Our West Coast News: BC Doctor Investigating Senior Residential Care PDF Print E-mail

Gibson Award Winner Focuses on LGBT Elder Care

Dr. Ashley Heaslip, a medical doctor trained at UBC-St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, is the latest winner of the Dr. Gary Gibson Lambda Foundation Award. This is the second time Lambda has given out this $1000 bi-annual research award. Ashley’s project concerns a hot topic for LGBTQ seniors these days – how to make residential care for them medically and emotionally supportive. The late Dr. Gary Gibson, a gay doctor whose work treating LGBT patients and people with HIV in Southern Ontario and British Columbia, inspired this award.  Here is Ashley’s winning research project in her own words:

Dr. Ashley Heaslip wants to help LGBT seniors


“`What should I do doctor? I’m grey, I’m gay and I’m scared of being in a nursing home.’ His words sat heavy with me and lead me to think: how do lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) older adults experience residential care? I had no answers for this 75-year-old male patient who I was seeing in a family practice office. His dementia was progressing, his partner had died, and he felt alone.

“I wanted to better understand the experiences of LGBTQ older adults as they age and require more complex care. I began by examining the academic literature and found that there was a small body of work exploring the unique experiences of LGBTQ older adults in long-term care.  I also discovered that many LGBTQ elders voice a desire for LGTBQ-specific services as they age. Finally, the literature I reviewed helped me to realize that older non-heterosexual people are often left out of conversations relating to aging and care.

“A residential care facility in the West End of Vancouver is working to create a more welcoming and open space for LGBTQ elders, and as part of that effort, we have partnered together on a small research project. This project, titled ‘LGTBQ Elders and Residential Care: Experiences of Isolation and Resilience Explored through Art and Dialogue’ involves both an arts-based collage workshop, where each elder produced a piece of collage art as a representation of their experiences, and in-depth one-on-one interviews (N = 6) to further explore their experiences.

“The overall aim of the project is three-fold: 1) to contribute to the academic literature in the areas of aging and LGBTQ health, as well as the emerging field of ‘creative aging’ within public health; 2) to contribute to direct health care provision in residential care by providing the results gained through the study to residential care facilities, LGBTQ advocacy organizations, and policy-makers; and 3) to open space for broader, community-level conversations around aging and LGBTQ health through an art exhibit of the elders’ work. The West End Seniors Network and Qmunity are keen on supporting these community engagement efforts.

“My sincere hope is that this project will act as a small igniting force behind the efforts to raise awareness of the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQ older adults as they age and encourage a more open dialogue about issues of discrimination and resilience within the context of residential care.”


A Big Honour for A Lambda Alumnus!

Congratulations to Arleen Paré, Lambda Foundation’s first UVic winner (Candis Graham Writing Scholarship), on winning the 2014  Governor General’s Literary Award (poetry) for her Lake of Two Mountains (Brick Books, 2014).


UVic's 2014 Student Award Winner Wants "to breath new life"  into LGBTI film.

The  latest winner of the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Victoria is Jeremy R. Saunders, who is taking his final year of a Writing degree with a minor in Film Studies. Having experienced homophobia himself, Jeremy hopes to go on to take a Master's degree in either screenwriting or Film Studies so that he can devote his career using film to "bring to light the diversity within this community and eliminate the intolerance and ignorance surrounding it." At the same time, he wants to create "well-rounded characters of all sexualities." He tells us that winning the Lambda award is a financial boost that should give him time to get involved in Pride community on campus during his final year at UVic.  Congratulations, Jeremy, and best of luck. We hope that one day your name will be in lights!


Lukas Bhandar Winner of the Lambda Foundation’s award


Lukas Bhandar, last year's Graham award winner,  has since published an essay in Plenitude Magazine that explores body hair, mixed-race identities, and gay beauty standards. Lukas is pictured here with Pat McKenna, who was the partner of the late Candis Graham. Pat is the founder of the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship and among the generous donors who built this endowment. The  winner of the 2012 award, Joy Fisher, has written a tribute to Graham, who was a mentor to many aspiring writers, straight and LGBT alike.  Joy's article appeared in Plenitude Magazine. Former Graham Award winner, Andrea Routley, edits the magazine. Andrea writes: "Plenitude Magazine aims to promote the growth and development of LGBTQ literature through a biannual publication of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic narrative and short film by both emerging and established LGBTQ writers. Plenitude aims to complicate expressions of queerness through the publication of diverse, sophisticated literary writing, graphic narrative and short film, from the very subtle to the brash and unrelenting."


Being A Real Friend: Our High School Award Winner Shows How It Is Done.

Ellis Hofmann is this year’s recipient of the Jack Hallam Human Rights Award at Gulf Islands Secondary School on Salt Spring Island, BC. Ellis wrote his award-winning essay about his experience with a friend in high school who suffered bullying and slandering as well as cruel mis-gendering and judgmental behavior from his peers. Ellis supported his friend and the two of them discovered a summer camp specifically for LGBTQ +youth to experience a safe place to share, learn and meet like-minded youth from across the province. CampOUT was life-changing for both students as they learned strategies to prevent and combat homophobia/transphobia in daily life. They attended for two consecutive summers and brought their wisdom back to the hallways of the high school and where their strategies were shared and implemented.


Jack Hallam, a resident of Salt Spring Island, BC, is Lambda's pioneer in sponsoring human rights awards in high schools. Through his generous donation to Lambda, these $1000 awards foster and reward youth who establish gay/straight alliances, foster anti-bullying initiatives and take positive action against racism and other forms of discrimination. We at Lambda Foundation hope to establish similar awards in other Canadian secondary schools with donations from people like you who care about our youth - just like Jack Hallam does.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 13:08