human services. The STT has since expanded to include other academics, clinicians, health care users, community leaders, NGOs and students. Heather McDonald administered the STT from its inception to 2021. In 2022 Ranjit Kaur Dhari and Brenda Sawatzky-Girling graciously agreed to share the leadership of the STT, with Brenda Sawatzky-Girling managing the finances. The document below provides a description and analyses of our activities.

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