Onwards, intently, in COVID times: update to members and allies

As we head into a new fiscal year and welcome the onset of spring, we would like to take a moment to update members and allies on our work in light of the continuing dictates of COVID.

On an operational level, PAN’s own programs and services continue to be impacted as both BC and Canada as a whole are now experiencing a third wave. Given this, we have made the decision to continue with our suspension of in-person events and meetings, and any related travel. We are hopeful that as the vaccines continue to rollout, that we may resume bringing people together in the not too distant future. We have tentatively started to plan for some in person events for the fall. However, we know that these plans may need to change as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and in every instance, we will look to orders and recommendations from the Provincial and/or Regional Medical Health Officers.

 

Adapted Training, Gatherings & Convening Events

Despite the limitations, we have continued to foster new connections across the network, and to deliver programs and services virtually.

Over the past months this has included:

Positive Leadership Development Institute skills building sessions have been concentrated on connecting through support and skills building sessions with our PLDI Graduates. To date, we have held 13 diverse sessions and our next one this April will be on Goal-setting & Visioning.  Concurrently, the PLDI Training team and our partners with our PLDI-IDLP National Alliance are rigorously adapting the In-person training curriculum to an Online format which will be trainer hosted in ZOOM and self-paced on the Brightspace platform. We are hoping to have this alternative format launched in June 2021. Contact Marc Seguin for details.

Educators’ Roundtable: Promoting Effective STBBI, HIV, Hepatitis C and Harm Reduction Education with Indigenous People of BC. This virtual alternate to our Educators’ Forum featured presentations on skills development and cultural education, as well as small group networking sessions to connect educators and harm reduction workers from across the province.  The recorded sections are in the editing process and will be available on-demand.

Alcohol: Community Trends and Impact, a day of education and discussion on alcohol use and harm reduction, including managed alcohol programs. Sessions can be viewed on-demand and a collection of resources is available.

Hep C in Focus, a virtual day-long event featuring several sessions and discussions. These included equitable access to treatment for people who use drugs; epidemiology on hep C in women; and a panel of women with lived experiences of hep C. As with the event on alcohol use and harm reduction, sessions are available on-demand and a compilation of resources is available.

Webinars over the past few months include Build Your Trans Friendly Services, highlights from CBRC’s 2020 Summit, and Safe Supply and The Role of Community in Saving Lives and Changing SystemsSee all on-demand options.

Sharing Space: Indigenous Research in the time of COVID, a community of practice, planned and facilitated in partnership with the AHA Centre at CAAN. This community of practice brings together people engaging in Indigenous Research to come together to learn from and support one another as we struggle with doing community-engaged research during this new COVID reality.

CBR Quarterly Meeting. Long established as a combination face-to-face and virtual event, this has adapted well to Zoom, which has been a positive in that it is a participation equalizer between people in Vancouver and outside of Vancouver.

Collective Impact Network: In the last year, these quarterly meetings of all PHSA-funded HIV and hep C organizations with a provincial scope, have shifted from in-person to virtual due to COVID, and six new projects have been initiated as this network enters its second phase.

 

Advocating for our Shared Concerns

ED COVID-19/Network Support Meetings: We continue to host regular meetings with Executive Directors of PAN member and allies to share how frontline organizations are responding to the many challenges of COVID-19, which are also disparately impacting Indigenous and other racialized communities, poor people and people who are incarcerated, persons who are homeless or marginally sheltered, and others.

COVID has also made BC’s ongoing crisis of overdose and overdose death far worse due to an increasingly toxic illicit drug supply and loss of supports and safe space for people who use drugs.  Meeting regularly with our members has helped inform PAN’s advocacy work calling for true safe supply of drugs, decriminalization and expansion of harm reduction services in all regions of the province.  We encourage Executive Directors of all our member groups to join the monthly meeting to learn what others are doing, learn of advocacy in action, and get support. Please contact Simon Goff for schedule information.

 

Timely Information on COVID-19

Another commitment we made at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was to provide timely and accurate information to support people in their work. Our website houses a section of COVID-19 resource pages that include information for individuals and workplaces. Pages cover prevention, vaccines, resources for and by Indigenous cultural safety, harm reduction, workplace adaptation and funding opportunities, and more. We also feature a section on COVID-19 updates in the PAN Weekly News. If you’re not a subscriber, you can subscribe by visiting our home page and scrolling to the bottom to enter your email address.

We greatly look forward to a time when we can meet together again. Until then, we will continue to connect online, to learn from each other, offer support and collaboration. Thank you again for all the hard work everyone is doing in their communities and areas of focus.

 

 

Questions? Feedback? Get in touch! J. Evin Jones, Executive Director, [email protected]aidsnetwork.org