Dear members of the uOttawa community,
I am pleased to announce the appointment of a new University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness, Professor Elizabeth Kristjansson.
The creation of this new position is one of the recommendations made in the recent preliminary report from the Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness. Although the report is preliminary, the recommendation for a special advisor on mental health and wellness is one I wanted to act on immediately to help to strengthen uOttawa’s commitment to promoting mental health and wellness and our ability to enact that commitment.
Professor Kristjansson is a full professor at the School of Psychology, where she is a health measurement expert whose research focuses on health inequalities, as well as interventions to reduce socio-economic inequalities in health outcomes. She has a special focus on food security. Dr. Kristjansson is also passionate about student well-being. Her appointment is for a three-year term, reporting to the Provost.
One of her primary tasks is to develop and implement a long-term strategy for achieving mental health and wellness at the University. This will be key to adopting a more ambitious and holistic approach towards the promotion of mental health and wellness at uOttawa.
The Advisory Committee, comprised of members of our community and chaired by Faculty of Arts Dean Kevin Kee, submitted its preliminary report recommendations last week and held a town hall yesterday to seek community feedback on those recommendations. This feedback will be critical in shaping the committee’s final report later this year.
This summer, the University intends to implement another committee recommendation: to become a signatory of the Okanagan Charter, a major international initiative to support health promotion in post-secondary education.
The Okanagan Charter commits signatories to embedding health promotion into all aspects of campus culture, including administration, culture, academics, and operations. It also calls on its signatories to lead health promotion actions and collaborations locally and globally.
In signing the Okanagan Charter, uOttawa commits to enacting and embodying these principles in pursuit of a healthier campus, a healthier community, and a healthier planet. The administration will formally sign the charter over the summer.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clearer than ever that we must proactively promote health and wellness throughout our community, and with each of these steps we enhance our capacity and commitment to doing so.
Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs