Advisory Council

Advisory Council: access to expertise in many fields

An Advisory Council has been established to help advance arts and health in Canada. The following individuals have agreed to serve as advisors to AHNC's board. They have been invited because of their expertise and experience in their fields, and their interest in advancing the many diverse aspects of arts and health. This list will continue to grow as the network develops and begin to undertake some of the strategic initiatives envisioned.

Pamela Brett-MacLean, PhD

Director, Arts & Humanities in Health & Medicine (AHHM) Program, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Pamela holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on arts and health. She is committed to enhancing both teaching and learning by infusing the arts and humanities in curricular and co-curricular offerings, to foster development of interpretive and diagnostic skills, as well as insight and reflection. Her objective is to encourage more compassionate, patient-centred care. She has helped introduce theatre-based approaches to learning in the pre-clinical, undergraduate years, and also coordinates a film-based narrative reflective practice module. She has developed a number of arts-based elective options, including the innovative "Shadowing Artists on the Wards" course. She is the editor of the University of Alberta Health Sciences Journal column "Musa: Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine." She is a founding and continuing co-chair of the Canadian Association for Medical Education's "Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in Medicine" Educational Interest Group. She is a co-organizer of the "Creating Space for Arts and Humanities in the Education of Health Professionals: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? A Canadian Perspective" conference (May, 2011). Creativity and aging is an area of special research interest.  Pamela is a founding member of the Creative Age Festival (CAF) Organizing Committee, and chaired the 2008 and 2009 creative aging symposia associated with CAF.

Michelle Casavant

Manager of arts in health care programs; Manager, Arts in Healthcare, Friends of University Hospitals, Edmonton, Alberta

Michelle has been with the arts programs operated by the Friends of University Hospitals almost from their inception. The Friends serve the University Hospital and the new Manzankowski Alberta Heart Institute. They operate the McMullen Gallery, an in-hospital art gallery featuring rotating community art exhibits and a drop-in art studio for patients, visitors and staff. They also operate Artists on the Wards, a program that brings visual artists, writers, poets, and musicians to the bedside to help guide patients in creative expression. In addition, Friends manage the hospital art collection (including the acquisition program) of 1400 works placed throughout the buildings. Michelle is an artist and former board member of the Edmonton Arts Council.  Michelle is on maternity leave until July 2011.

Karen Close

Artist, teacher, arts and health activist, Kelowna, BC

Teaching English and Visual Arts for 30 years gave Karen a deep appreciation for the healing benefits of creative expression..As a board member with the Okanagan Institute, she created ArtsCare, an Arts for Health program that includes a members' roundtable, speaking events and programs; heART Fit, an intergenerational group of spontaneous process painters; heART Cart at the Central Okanagan Hospice and she is an editor of the Arts and Aging Journal Sage-ing with Creative Spirit, Grace and Gratitude The Journal invites submission of stories of healthy aging through the arts. Karen is a painter and author of two books: Spirit of Kelowna: A Celebration of Art and Community and Unfinished Women: Seeds from My Friendship With Reva Brooks which is on the reading list for Healing Fiction at York University.

Susan Cox, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health, The W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Susan is a qualitative health researcher and teacher. Her current work focuses on ethics and the experiences of human participants in health research. She also writes and conducts research on genetic risk and chronic illness as well as the use of the arts in health research. Susan has an active interest in narrative, poetry and visual imagery as vital forms of human expression that offer valuable heuristic insights as well as therapeutic benefits. She was co-principal investigator for the 2009 workshop on "Arts-Based Methods in Health Research", sponsored by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC.  With funding from Health Canada and CIHR, she and her colleagues (Jeff Nisker and Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston) pioneered a method for using theatre to engage the public in the process of health policy development. Susan would one day also like to learn sculpture and pursue her passion for creating healthful Italian inspired desserts.

John Graham-Pole, MD, MRCP, ABHM

Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Oncology and Palliative Care, University of Florida, and Adjunct Professor, School of Education, St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia.

John's career as a practitioner, teacher, and researcher has included faculty appointments at the Universities of Glasgow, London, and Case Western Reserve. He was co-founder/co-director of Shands Arts in Medicine since its inception in 1991, and also of the Center for the Arts in Healthcare, Research & Education, University of Florida, since its founding in 1999. John has written/edited six books, and a CD of original poetry, as well as about 250 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters, and poems in refereed journals. More recently, he has become a short story writer, inspired primarily by his forty years as a doctor, and he has recently finished his first novel. He has been a keynote speaker and presenter at several hundred national and international conferences. He was for several years on the Boards of the American Holistic Medical Association and of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, for which he is currently serving as a Healthcare Ambassador. He is continuing to work with his wife, Dorothy Lander, in arts-based research, practice, and professional and popular education, spanning the fields of arts and community health, palliative care, and holistic medicine. He was funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and US Department of Commerce for his research on on-line arts programming, with a particular focus on palliative care for hospitalized patients.

Dr. Trevor Hancock, PhD

Professor and Senior Scholar, School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria; Former Public health physician, population and public health consultant, Victoria, BC

Trevor has worked as a consultant for local communities, municipal, provincial and national governments, health care organizations and the World Health Organization. His main areas of interest are health promotion, healthy cities and communities, healthy public policy, environmental health, health policy and planning, and health futurism. The main focus of his work has been in the area of healthy cities and communities, an area he helped to pioneer. He has consulted to healthy city/community projects in several countries (notably Sweden and the USA) as well as across Canada. He was formerly a Public Health Consultant at the Ministry of Health in British Columbia.He is currently a Professor and Senior Scholar at the new School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. Trevor firmly believes the arts are important for health, and he lives his belief. Outside of his work life, he is an enthusiastic Morris dancer and singer - a traditional English folk dance, think 'non-violent rugby'! - and a semi-professional outdoor photographer. His main focus now is the dancing, and he has created several dances for the two sides he dances with. His photography has been shown in a number of juried art shows in southern Ontario and BC, and at one point he was part of a co-op art gallery near his former home in Kleinburg, Ontario.

Gilbert Laurin

Diplomat, lawyer and teacher

Gilbert retired from the Canadian Foreign Service in 2006 as Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In the course of this assignment, he was twice President of the Intergovernmental Committee to the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and President of the Conference of Parties to the Convention. Prior to this appointment, he was Canada's Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. His foreign assignments have included Marseilles, Paris, Damascus and Rome. In Ottawa, he served in the Departments of Immigration and Foreign Affairs and in the Privy Council Office and for two years was President of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Gilbert practiced law in Vancouver. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School, he articled and practiced with Davis and Company. He later spent two years as a legal advisor to the President of the BC Labour Relations Board during which time he organized an in house employee association and negotiated the first collective agreement. After graduating from the University of Manitoba in 1967 with an Honours BA in history and English, Gilbert spent two years traveling, one in Europe and the other on a round the world trip and two years teaching in Manitoba.

Dorothy A. Lander, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Department of Adult Education, St. Francis Xavier University (StFX), Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Dorothy is an arts-based researcher and teacher, whose practice spans graduate adult education, arts and culture organizations, and women's voluntary organizations. Retired from her faculty position at StFX, she continues her lifelong learning and teaching in community settings, co-facilitating art-for-health/resilience workshops and community-based research with John Graham-Pole. Dorothy has had a long fascination with the interweave of art, popular education, and healthy communities; she is committed to elaborating these connections, which served to organize the co-authored research report for the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health - Art as a Determinant of Health (Lander & Graham-Pole, 2008). Formal and informal caregivers and artists as popular educators is a central thread in Dorothy's funded research into the women's movement across three generations; many multi-media postings on her Women Making Waves research blog feature Canadian women artists as health activists. Recently her learning and research focus has shifted to participatory art as a determinant of community resilience. She has forged research partnerships on four continents, focusing on participatory art practices that cultivate resilience in the face of defining traumatic events, e.g., mining disasters (Chile, Nova Scotia), hurricanes/tsunamis/earthquakes, genocide survivor communities (Rwanda), residential school survivors, HIV/AIDs communities, military communities from deployment to reunion, clergy sexual abuse of children (Antigonish, Yarmouth, Nunavut), and murdered and missing Aboriginal women. Ever keeping the Zeitgeist and popular youth culture in her sights, Dorothy has made the application of digital media, social media and especially "serious games" for cultivating community resilience, the centerpiece of her applied research.

Judith Marcuse, LL.D. (Hon.)

Artistic Producer, Judith Marcuse Projects; Founder and Co-Director, International Centre of Art for Social Change; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, and Fellow, Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C.

Judith's career spans over 40 years as dancer, choreographer, director, producer, teacher, writer and lecturer. In 2008, in partnership with Simon Fraser University, she founded the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC), a global hub for learning, networking, research and training in the burgeoning field ( Her repertory dance company toured globally for over 15 years, pioneering innovative community residency and youth programs. The creator of over 100 works for live performance and for film and television, Judith has also produced large-scale arts festivals: the Kiss Projects and the International EARTH World Urban Festival.  Judith's pioneering work in the field of art for social change is internationally-recognized. Her multi-year ICE, FIRE and EARTH projects with young people explored teen suicide, violence and environmental and social justice issues. Each project integrated intensive workshops, the touring of stage productions and extensive community collaboration. She lectures and teaches widely, most recently, in South Africa, Finland and Northern Ireland. The recipient of many honours, including major awards in choreography, she was granted an honorary doctorate by Simon Fraser University in 2000. “Art for Social Change: A Call for Partnerships,”an article written in collaboration with Richard Marcuse, will be published in the summer, 2011(Creative Art in Research for Community and Cultural Change, Temeron Press).

Lucille Proulx, MA, ATR, CRAT

Registered Art Therapist, Executive Director, British Columbia School of Art Therapy, Victoria, BC; Vice-president of the Canadian Art Therapy Association

Lucille is a past president of the Association des Art-thérapeutes du Québec. Lucille has 50 years experience working with children and parents in the community, private clinics and at a children's hospital. She supervises students and teaches nationally and abroad and conducts specialized training workshops for professionals and parents around the world. She recently returned from two years in Thailand where she trained mental health professionals in the uses of art in healing. Lucille is also an exhibiting artist and author of books on parenting and Art Therapy: Strengthening Emotional Ties through Parent-Child-Dyad Art Therapy, Interventions for Infants and Preschoolers. Jessica Kingsley Publisher.

Bernie Warren, PhD

Professor of Drama in Education and Community, University of Windsor, Ontario

Prior to his current position, Bernie taught drama and dance in schools in the United Kingdom and Ireland and held positions teaching courses in acting, movement and voice, developmental drama and drama therapy at various universities and colleges around the world. In addition to his training and expertise in the performing arts and psychology, Bernie has studied Eastern healing and martial arts for over 40 years, ten years of which were with a direct lineage Chinese master. He has taught Qigong and Tai Chi to a wide variety of groups including the Windsor-Essex Cardiac-Rehab Program, The Hospice of Windsor and various long-term care facilities. Bernie is an internationally respected researcher and teacher on the role of the arts in health care and education and the author of numerous books and articles including Using the Creative Arts in Therapy and Healthcare and, with Caroline Simonds, The Clown Doctor Chronicles.  In 2000, Bernie founded Fools for Health, a clown doctor program, recognized in 2006 as a leading practice by the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation. In 2001, Bernie was the recipient of the University of Windsor's Alumni Award for Distinguished Contributions to University Teaching and in 2009 the recipient of the University of Windsor's Outstanding Faculty Research Award (Established Scholars/Researchers). He has been included in Canadian Who's Who since 1994.

jil p. weaving

Arts Administrator, Coordinator, Arts and Culture, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Vancouver, BC

Jil has been an artist and cultural worker for 30 years, including working with the Canada Council for the Arts as a program developer for a BC pilot supporting artists working with communities and with the BC Arts Council's Advisory Committee during the creation of the Arts Based Community Development Program. As a Community Arts Programmer she has worked with inner city neighbourhoods, teens, multi-cultural and new immigrant communities.  She has been instrumental in establishing creative partnerships with schools, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, professional artists, and community organizations. The Arts, Health and Seniors Project in Vancouver, a recent example of such partnerships, explores the benefits of community-engaged arts initiatives for the physical, mental and social health of marginalized seniors.