Significant financial and time investments in culturally adapting services for youths in the justice system may not be effective for the people they are trying to help, UBC research shows.
Researchers at UBC’s Okanagan campus recently conducted an extensive review of studies on cultural programming in youth justice services in North America. Study authors found that while programming may help employees feel more sensitive towards cultural minorities, there is little evidence the investments directly benefit inmates.
“Given that cultural and ethnic minorities are disproportionally represented in Canada’s youth justice system, it would seem important that the system is able to address their needs,” says one of the study’s authors Susan Wells, a psychology and social work professor at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “It was interesting to note the lack of evidence that cultural programming actually aids in rehabilitation or prevents recidivism—the systems main goals.
The study suggests the need to combine research, practice and policy to produce knowledge, interventions, and justice systems that can best meet the needs of minority populations.
“With limited budgets and substantial costs, it may be a good idea for justice services to seek out the most evidenced-based approaches that have a proven benefit for youth in the system.”
As part of her research, Wells’ team reviewed and compared several studies on cultural programming and youth justice that covered a variety of jurisdictions and cultural groups in North America.
In 2015, Statistics Canada reported that aboriginal youth account for 41 per cent of admissions in juvenile justice systems although they represent seven per cent of that age group’s population in Canada.
Wells' teams' study was recently published in the Journal of Juvenile Justice.
New moms are increasingly using expressed breast milk (either pumped or expressed by hand) instead of directly breastfeeding their babies, according to a UBC study.
The study also found that moms who use expressed breast milk typically transition their babies to infant formula feeding sooner than their breastfeeding peers, a trend that may impact the health of our next generation.
“Breastfeeding is the unequalled method for feeding infants,” says Marie Tarrant, director of nursing at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “It has been previously determined that breastfeeding is important for the nutrition, immunology, growth and development of infants and toddlers. Anything that contributes to shortening the recommended six months of exclusive breastfeeding is a concern.”
Tarrant and her research team, including co-author Dorothy Bai of the University of Hong Kong, studied the infant feeding practices of more than 2,000 moms living in Hong Kong. They found that during a five-year stretch, mothers moved away from directly breastfeeding their infants to using expressed breast milk, which is usually delivered via a bottle.
“New mothers may believe there is no difference between expressed breast-milk feeding and direct feeding at the breast,” says Tarrant. “Although expressed breast-milk feeding provides greater benefits than infant formula, bottle-feeding may increase the risk of respiratory issues, asthma, rapid weight gain and oral diseases.”
The study demonstrated that those moms who expressed breast milk were more likely to quit breastfeeding earlier than moms who directly breastfed.
Tarrant believes that a lack of breastfeeding support may be partly to blame for this feeding behaviour. She suggests that providing greater access to professional lactation (breastfeeding) support to new mothers, particularly in the first 24 hours after birth, could ensure that new infants receive the optimal nutrition.
According to Stats Canada, there were more than 350,000 Canadian babies born in 2015/2016. In 2012, 89 per cent of women initially breastfed their babies, and only 26 per cent were doing so six months later. Difficulty with breastfeeding is the most common reasons for not continuing with the practice.
The study, recently published in Public Health Nutrition, was funded by the Health and Medical Research Fund, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Boxes of donated warm clothing that have been jamming the halls where Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program lives are on their way to making a difference for Kelowna’s disadvantaged.
The first- and second-year students who sit on the BSN’s Global Health committee – a civically-minded, student-led initiative for social equity – were looking to launch a holiday coat drive for those in need when they found the perfect campaign already on campus.
The BSN students joined up with the Pay it Forward campaign, an annual giving drive started by a former College student and run by the College’s Alumni Association. Each year several holiday-wrapped donation boxes are placed around the Kelowna campus for donations of blankets, clothing or unused toiletries to go to three local non-profits – Inn from the Cold, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and Kelowna Gospel Mission.
Over the past month, the group of 10 student representatives on the Global Health committee have been spreading the Pay it Forward message to their peers and encouraging them to participate.
For them, community advocacy is an important part of the nursing program and there was appeal in the broad spectrum of people in the Okanagan that are reached by the campaign.
“We knew there would be a positive response from our classmates because we had run successful projects before, including a food drive,” says Christie Kneller, a BSN student and a representative on the volunteer committee. “But we didn’t expect this much!”
In 2007, Sarah Comba, an Okanagan College business student, began Pay it Forward after an experience she had volunteering at the Gospel Mission.
“I offered an elderly client two pairs of socks, but they insisted on only taking one pair and giving the other pair to someone else in need,” she explains. “The spirit of selflessness – that one small action could make a big difference for someone else – is what ignited the Pay it Forward campaign.”
Following graduation, Comba has continued to partner with the College’s Alumni Association to run the campaign, which is now in its 11th year. She returns to campus each year to help coordinate the event and even takes a day off from her job to hand-sort the donations alongside volunteers from the community and the College. This year the volunteers included a student from the BSN program.
The 2016 campaign wrapped up at noon on Dec. 2. Volunteers packed and delivered six truckloads full of donations to the non-profit organizations. The contributions from the BSN students accounted for 15 per cent of this year’s overall donations, which collectively come from the generosity of the College’s students, employees, alumni, and external community members who have heard about the drive.
The department was impressed with the spirit and the momentum of the campaign, says Monique Powell, BSN program chair.
“We weren’t surprised they took the initiative, because volunteering and advocating for the community are embedded in their program,” she explains. “The students really take a lot of pride and responsibility in participating in all aspects of their volunteering. For them to lead this effort among their peers, to manage it and to go out and do it – above and beyond their intensive school workload – is incredible.”
The BSN students donate their time to many campus initiatives, including Canadian Blood Services drives and they formed the largest volunteer group at the College’s Half Marathon last year. They plan to kick-off a drive next term to put together and give out care packages to those in need.
A joint federal-provincial and university investment totalling $40.65-million was announced today at UBC’s Okanagan campus to establish a new Teaching and Learning Centre and fund various sustainability and infrastructure upgrades.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture and MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country, on behalf of Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education, were on campus for today’s announcement.
“This investment in the development of UBC’s Okanagan campus is testament to the power of partnerships between governments, post-secondary and students,” said Santa Ono, UBC president and vice-chancellor. “I look forward to seeing the many great things that will come from the work undertaken by UBC students and researchers in these new and enhanced facilities.”
The bulk of the funding, $35 million, including a major investment by students, will go toward the Teaching and Learning Centre, an expansion and renewal of the campus library. In October 2014, students passed a referendum to partner with UBC to fund, though student fees, an expansion of the library.
“Thank you to the federal and provincial governments for these important investments in the future of UBC in the Okanagan,” said Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal, Okanagan campus. “I want to express my gratitude to our students for their commitment of up to $10 million to establish the Teaching and Learning Centre. It is an extraordinary contribution to future generations.”
The funding will also support environmental sustainability projects for research infrastructure, which will focus on sustainability upgrades to 11 campus buildings and provision of services and utilities to the UBC Innovation Precinct.
More details about today’s announcement can be found at: gov.bc.ca.newsrelease
Eight students from Okanagan College’s School of Business will be spending their winter break preparing to compete in the final round of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious case competition, Queen’s University’s Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.).
For 21-year-old Adrianna Knuth, being selected to compete on the Human Resources team along with Madison Blancher was a huge honour and after being named one of the top six teams in the preliminary round, the duo aren’t planning on just showing up at Queen’s for the competition: they are heading to Kingston to win.
“I’m feeling very confident about the competition and I’m so excited to represent Okanagan College,” says Knuth. “I think that we will come out on top because the professors here give us a lot of applied knowledge so as a student body we are really well prepared for real life application, which positions us very well in case competitions.”
After a challenging preliminary round, Okanagan College teams made the finals in four categories. Knuth and Blancher will compete in Human Resources and will be coached by professor Roger Wheeler. The College will send an Accounting team made up of Kyla Wiseman and Kirstin Pitzoff, coached by Adrian Fontenla, as well as a team in the category of Management Information Systems made up of Anthony Peterson and Jared Hubner, coached by professor Glen Coulthard.
The fourth team to compete will be named shortly and will present in the debate category. I.C.B.C. does not offer a preliminary competition in debate but ranks the top performing schools in the other seven categories and selects finalists based on the cumulative placing of all the competing teams.
In order to advance to the final round, Okanagan College teams competed against 32 post-secondary institutions from around the world.
“Queen’s I.C.B.C. competition is known to be the pre-eminent business case event in Canada and has growing recognition internationally,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “Once again our students are representing our institution extremely well and affirming that they are among the best in the country, if not the world.”
The finals will take place in Kingston from Jan. 19-21 and will include competitors from the University of Toronto, University of Vermont, Queen’s, McGill, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, to name a few.
At the finals, students will be given five hours to review a complex business case within their designated field and prepare a 15-minute presentation for the judging panel, which is comprised of Queen’s professors and senior management professionals from Canada’s largest corporations. No electronic resources are allowed, however, teams can use all the textbooks they had the foresight to bring with them.
Knuth and Blancher plan on spending the better part of their winter break and the early weeks of their January semester preparing for the finals. With a full course load, the extra hours might prove to be challenging for some students but Knuth has a history of taking on challenges and coming out on top.
She is currently in the final year of the Bachelor of Business Administration Honours program. She is scheduled to graduate in June with her honours degree with a major in human resources, a minor in communications, as well as a diploma in management—and she will have completed all of this in just three years.
After Knuth graduates she plans on working in human resources and then eventually running her own company. CEO is a title she sees in her future and given her work ethic and drive, her ambitions of becoming part of an executive team don’t seem far from her reach.
For now, Knuth has her sights set on a first-place finish at I.C.B.C. and would be honoured to bring home the title to Okanagan College.
The title “This Time” is an appropriate name for a winning story, considering Okanagan College’s Three-hour Short Story Contest is all about time – 180 minutes precisely.
Presented by the English department, the seventh annual contest took place on Saturday, Nov. 5 across all four College campuses. Writers were up against the clock with only three hours to create and edit an original short story while incorporating a secret phrase revealed at the competition’s start. This year’s phrase was “under the weather.”
Four regional authors (one per campus) were named the winners of the 2016 contest:
“This Time” by Pip Dryden (OC – Kelowna)
“Splat” by Daniel Greene (OC – Penticton)
“About Otters” by Adam Lauze (OC – Salmon Arm)
“Dinner Dive” by Mirka Yargeau (OC – Vernon)
The regional winners were awarded a $250 tuition credit and one overall winner received an additional $250 tuition credit and will have their story published in limited fine-press edition by Kalamalka Press.
For Pip Dryden, a second-year Associate of Arts student at the Kelowna Campus, entering the contest was a way to overcome her creative block and be motivated in a fun environment.
“The only thing I had in my brain when I started writing was the first line of the story,” says Dryden. “I tried to not be too formulaic and the story just sort of built itself around that.”
Not only did Dryden find her inspiration to start writing again, her story “This Time” was chosen as the overall winner out of 22 stories submitted across the four campuses.
“Pip’s story stood out to the judges because of her character development and consistent use of metaphor,” explains Dr. Shona Harrison, Okanagan College English professor and a contest judge. “We look for a strong story structure and relatable, believable characters that drive the plot and captivate the reader.”
Harrison and fellow Okanagan College English professors Kerry Gilbert, Hannah Ball, Jeremy Lanaway, Frances Greenslade and Jeremy Beaulne organized the event and judged the anonymous entries.
“All of the stories were varied in topic and tone, but they all demonstrated playfulness, creativity, deftness of expression and an immediacy inspired by writing a complete, self-sustained narrative in real-time," adds Lanaway.
For Daniel Greene, an Associate of Arts student and the 2015 overall winner, participating in the contest and having his story published was fulfilling on multiple levels.
“The biggest benefit was the recognition and affirmation of my skills as a writer. That was the first writing contest I had ever won and it has encouraged me to continue writing.”
Greene entered again this year and won the regional award for Penticton.
The free contest takes place every fall and is open to Okanagan College students and high school students in Grades 11 and 12.
Winning stories can be read online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting
A method to control the spread of mountain pine beetles—pheromone baiting—may actually help the pest’s population increase, UBC research shows.
A study by Rebecca Tyson, an associate professor of mathematics at UBC’s Okanagan campus, used mathematical modelling to examine several mountain pine beetle management strategies used in Banff National Park. The two-year simulation, which included then PhD candidate Shaun Strohm and University of Calgary professor Mary Reid, compared four separate management strategies: no management (monitoring only), pheromone baiting, tree removal, and finally, pheromone baiting combined with tree removal.
Other management strategies are prescribed burning and clearcutting—which Tyson says cause severe changes to the landscape and have not been proven to stop the spread of the beetle.
“What our study found is that where the beetle population is low, the pheromone is actually attracting more beetles and thus helping the beetle population increase,” says Tyson.
Tyson explains that each summer, the adult beetle emerges from a tree and looks for a new one where it will nest. Once that tree is found, the beetle emits a pheromone to attract other beetles to the same tree. Other beetles arrive, release more pheromone and the tree is attacked as adult beetles drill into the bark and make tunnels where they lay eggs. By the following summer, the eggs have hatched and turned into adults, and that tree is dead, with the needles turning red. The cycle continues as the beetles move to a neighbouring tree.
Under normal population control circumstances, when a tree is baited with pheromone, it is cut down in winter when the larvae are trapped inside, explains Tyson. Crews also search for other trees near the baited one, and all trees identified to contain beetles are removed.
“If all goes well,” says Tyson “the beetle population is so severely reduced that it dies out.”
However, her modelling indicates that pheromone baiting is not working precisely the way it was expected.
“From the field work done in Banff, we know that baiting didn't stop the beetle epidemic,” says Tyson. “Baiting may have slowed it down, but it did not stop it.”
Tyson explains that when the beetle population is low, the beetles actually have a hard time finding each other in the first place. Additional pheromone, placed by humans, help those beetles find each other and attack a tree—the baited one.
“With pheromone baiting, this means that humans have put strong signals in the forest that help the beetles find each other. They can then collect in sufficient numbers to attack a tree,” she explains. “In these situations, baiting is making things worse for the trees.”
Tyson describes the mountain pine beetle as an endemic pest capable of killing entire stands of mature pine. And while the beetle has a short lifespan, climate change and warmer winters have helped the population increase during an epidemic that began in the late 1990s.
Simulation modelling such as the method Tyson used with the mountain pine beetle can be used to help predict the influence of management strategies without creating harm to the landscape.
“This information could be very useful in determining appropriate management responses to future epidemics, and possibly also to the current epidemic as it spreads across the boreal forest,” she says. “If more data is gathered on mountain pine beetle dispersal and response to forest edges, we can continue to refine our model and predictions to provide an informative approach for future management decisions.”
Tyson’s research was recently published in ScienceDirect. To find out more, visit: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304380016302514
UBC researchers have demonstrated that simple, cost-effective email messages can help improve the health habits of Canadians.
Mary Jung, an assistant professor of health and exercise sciences at UBC's Okanagan campus, recently completed a nationwide study with more than 730 Canadians who were not meeting Canada’s recommended dietary intake for calcium. Participants received an email—with evidence-based daily tips and strategies on how to increase calcium intake—four days in a row.
Jung, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Professor, wanted to determine if targeted messaging—making particular outcomes relevant to the population of interest—could be a feasible public health strategy for improving calcium intake.
“Just four targeted messages made a remarkable difference in the consumption of calcium-rich foods,” says Jung. “The majority of our participants increased their calcium intake by one serving of dairy a day—pretty good results.”
Rather than tailoring messages to each individual, which can be costly and intrusive, the messages in this study highlighted outcomes Jung had found relevant to her targeted audience. Specifically, she used evidence-based information including the suggestion of being a positive role model for one’s children, understanding the health benefits of consuming enough calcium as we age, and strategies to keep up the required daily consumption.
Despite the known health benefits of getting enough calcium, such as bone health, less than 40 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 30 and 50 consume the right amount. Jung notes that this age group tend to encourage their children to drink milk, but forget the importance of ensuring they get enough calcium. Other than dairy products, calcium can be found in green leafy vegetables like kale and broccoli, as well as in almonds and canned fish with bones.
Jung says her four emails, arriving in email boxes early each morning, resulted in an increase of more than 200 milligrams of calcium each day in participants—which was maintained four weeks after the emails were sent out.
“This study demonstrates that providing salient information, along with relevant how-to strategies, is an effective way to promote calcium intake in Canadian adults,” says Jung. “These findings hold promise for future public health campaigns on a shoestring budget. By making messages meaningful to the targeted audience, cost-efficient messages can change health behaviours.”
Jung’s research was recently published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine. To find out more, visit: link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12160-016-9828-2
Okanagan College Media Release
Four Okanagan College business students will be representing the interior at a B.C. Tourism Industry Conference competition in February, thanks to a victory at a regional competition this week in Kamloops that involved developing a full business plan for a luxury biking tour company.
Adrian Lemiski, Nicolas Gallant, Brooks Hewko and Merissa Hucul spent about 60 hours, with help from coaches Laura Thurnheer and Blair Baldwin (both professors in the Okanagan College School of Business), developing the plan for Pioneer Adventure. The fictitious company serves the Columbia and Western Rail Trail from Castlegar to Midway and the Kettle Valley Rail trail from Midway to Osoyoos.
One of the objectives of the plan was to promote rural economic development.
The students’ plan was submitted to four private-sector judges last Monday and they met with the judges privately on Thursday.
Afterward they had to present their plan to an audience of about 150 people, who were able to vote on their phones as part of the competition. The voting counted for 10 per cent of the students’ mark, while the presentation counted for another 30 per cent. Sixty per cent of the mark was based on the business plan itself.
“There is an incredible amount of work involved in preparing for this case competition,” explains Baldwin. “It’s almost as much work as a full semester’s course, but it provides the students a chance to test their knowledge and ideas against the expertise of private sector experts.”
“Stressful? A little,” admits Lemiski, “but definitely a great learning experience. The whole team really coalesced and we came up with a solid plan. And now we need to continue our prep for the provincial competition.”
The Tourism Industry Case competition is sponsored by Go2HR, an industry organization that promotes tourism careers, helps with labour market information and analysis and provides training and certification.
The four OC students will travel to Victoria in February to compete against regional winners from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Kootenays and from Northern B.C.
A new partnership established by UBC researchers may lead to a more targeted approach to children’s health and well-being, and the specific health risks children face in the Southern Interior.
Paediatric exercise physiologist Ali McManus, along with Lesley Lutes, a registered clinical psychologist, a health psychologist, and a UBC associate professor of psychology, will lead a pioneering, two-year, research and outreach project investigating the health and wellness status of children and adolescents in Kelowna.
Their study aims to determine whether the physical and emotional health issues of youth in Kelowna reflect national trends or if they are unique to the region. Their goal is to eventually create a scalable, evidence-based health and wellness index for Kelowna children and youth.
The project, made possible by Tree of Hope with $100,000 in funding from both TD Bank Group and Landmark Centre, will launch in the new year.
“By identifying the health and wellness needs of young people in Kelowna, we will provide the stimulus for the development and delivery of future targeted health and wellness initiatives,” says McManus, an associate professor of health and exercise sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “Most importantly, this health and wellness screening tool will act as a long-term evaluation system of future health and wellness initiatives.
“We are grateful to TD and the Landmark Centre for their support of this research and for helping us move towards addressing some important issues in children’s health.”
Previously, McManus has developed and tested a variety of materials to help measure health, including wearable technologies, wearable microelectronics, mobile body composition measurements, mobile measures of cardiovascular risk and measures of psychological health.
In Lutes’ previous research, she has conducted randomized clinical trials to improve well-being and happiness, and multiple health behaviour-change interventions focussed on underserved and rural populations, as well as studying people who struggle with chronic health conditions and depression.
“Tree of Hope is committed to supporting initiatives that solve local challenges with innovative solutions, well-being" says the Tree of Hope’s Carolyn Stober. "We are delighted to facilitate a donation from TD and Landmark Centre that supports professor McManus’s research that we believe will improve the well-being of children and youth in our community.”
“TD is proud to support this important community initiative led by UBC with the aim to improve the health and well-being of children in BC and across Canada,” says Dale Safinuk, district vice-president – BC Southern Interior, TD Canada Trust. “Supporting this project is one of the many ways TD is giving back to the communities in which we live and work.”
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are a number of health issues affecting Canadian children, including obesity, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. The study will also look at psycho-social indicators of health such as levels of anxiety experienced by study participants.
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