Karen Smith joining MDB Insight!

23 09 2017

karensmith     MDB-Insight-Website-Logo

A private-sector consulting firm with a mission to “improve the world”? Whose values and vision align with your own? Whose team members are passionate, creative innovators? Sounds like the perfect place to work if you’re a community builder – and that’s precisely why Karen will be joining the team at MDB Insight as a Senior Consultant effective October 2nd.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, MDB Insight is Canada’s leading economic development consultancy specializing in connecting communities with opportunities. Their core practice areas also include workforce development, community development, cultural development, business development, strategic planning, and research and analytics. The firm has worked with hundreds of cities and towns, rural and urban, large and small, across North America with the aim of helping those communities and the people within them to thrive in the 21st century economy. As a member of the senior team, Karen will add her enthusiasm and experience to the firm’s established roster of accomplished professionals from across the country and will be working from MDB Insight’s Hamilton office.

To connect with Karen in her new role, pop her an email – ksmith@mdbinsight.com. And be sure to check out MDB Insight’s web site, featuring the firm’s blog and This is Not a Newsletter (TINAN) as well as resources and links of interest. You can follow us on Twitter (@MDBInsight) and on our Facebook page (MDB Insight) too!

Child Abuse Prevention Month

1 10 2014

October once again marks Child Abuse Prevention month here in Ontario, and sadly not much has changed since last year at this time. The pending transformation of children’s mental health by the provincial government promises to bring improvements, and we wait and watch for those with significant hopes.

In the meantime, the United Nations has released two new reports – Hidden In Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children (with global figures and data from 190 countries), and Ending Violence Against Children: Six strategies for action (with case studies from around the globe). Both are part of UNICEF’s #ENDviolence against children initiative.

You can find copies of both reports here: http://www.unicef.org/protection/

endviolenceThis month, as you consider the state of the world’s children, please remember that right here at home 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually victimized before their 18th birthday. We absolutely must change that. Let your elected representatives at all levels of government know that you consider this to be a vital issue. Speak up for additional resources to be invested in child abuse prevention and treatment, and encourage others to do the same.

EXCLerator Project: women as leaders

28 09 2014

The Women & Diversity EXCLerator Project is the first of its kind to present a comprehensive overview of women’s representation in senior leadership positions in Hamilton and Halton’s most prominent organizations. In a project report recently released by YWCA Hamilton, in partnership with McMaster University and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Group, an analysis of women in leadership across nine sectors provides a benchmark for measuring future progress.

“Ensuring women are proportionately represented at the decision-making table makes sense from a social and business perspective. Fair representation of women in top positions impacts organizations’ policy choices, improves their ability to serve communities, increases innovation and creativity in problem solving, and advances perceptions of institutional legitimacy”.

Board_of_DirectorsThe report shows that women are underrepresented in senior leadership positions across all sectors in Hamilton and Halton. The EXCLerator Project will continue to collect and analyze data on women in leadership across these communities, with an emphasis on recognizing barriers and then setting goals, devising strategies, and measuring changes in inclusivity over time.

To view the full report, visit www.ywcahamilton.org


1 in 3 Canadian Adults Have Experienced Child Abuse: New Study

23 04 2014

child abuse report


A just-published, first of  its kind study has found what many in the field have known for some time – child abuse has a lasting impact on many Canadians. This new research confirms the link between serious adult mental health problems and experiences of childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, and witnessing intimate partner violence.

Findings from the national study highlight the urgent need for a child abuse prevention strategy in Canada. Lead author Tracie Afifi of the University of Manitoba told CBC News that her team’s findings “indicate that 32 per cent of the adult population in Canada has experienced child abuse (i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or exposure to intimate partner violence) and that child abuse has robust associations with mental conditions”.

The study, published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found physical abuse to be most common (26%), followed by sexual abuse (10%) and exposure to intimate partner violence (8%). The authors highlight the need for reporting child abuse as well as understanding treatment implications.

To read the full journal article, visit www.cmaj.ca


Neighbourhood and Maternal-Infant Health in Hamilton

3 02 2014

Mother-ChildA few months ago, the team of researchers conducting the Neighbourhood Study of Maternal and Infant Health in Hamilton hosted an invitational meeting to present their findings and to gather input from community members interested in this work. Their research focus looked at whether or not neighbourhood variations could be found in selected maternal-child health indicators. Does it matter if a new mother has lived in particular neighbourhood for a long time? Does neighbourhood play a role in pre-term birth?

The meeting was intended to get people talking about the research findings (including maps showing health indicators, like obstetrical complications, by census tract) and to hear from those who work in these neighbourhoods as well as those whose primary interest is maternal or infant health. It was seen as a starting point for sharing what the researchers learned, and seeing what the community might do to further their work or implement their findings.


The meeting was facilitated by Karen Smith. The link to the summary report is here: Neighbourhood Study of Maternal and Infant Health in Hamilton INVITATIONAL MEETING SUMMARY REPORT

“The Cruelty Crisis”

14 08 2011

Dr. Brené Brown

Here’s an interesting and thought-provoking take on bullying from Dr. Brené Brown (Professor and researcher, University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work). She draws our attention not to the kids we typically associate with schoolyard trauma or to the teens whose angst can have devastating results, but to our own (adult) behaviours and our society’s tolerance of cruelty. Recommended reading.


Talking About Mental Health

28 01 2011

Clara Hughes

You may have seen Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes on television recently promoting Bell’s “Let’s Talk Day” (February 9th). To find out more about this day in support of mental health, check this site:


The campaign is described as one aimed at raising awareness and encouraging dialogue about mental health. It is reported that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime. It’s an important conversation. Hughes has offered up her own personal experiences as one of those affected by mental illness in order to strengthen the dialogue. The site includes a video with her story.

Also of interest, the Canadian Journal of Mental Health has published a special issue devoted to the recent Service Enhancement Evaluation Initiative (SEEI). It details four years of evaluation inside Ontario’s mental health system and specifically the impact of more than $160 million invested by the province. Dr. Lindsey George, Mental Health Program Director at the Hamilton Family Health Team, was one of the principal investigators and is a guest editor for this special issue.

To access the issue follow this link: http://www.metapress.com/content/t3487j06486q/?p=f751c446a3384cb29116b024e1f61f34&pi=1.


New Issue of Leadership Briefing

16 12 2010

The most recent issue of the Community Child Abuse Council’s Leadership Briefing is now available. To view a copy, visit their web site www.childabusecouncil.on.ca.

These briefings are produced regularly by Karen Smith for the Council and include research, updates and happenings related to the Council, child abuse in general, and child sexual maltreatment in particular. To be added to the mailing list for future issues (electronic only) email me or the Council.

Canada’s Gender Gap

1 11 2010

November is Woman Abuse Awareness Month, and that has brought a substantial amount of research across my desk that is released or publicized in conjunction with events and activities designed to mark the month and support awareness and advocacy efforts. One of these research reports caught my attention in a big way.

The World Economic Forum has been publishing the Global Gender Gap report since 2006. It tracks national gender gaps in economics, politics, education and health, and ranks countries according to these criteria. This allows for comparisons across regions and income groups, and over time.

Every year since its inception in 2006 , the report has ranked Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in the top spots (Finland made it to #3 this year). The forerunner to this report, Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap (published in 2005), ranked Canada in 7th spot. Since then, however, we have fallen significantly in the rankings.

2006 -14th
2007 -18th
2008 – 31st
2009 – 25th
2010 – 20th

The United States (19th this year) closed its gender gap, rising 12 places to enter the top 20 for the first time in the report’s five-year history. Our current federal government took power in 2006 and has obviously not made this a priority. When the subindexes are scrutinized, we find that Canada ranks 10th for women’s economic participation and opportunity, but 60th for health and survival, and 62nd for political empowerment. We are ranked 38th for women’s educational attainment.

Melanne Verveer, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, points out that the report “shows a strong correlation between gender equality and a country’s prosperity and economic competitiveness.”

This month, as we contemplate the continued existence of woman abuse in 21st Century Canada, we might also reflect on the missing values that are reflected in Canada’s poor performance in shrinking the gender gap – if women and their contributions to Canadian life are indeed valued, this certainly isn’t mirrored in our ranking or in our failure to end the abuse of women. Like child abuse, we won’t be able to solve this problem with education alone, or prosecution alone, or treatment alone…we’ll need all of these things, and more.

My thanks to Krista at the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton & Area) for sharing the global report. For more information, go to www.weforum.org

or find the report at http://www.weforum.org/en/Communities/Women%20Leaders%20and%20Gender%20Parity/GenderGapNetwork/index.htm

From Dr. Seuss to Porn

20 10 2010

Parent Evening

The Community Child Abuse Council of Canada presents a special evening for parents on Monday, October 25 as part of its Child Abuse Prevention Month activities. The free evening event features Cordelia Anderson, a recognized expert in child maltreatment. Anderson will engage parents, caregivers and foster parents in a dialogue about what she calls our “sexually toxic” society and how to help children navigate this potentially dangerous landscape.

Pre-registration is required: call (905) 523-1020 ext. 14 or visit the Council’s web site: www.childabusecouncil.on.ca for more information.

On Tuesday, October 26 Cordelia Anderson will be the featured speaker at an all-day symposium for professionals. The focus of the day includes the sexual development of children and the impact of today’s cultural norms and sexually permissive media. For full information visit www.childabusecouncil.on.ca or call the Council: (905) 523-1020 ext. 14. Registration fee is $75.00 per person and space is limited.