2015-16: Dr. Dell continued to expand her research program this past year in the area of the human-animal bond and healing from addictions, with increasing focus on mental health. Attention was paid to both research and practice (e.g., regularly scheduled visits to the Regional Psychiatric Centre, Calder Centre, MACSI, and forthcoming at a Methadone Maintenance program and Drumheller Correctional Facility). Given this was the final year in her position as the provincial Research Chair in Substance Abuse, Dr. Dell concentrated a large portion of her time on sharing the knowledge translation products from her research to date to front line service providers (from conferences to one-on-one distribution). Nearly all of the hard copies of her products have been distributed, and most are available online. She continues to receive positive feedback on the usability and relevance of the evidence-based products, such as by the Saskatchewan Impaired Driver Treatment Centre. She also continued to support the service provider community generally, for example: reviewed a fact sheet on youth substance use and resources for Saskatchewan Alliance for Youth and Community Well-Being Mental Health Toolkit; shared information on the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use with Five Hills Qu’Appelle Health Services; Aboriginal culture products with Lloydminister Child and Family Programs; cultural competency with Integrated Primary Health Services Executive Office, Sunrise Health Region; and provided input on the Saskatoon Health Region Breaking the Barrier website and launch. Dr. Dell also shared her mental health and addictions expertise on the USask campus, including advising the Western College of Veterinary Medicine Dean’s Health Committee. At the national level Dr. Dell also continued her contributions, including at a corrections meeting on substance abuse and mental health, and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, as two examples.
2014-15: Dr. Dell continued to be significantly involved at the community level in the research, community outreach and training components of her position. She continues to do this in creative ways, ranging from the production of the highly accessed (1,000 distributed to date) facilitator and participant workbooks from her CIHR–funded Culture as Intervention project, through to the development of a door hanger with What’s Your Cap? - the USask student drinking prevention initiative – to share the outcomes of research on canine assisted interventions on the university campus. She continued her research at the international, national and local levels in emerging areas in the addictions field and with innovative methods. To highlight, at the local level, she continued to work with the Saskatoon Health Region Pet Therapy Program, via a Research Partnership Agreement, and for which the results of their evaluation work with 7 sites will be released later this year. She also distributed a 32 page product catalog, and accompanying post cards, advertising all the products available from the empirical studies undertaken in her office as the Research Chair. In total, approximately 1,500 were issued to mainly Health Regions (the catalog is available here). Provincially, along with Doug Spitzig of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, Dr. Dell continued to co-coordinate the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use Saskatchewan site. She was also involved in varied speaking engagements in the province, such as the keynote speaker for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region Social Workers Week 2015 training event & as a speaker at the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute meeting to discuss possibilities of an alcohol strategy for the province.
As a co-Principal Investigator of the CIHR Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse grant in 2014-15, Dr. Dell will expand her work internationally with the development of a clinical trial network in Canada based on the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trial Network. Dr. Dell continues to mentor a large number of students through paid positions and scholarships with her office. There has been great student interest in the Certificate in Criminology and Addictions (CCAP) in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Saskatchewan, which was developed last fiscal year under the leadership of Dr. Carolyn Brooks and in partnership with Dr. Dell. Dr. Dell supervised 2 CCAP student practicum placements in 2014-15, one in each term. She also continues to actively mentor the What’s Your Cap? student initiative. Dr. Dell took part in training workshops to further develop her own knowledge base in 2014-15 as well, including Dr. Anita Chakravarti’s Mindfulness, Stress and Resilience workshop and Dr. Kate Hodgeson’s Pet Query workshop, both offered in Saskatoon. She also continued to contribute to the local campus environment, for example, through participating in the USask Images of Research competition.
2013-2014: Dr. Dell was on sabbatical leave for fiscal year 2013/14, allowing her release from her course responsibility and some administrative duties within both the university and research communities. This leave enabled her to work on expanding her research knowledge in the substance use field, and specifically within the animal assisted interventions area. The community-based nature of Dr. Dell’s research program continues to involve significant community participation throughout the research process, ranging from data collection to research dissemination. For example, Dr. Dell had the opportunity this year to meet with Premier Brad Wall at Cartier Farms and share her team’s research results. Dr. Dell’s research program is highly structured around the concept of reciprocity, which includes learning by participating in community events. Illustrations include her attending multiple sites in the province, such as the Family Treatment Centre in Prince Albert and Methadone Clinic in Saskatoon with her St. John Ambulance therapy dogs for learning and sharing. Dr. Dell committed more than 280 hours (i.e., 8 weeks of full time work) to therapy dog practice during her sabbatical year, over two full weeks (110 hours) to a hands-on course in dog psychology from the Canine Behaviour Psychology Academy, Extreme K-9 Professional Dog Training, in Illinois, USA, and completed an AAI online certificate course completion (10 weeks) from Harcum College in the USA.
Funding this fiscal year continued to support student and community researcher and service provider mentorship and their integration with Dr. Dell’s established research partnerships and relationships. This included, for example, continued hiring of students to coordinate the USask Student Binge Drinking Prevention Initiative (What’s Your Cap?), assisting with writing-up research results for peer-reviewed publications (e.g., once again this year, students and community members are co-authors on all peer reviewed articles accepted and submitted for publication) and attending workshops and meetings (e.g., What’s Your Cap? students presented at the Issues of Substance conference in Ottawa). An example of her students’ success is MPH practicum student, K. Dunn, won first prize for her poster at the Master of Public Student Health Practicum Poster Fair at the USask.
Dr. Dell continued to consult with provincial groups linked to substance use and mental health in Saskatchewan (e.g., SK Health Regions). For example, she provided guidance to the Athabasca Health Authority on evaluation via her team’s publication of First Steps First: A Community-Based Workbook for Evaluating Substance Abuse & Mental Health Programs in Saskatchewan.She has been involved in various local activities, such as being an invited member of a luncheon with SK Stakeholders with Louise Bradley, President & CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada, and she met with the Commissioner for the Mental Health & Addictions Action Plan within the province, Dr. Fern Stockdale Winder, as part of the provincial consultation. She has consulted with Youth Services-Five Hills Health Region and other groups to share information about animal assisted interventions and the work of her office generally with Probation – Custody, Supervision and Rehabilitation Services, Ministry of Justice and at general information events such as at the Heart and Soul conference held in Saskatoon and the Community Engaged Scholar Discussion Group in Saskatoon. Dr. Dell has also continued in her position as a Senior Research Associate with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Canada’s non-governmental addictions agency.
Under the leadership of Dr. Carolyn Brooks, Dr. Dell supported the development of a Certificate in Criminology and Addictions in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Saskatchewan. “This certificate is intended to offer students a program option in criminology and addictions that will allow them to explore greater opportunities in corrections, public safety, policing, court services, advocacy, additions services and other areas in the criminal or social justice system as well as a foundation for further academic study or research". Learn more here.
2012-2013: Dr. Dell’s program of research and community engagement has expanded significantly in the past year, with over a dozen staff and students employed. Her position is increasingly dedicated to supporting the community, and in particular provincial partners, with research and evaluation knowledge dissemination and practice. She continued to undertake this in creative ways, such as hosting a workshop to develop a follow-up song and music video to From Stilettos and Moccasins and attending local events with an information table (e.g., Moose Jaw Drug Conference). She began working this year and signed a Research Partnership Agreement with the Saskatoon Health Region Pet Therapy program to assist with evaluation. A significant amount of effort was allotted this year to completing DTFP-funded projects with and for Saskatchewan Health Regions.
Dr. Dell continued to support initiatives at the international, national, provincial and local levels. An example of great success at the local level is the USask Student Binge Drinking Prevention Initiative campaign – What’s Your Cap? Provincially, she coordinates the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network for Drug Use for the province and locally (a provincial early warning system with nearly 100 members has been established). She has also offered support to provincial groups such as the Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of Justice, Clinical Director, Offender Services Branch and has a forthcoming peer-reviewed publication with the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. And nationally, for example, she contributed to the Toronto Star Atkinson series meeting on women and alcohol use and the Leaders Forum on Addictions and Mental Health Collaboration, through the Canadian Executive Council on Addictions. Dr. Dell has engaged in training events herself. With 6 years in her position, and over three dozen publications and a dozen addictions field practiced-related tools and handouts developed during this time, a goal of the upcoming year was to offer SK Mental Health and Addictions workers and interested a dedicated section of her website identifying all the products.
2011-2012: Dr. Dell continued to provide research support through her position at the local, provincial, national and international levels. She has contributed to such local venues as the Department of Psychology Drugs, Culture & You pro-seminar series, was a guest lecturer in the Sociology Advanced methods graduate course, and facilitatedthe Saskatoon Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use Google Group to share drug trend information. Dr. Dell continued to serve on numerous provincial and national committees, and participated in related events (e.g., ceremonial Horse Dance at Sturgeon Lake First Nation). Her work at the international level continues within the solvent abuse realm (e.g., Chair of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Inhalants Working Group) and an article was submitted with her Iranian colleagues to the Harm Reduction Journal as a follow up to their original work on triangular clinics in Rajaee-Shahr prison. This work was also presented at the National Institute on Drug Abuse International Program Forum. Dr. Dell continued to support her numerous students and community-based researchers through employment positions and mentoring on her projects. To illustrate, she continued as the faculty lead on the USask Student Binge Drinking Prevention Initiative and links it as service learning in her Studies in Addictions classes. The culmination of this work was implemented on the USask campus in Fall 2012 as the What’s Your Cap? campaign. Dr. Dell also benefitted from participating in training events herself again this year, including Correctional Service Canada’s Women-Centred Training.
2010-2011: Dr. Dell’s research program maintained a high level of research support at the local, provincial and national levels. She contributed to such local venues as the USask President’s Advisory Council on the Status of Women, presenting with student S. Acoose during Aboriginal Achievement Week on campus; the Creative Practices for People with Cancer Group, presenting with student M. Koskie on using a visual arts-based method to understand the lived experience of volatile substance misuse; the U of S Sociology Graduate Student Conference, presenting on professional development and public sociology; the First Nations University of Canada Indian Social Work Program, presenting on the neuroscience of addiction; and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine Research Series, presenting on equine assisted learning. She also continued to serve on numerous provincial and national committees, including initiating meetings in areas of need (e.g., Pine Grove Correctional Institute addictions programming; the International Advisory Team for the Residential Family Addiction Treatment Program for Saskatchewan) and responding to advisory requests (e.g., Saskatchewan Impaired Driver Treatment Centre evaluation; Prince Albert Parkland Health Region school prevention worker program evaluation). Dr. Dell undertook a service learning project in her addictions class this year, with four students thereafter hired for the summer months to implement the findings on binge drinking prevention on the U of S campus, with two continuing into the Fall. Dr. Dell also benefitted from participating in several training events this year, including USask media training, an Aboriginal culture camp, Spiral of Change workshop, NVIVO, and digital storytelling with the Saskatoon Health Region.
2009-2010: Dr. Dell continues to provide research support through her position at the local, provincial and national levels. At the university, for example, she has provided a seminar for the College of Nursing (Understanding Addictions), the Centre for Integrative Medicine Seminar (Horse as Healer), the School of Public Health (Treatment and Healing of Aboriginal Women from Drug Abuse), and a Sociology Health Class (Addictions). Examples at the provincial level include presentations to the Addictions Advisory Committee and serving as an Advisor to the Committee, and input into the design of a woman’s outpatient treatment program in Regina. Dr. Dell also supervised students in addictions-related employment positions outside the university, in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health and the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.
2008-2009: In Dr. Dell’s advisory, research and networking roles, she has provided a range of support within the province, ranging from providing expert advice on youth self-harm to the Prince Albert Grand Council Holistic Wellness Centre to offering guidance on evaluating program effectiveness for Saskatchewan addictions treatment programming.
2007-2008: Research funding attached to Dr. Dell’s Research Chair in 2007/2008 has concentrated on establishing a foundational understanding of the role of animal assisted therapy in youth substance abuse treatment, with a focus on Equine Assisted Learning. A partnership was formed with the White Buffalo Youth Inhalant Treatment Centre (located on Sturgeon Lake First Nation, SK) and Cartier Stables (located 20 km outside Prince Albert, SK). Through meeting Elders and staff, observing programming, and collaboratively publishing a peer-reviewed article, a research plan is in development. This was undertaken in collaboration with Darlene Chalmers, University of Regina, School of Social Work.
Colleen Anne Dell
University of Saskatchewan
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