Canadians honoured for their work to advance global health and gender equality

OTTAWA, April 30, 2020 – Nine exceptional and dedicated Canadian individuals and organizations will be honoured this year for their significant contributions towards the advancement of the health and rights of women and children globally. 

The third annual CanWaCH Awards for Canadian Excellence in Global Health and Gender Equality recognizes the significant contributions of Canadians in seven key areas: Leadership, Gender Equality, Measuring Impact, Rising Star, Savvy Communicator, Private Sector Excellence and Partnership. This is the first year that CanWaCH is recognizing excellence in communications through the Savvy Communicator Award, and the unique role of the private sector in global health through the Private Sector Excellence Award.

“As the world unites amid the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard our shared health, it is especially timely and meaningful to be honouring some of the best and most deserving talent among the individuals and organizations working in Canada’s global health sector,” said Helen Scott, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH). “Many of this year’s award recipients have dedicated their life’s work to serving communities and populations around the world and they exemplify Canada’s commitment to advancing the health, wellbeing, rights and equality of women and children everywhere.”

The awards will be presented at a reception in Ottawa in November 2020 as part of the Global Health Impact Expo and Exchange which was postponed from its original April date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following award recipients were selected from among nominations received from across Canada. 

Leadership Award: Recognizing a Canadian individual who has made outstanding achievements in women and children’s health.

Diane Jacovella is being recognized for her leadership on critical initiatives to advance the health and wellbeing of women and children, including the 2010 G8 Muskoka Initiative to improve maternal, newborn and child health, throughout her career extensive, executive-level career with the Government of Canada

Rising Star Award: Recognizing youth trailblazers who are making a difference within the women and children’s health sector at the local, national, or global level. 

Ishita Aggarwal is being recognized for her leadership as a first-year medical student and founder of Mom’s the Word, a sexual and maternal health organization that hosts free prenatal workshops for homeless and low-income pregnant women and advises sexual assault and rape victims on available community resources. To date, Mom’s the Word has provided aid to thousands of marginalized girls and women.

Savvy Communicator Award:  Recognizing a communications, public engagement or marketing professional who has delivered, led or carried-out persuasive and innovative communications strategies and approaches to successfully communicate the impact of Canada’s leadership and excellence in global health and gender equality.

Justin McAuley is being recognized for his years of experience leading on communications and engagement campaigns. Most recently, he joined the ONE Campaign in the midst of an active Global Fund campaign, bringing with him 12 years of experience working in international development, health research, and government. Currently, he is on temporary active duty with the Canadian Armed Forces as it responds to COVID-19 and prepares for other domestic operations. 

Gender Equality Award: Recognizing an individual who has demonstrated significant leadership and influence in measuring impact in global health and rights issues affecting women, children, and adolescents. 

Monica Malta, PhD, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the University of Toronto is being recognized for her important contributions towards improving gender equality. She works with key international groups, including UN organizations and women-led groups such as ‘500 Women Scientists’ and ‘Women in Global Health’ to foster gender equality. Her research focuses on global health and gender inequality and she is currently evaluating the mental health burden of treating COVID-19 patients to inform best practices.

Measuring Impact Award: Recognizing an individual who champions the collection, analysis, use or sharing of data and monitoring and evaluation to communicate the impact of Canadian efforts in global health. 

Dr. Carol Vlassoff is being recognized for her exceptional contributions to Canadian and global efforts in the areas of gender, reproductive health, tropical diseases, and human rights, most recently with the University of Ottawa and Bruyère Research Institute. Much of her career was devoted to how infectious diseases are impacted by social issues, including gender inequality.

Private Sector Excellence Award: This award recognizes a private sector organization that has contributed in a significant way to the advancement of gender equality and the global health of women and children.

Aisle, formerly known as Lunapads, has been working to eliminate of the stigma of menstruation and to foster reproductive justice since 1993. An award-winning B Corporation, this social impact business produces reusable menstrual products that are good for users and great for the planet.

Partnership Award: This award recognizes a group from any industry or sector who have collaborated through a project, program, initiative, event, platform, tool or research project that advances global health for women and children and clearly demonstrates the power of partnership.

Born on Time is the first public-private partnership dedicated to the prevention of preterm birth. The five-year initiative brings together the collective expertise and resources of World Vision Canada, Plan International Canada, Save the Children Canada, the Government of Canada and Johnson & Johnson. Born on Time works in communities across Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Mali to prioritize the prevention of preterm birth, where risk factors are exacerbated by gender inequalities. 

About CanWaCH

CanWaCH is a partnership of 100 organizations and associates working to ensure more women and children survive and thrive in over 1000 communities around the world. More information about the CanWaCH Awards and the work of CanWaCH members can be found at www.CanWaCH.ca.  

Contact:

Caitlin Reid
Senior Communications Officer
Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health
creid@CanWaCH.ca | 647-207-2460
CanWaCH.ca

CanWaCH 2020 Award Recipients 

Leadership Award: Diane Jacovella, Government of Canada (retired)

Diane Jacovella

Diane Jacovella retired from the Government of Canada in September 2019 as Deputy Minister of International Development and Deputy Minister for Women and Gender Equality. Throughout her career, Diane worked on critical initiatives advancing the health and wellbeing of women and children, including 2010 G8 Muskoka Initiative to improve maternal, newborn and child health; Scaling Up Nutrition Movement; Her Voice, Her Choice to address gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy; 2018 G7 initiative on Girls’ Education; and 2019 Women Deliver Global Gathering. Diane also served on various international committees, including the United Nations Secretary General Committee for the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, the Global Financing Facility and the World Bank Gender Advisory Committee. She was also Canada’s G7 Sous-Sherpa for the G7 Summits of 2015, 2016 and 2017; and Canada’s Alternate Governor for the World Bank Group in 2017 and 2018.

Rising Star Award: Ishita Aggarwal, MOM’S THE WORD

Ishita Aggarwal

Ishita Aggarwal completed an Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto and a Master of Public Health at Western University. She is currently a first-year medical student at Queen’s University. She has a keen interest in health and human rights, gender equality, and social sustainability. In April 2016, Ishita founded MOM'S THE WORD (MTW), a sexual and maternal health community organization. MTW hosts free prenatal workshops for homeless and low-income pregnant women and advises sexual assault and rape victims on available community resources. To date, MTW has provided aid to thousands of marginalized girls and women. For her work, Ishita has been named a Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader, Top 25 Canadian Immigrant, Queen's Young Leader, L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth, and Top 25 Woman of Influence, among others. In her spare time, Ishita enjoys reading, writing, and exploring her city’s art and food scene.

Savvy Communicator Award: Justin McAuley, The ONE Campaign

Justin McAuley

Justin McAuley is an experienced leader and professional storyteller. He joined The ONE Campaign in 2019 in the midst of an active Global Fund campaign after earning 12 years of experience in communications with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Parliament of Canada. His strategic mind, combined with his ability to build networks with journalists, subject matter experts and sector leaders have produced consistent success in landing positive mainstream coverage of challenging issues around Canadian politics, foreign affairs and global development. Justin is also serving with the Canadian Armed Forces as part of its COVID-19 response.

Gender Equality Award: Monica Malta, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

Monica Malta

Monica Malta, PhD, is a Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. Dr. Malta works with key international groups, including UN organizations and women-led groups such as ‘500 Women Scientists’ and ‘Women in Global Health’ to foster gender equality. Her research focuses mainly on global health and gender inequality. In partnership with Duke University, Dr. Malta is developing mental health interventions for LGBTQ2S+ people from Brazil, Kenya and Vietnam, sponsored by NIH. Grand Challenges Canada is supporting an intervention addressing violence against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women from Brazil. In partnership with UCLA and UCSD, Dr. Malta will evaluate the mental health burden of treating COVID-19 patients to inform best practices. During the last few years, she has been working with Correctional Service of Canada and the University of Auckland to evaluate adequate opioid-related treatment for incarcerated persons.

Measuring Impact Award: Dr. Carol Vlassoff, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa and Bruyère Research Institute

Carol Vlassoff

Dr. Carol Vlassoff, Adjunct Professor, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa and Bruyère Research Institute, has over 40 years’ international research and teaching experience in the areas of gender, reproductive health, tropical diseases, and human rights. She has held senior positions, including: International Development Research Centre (IDRC), World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Much of her career was devoted to how infectious diseases are impacted by social issues, including gender inequality. In WHO’s Tropical Diseases Research Programme Dr. Vlassoff initiated a Gender and Tropical Diseases Research Task Force which stimulated new insights on how diseases of poverty in the Global South, such as leprosy and schistosomiasis, affect men and women differently. She has over 50 original publications on gender and health, among them her longitudinal study of son preference in rural India, spanning three decades.  

Private Sector Excellence Award: Aisle (formerly Lunapads)

Aisle founders

Aisle, formerly known as Lunapads, was founded in 1993 and is one of the first sustainable menstruation companies. The elimination of the stigma of menstruation and fostering reproductive justice has always been central to the organization. An award-winning B Corporation, the social impact business produces reusable menstrual products that are good for users and great for the planet.

Partnership Award: Born on Time Gender Equality Working Group
Save the Children Canada, World Vision Canada, Plan International Canada

Born on Time

Born on Time is the first public-private partnership dedicated to the prevention of preterm birth. The five-year initiative brings together the collective expertise and resources of World Vision Canada, Plan International Canada, Save the Children Canada, the Government of Canada and Johnson & Johnson. Born on Time works in communities across Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Mali to prioritize the prevention of preterm birth, where risk factors are exacerbated by gender inequalities. To address this, a key focus of the Born On Time program has been placed on gender equality. The program has been working to support the empowerment of women and adolescent girls to make decisions about their own health and bodies as well as to engage men, boys, and community leaders to transform harmful gender norms, attitudes, and practices; particularly those that impact the health outcomes of women, adolescent girls, and their children. Born On Time also supports women and adolescent girls before, during, and after pregnancies by strengthening health systems with training, equipment, and supplies to provide quality, gender-responsive and adolescent-friendly care. The gender-transformative approaches implemented by the consortium have been guided by the Born On Time Gender Equality Working Group, led by Save the Children Canada in close collaboration with Plan International Canada and World Vision Canada.