Two Innovative Niagarans among Canadians Short-Listed for Prestigious 3M Health Leadership Award

Niagara, Ontario. Two individuals working for a stronger Niagara are among those short-listed for the prestigious 2013 3M Health Leadership Award. Now in its third year, this prize celebrates leaders who inspire change in communities across Canada.

Both Catherine Mindorff-Facca, Senior Associate with Niagara Connects, and Terry Thomson, a Detective Sergeant with Niagara Regional Police Service were noted for their contributions to strengthening quality of life in Niagara, at the December 5, 2013 3M Health Leadership Award presentations hosted by Health Nexus in Toronto. Health Nexus is a ‘for social profit’ health promotion organization that focuses on building healthy, equitable and thriving communities.

The 2013 overall 3M Health Leadership Award winner, Jocelyne Bernier is recognized for her work as a community researcher and advocate for health equity in Montreal. Finalists and people shortlisted for the award are strengthening communities across Canada, including Waterloo, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Buffalo Lake Alberta. Barb Willet, Executive Director of Health Nexus says of the awards, “Those nominated are changing the way our society thinks about health and well-being and are dedicated to addressing the range of determinants that influence the health of their communities.”

Catherine Mindorff-Facca of Fort Erie is a retired Registered Nurse and Epidemiologist known for her international expertise in infectious disease control, and leadership in paving the way for Community Health Centres to be established in Niagara. Terry Thomson, a Niagara Falls resident is recognized as a collaborative leader whose focus on prevention led to the creation of Canada’s first prescription drug drop-off initiative, which has now been launched at a national level.

Here are details about the Niagarans shortlisted, from: :

Catherine Mindorff-Facca — linking community assets in Ontario’s Niagara region.

As the founding Chair of Niagara Connects, Catherine works across the community to engage community members to work together for a stronger Niagara. Catherine has a knack for including people who might otherwise be overlooked. She rarely uses the word “problem”, but chooses to focus on community assets. She inspires the people around her to explore new opportunities. Catherine’s leadership has helped to link people together to unearth unused assets and to plan as a collective for a more cohesive and vibrant Niagara. Catherine’s leadership has resulted in key publications such as the ‘Living in Niagara Report’. She helps individuals and organizations to see the value in working together for a stronger future.

Terry Thomson — building community partnerships across sectors in Ontario’s Niagara region.

Detective Sergeant Terry Thomson’s early work on substance misuse prevention used to focus on enforcement. He recognized that, to create change, he needed to collaborate with other parts of the community. Terry formed a partnership between the Niagara Regional Police Service and Niagara Public Health, and built a bridge between two very different community sectors. An unconventional leader who understands the role of the social determinants of health in substance misuse, Terry takes the time to get to know people’s personal struggles, and reaches out to refer them to treatment or mental health services. He is a leader who understands the bigger picture. By stepping outside of the “police box” and collaborating with others, Terry has been able to find solutions that have a long-term impact on prevention, such as Canada’s first Prescription Drug Drop-Off Initiative.

Niagara Connects is a network of people who work together to plan, learn, innovate and lead community action toward a stronger future for Niagara.  Our mission: Generating knowledge that drives community action.

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