This is the sixth in a series of monthly blog posts representing perspectives on potential governance changes at PAN. These posts represent voices across the network – staff, Board members, people living with HIV, and community members – sharing their thoughts on these changes. This month we hear from Jesse Brown, Co-Chair of PAN’s Board of Directors.
Greetings! This is a pivotal time for Pacific AIDS Network. We are in the final year of our current 5-year strategic plan (2013-2018), part of which committed the board to look at some governance changes to ensure consistency with our expanded vision and mission. Member organizations will have the opportunity to vote on these changes at the October annual general meeting.
These changes have been discussed for many years, not only at the board table but across the network and amongst our members and stakeholders – including potential changes to board composition, membership criteria and how to best include additional voices while at the same time honouring our HIV/AIDS legacy. The board has been engaged in an ongoing process of self-reflection and dialogue with members, recognizing the complexity of people, places and issues that the PAN network represents, while building on our strong and proud foundation of HIV activism and change. Our member organizations in every corner of the province work with people living with HIV as well as with people living with Hep C, mental health and substance use challenges, and those most “at risk”.
How does PAN best support our members working on the front lines as they address a continuum of complex issues? How does PAN best represent the needs of our members on advocacy issues? At the beginning of 2018, the board governance committee has worked hard to present members with a series of blogs, written from a number of perspectives, that explore these two key questions.
After the January introduction from PAN’s Executive Director Jennifer Evin Jones, in February we heard from Kira Haug from ASK Wellness on her perspective of the benefits of using a client centered comprehensive approach to holistic care. Kira is a new board member to PAN and has over a decade of experiencing working in HIV and HCV. “Broadening the membership will ensure we are hearing all the voices of people impacted by (HIV and hepC) and will speak to inclusivity and that all lives matter.”
In March we heard from Darren Lauscher, a former board member of PAN and long-time activist who provided a PLHIV retrospective, noting that PAN was “ahead of the curve” in talking about and including action on HCV long before we formally included it in the mission statement.
In April Mona Lee, PAN’s Evaluation Manager, wrote up a summary of the results from the 2017 Members and Stakeholders’ Survey. The majority of survey respondents are in support of proposed changes to PAN’s governance model, and we will continue to solicit feedback to these changes in advance of the October AGM.
In May we were privileged to hear from consultant Paula Tait, who has been on the forefront of advocating for Indigenous communities, who encouraged us to consider how organizations can integrate Indigenous-sensitive and Indigenous-responsive services if they do not already do so. Paula’s analysis is aligned with the 98% support of stakeholder survey respondents for including a seat for the First Nations Health Authority (in the same way we have designated seats for regional health authorities, including PHSA).
The board thanks all those who contributed blogs and to all those who have provided input through the Members and Stakeholders survey. We are also grateful for the many textured and thoughtful responses that we have received to date regarding some of the proposed governance changes. It’s very clear there is no lack of passion in this work! We are using the feedback received as the basis for which to draft a new set of by-laws for PAN.
Between now and the Annual General Meeting we will continue to seek input from the membership so that we can confirm our understanding of people’s perspectives, discuss questions, and continue to develop a governance structure that will best represent our diverse member organizations. The PAN board of directors is excited about PAN’s future and we continue to invite you to connect with us – please see the contact information below to get in touch. We all look forward to seeing you at the Annual General meeting!
Co-Chair, PAN Board of Directors
To help support the discussion on potential governance changes at PAN, we have created a gateway where people can ask questions and/or request to be contacted by a member of the PAN Governance Committee: [email protected].