Award Winners

Winners in the Academic Staff category were Professor Liliane Asseraf-Pasin of the Faculty of Medicine (School of Physical and Occupational Therapy) and Professor Hiba Zafran of the Faculty of Medicine (School of Physical and Occupational Therapy).

 


 

 

Professor Liliane Asseraf-Pasin was recognized for demonstrating tremendous leadership and dedication in her work on two key projects which enhance the working and learning environments of people from diverse backgrounds. The first is the McGill Retention Program in which internationally trained, English-speaking physical therapists gain access to professional practice in their field through equivalency training. Second, Dr. Asseraf-Pasin was instrumental in ground-breaking work which led to founding the Joint Curriculum for Interprofessional Education in 2005. The Office of Interprofessional Education (OIPE) was then created in 2016. She is committed to training health professionals who will transform health care delivery through interprofessional collaboration. Together, these initiatives help to shape a more inclusive professional physiotherapy community of practice that serves our pluralistic society

As an Occupational Therapist/Psychotherapist Professor Hiba Zafran's teaching focuses on raising awareness of mental illness, highlighting the effects of diversity and intersectionality on the lived experience of health and disease, and promoting participation and engagement of individuals with mental health illness in the areas of self-care, productivity, and leisure.  Her nominators referenced the passion, grace and diplomacy with which Dr. Zafran advocates for social justice. Her efforts to formalize a commitment to equity and inclusive education has been exemplary and inspiring within the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, and serves as an example to all of McGill.

 

 


 

The team category honoured two deserving groups; Beyond Me and the Faculty of Engineering.

 

Beyond Me is an incredible group of McGill students dedicated to supporting children and teenagers with disabilities and encouraging a diverse and inclusive campus through disability advocacy projects. Recognizing the low proportion of students with disabilities in higher education and a systemic lack of inclusion for people with disabilities, the Beyond Me team aims to tackle this issue head on through their mentoring and tutoring program for students with disabilities in the community.

Beyond Me is a student-run non-profit organization that provides one-on-one mentoring and tutoring services for children and teenagers with special needs. The team is partnered with 4 schools in the Montreal area and works with local psychologists and social workers who refer many families to this program.

The Beyond Me team has also demonstrated their commitment to advocating on disability issues and promoting equity and diversity on campus on a large scale through the growth of their awareness activities.

The nomination of an entire Faculty to this award might seem unusual, but in this case, it highlights the many concrete equity‐related initiatives that the Faculty of Engineering has led over the last 3 years are the result of effort and dedication on the part of many. Under the leadership of the current Dean, Professor Jim Nicell, the Faculty has made equity a priority and has embarked on an effort to change the prevailing culture. Many initiatives have blossomed in tight collaboration with SEDE in areas such as student education, staff retention, faculty recruitment. 

 

The winner for the Administrative and Support Staff category was Adrienne Piggott of Procurement Services.

 

The Administrative and Support Staff Category regognized Adrienne Piggott’s outstanding service as Chair of the Subcommittee on Racialized and Ethnic Persons. Adrienne's contributions are marked by her relentless commitment to social justice, anti-oppression, and transformative leadership. In addition to creating and maintaining an active blog and website for the subcommittee, she is an integral reference point for many equity initiatives across campus. Her nominators describe Adrienne as a force of sustainable change on campus, positively impacting student, staff and policy. She represents a crucial balance of hard work, concrete outcomes, and a caring ear. Adrienne’s work is couched in an understanding that experiences of marginalization can be isolating. However, Adrienne has consistently managed to create a space where these emotions are acknowledged and worked through a framework of accountability, self-awareness and empowerment. She believes and validates racialized experiences, and helps to equip individuals with the necessary resources and skills to address these issues.

 

The Student category was awarded to Christopher Ma.

 


 

Christopher Ma is a third-year student studying Neuroscience. Christopher took an idea for an after-school music program and developed it into an impressive force of volunteers and students dedicated to helping kids from various diverse backgrounds and special needs to recognize a love of music and an appreciation for the arts.

Christopher founded the School of Music Montreal to provide free music lessons for at-risk school-aged children. This initiative is rooted in Christopher’s own love of music, his experiences with music and music sharing, and his recognition of music as a gift that can be enjoyed by and benefit all, regardless of background, ability or opportunity.

Now in its third year, the School of Music Montreal exhibits Christopher’s commitment to music education to empower youth through creativity, self-expression and mentorship. 

*Christopher's sister Fanny Ma was on hand to accept this award.