It all began on a rainy day at the Lloydminster (SASK) hospital in 1978…(just kidding)
I am currently the FASD Community Educator with the Bissell Centre. This rewarding role involves researching, developing and promoting FASD awareness in the Community. Much of my time is spent presenting to various groups in the Region 6 Communities on FASD and its related issues. Presentations are adjusted accordingly to optimize relevance for the various groups interested in learning more about this important topic.
As the Community Educator I also facilitate the monthly FASD Frontline Worker Meetings, which bring together workers from various agencies in Edmonton and surrounding areas. These meetings have an educational component (we usually bring in a presenter from an FASD friendly organization), as well as Case-Conferencing and networking opportunities.
In addition to this, this role gives me the opportunity to highlight Frontline workers and all the wonderful work they do via my ability to contribute articles to the FASD Frontline Newsletter!
With this, my educational background began with a degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology. From here I began my career working as a Women’s Health Advocate at the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS). I worked here for 7 years. This role, in large part, entailed working with pregnant and parenting women who were struggling with addictions, domestic violence, poverty and other socio-economic barriers. While in this role I learned of FASD and began flagging women and children who were suspected of having an FASD. Concurrently, I assisted in facilitating the diagnostic process alongside Medi-Gene Services (Diagnostics) in Calgary.
After this I spent over a year as an Intensive Case Manager with The Alex HomeBase Program in Calgary. This position saw me obtaining and maintaining housing for Calgary’s “most vulnerable” population. A large part of this role was promoting inclusive community engagement.
During this time I was able to acquire a Masters Degree in International Public Health via distance education through the University of Liverpool, UK. In the final stages of this Masters degree I re-located to Edmonton at which time I took on the role of Male Adult Advocate with the FASS program at the Bissell Centre prior to accepting the Community Educator position.
In line with the Community Educator role, and in collaboration with Mark St. Germaine and the University of Alberta, we have also recently started the Supported Learning Program (SLP), which is a support group for mothers with developmental disabilities. This is part of a research project, in collaboration with the U of A, focussing on reducing levels of social isolation experienced by these women through supporting community engagement and natural supports. This project is also supported by further research that suggests a reduction in social isolation has a greater positive impact on perceived mental health and subsequent parenting outcomes than does the benchmarks for traditional parenting programs.
For more information or to book Julie for an FASD workshop, please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-423-2285 ext. 157