Friday, November 20, 2009

You-Tube Video Gives Voice to Aboriginal Women Struggling with Drug Addiction:

This story came through on a community based participatory research listserv I'mon.  I was so impressed with the video and it's pretty unique to see a song/video as part of a project so I thought I would pass it along.  I'd be curcious to see how they use this video with policy makers, treatment providers, etc. 

A powerful new music video From Stilettos to Moccasins was released this week, the culmination of a unique project that gave voice to Aboriginal women healing from drug abuse, addictions and problems with the law, together with those who are helping them on their journey.

The video is part of a community-based research project conducted by the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation (NNAPF), and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA).  The research project examined the role that identity and stigma have in the healing journeys of criminalized Aboriginal women in treatment for drug abuse at centres across Canada. The video is being used by the research team in the development of a discussion guide for workshops at addiction treatment centres across Canada.

“By creating a music video, based on the findings of academic research, we can increase our capacity to strengthen understanding about Aboriginal women’s treatment needs among a broad range of service providers and the general public,” said U of S sociologist Colleen Dell, Research Chair in Substance Abuse. “It also offers a unique and personalized message of hope and inspiration to women on their healing journeys.”

The song featured in the video was created at a workshop in February at Cedar Lodge on Blackstrap Lake, SK., with the professional collaboration of singer/songwriter Violet Naytowhow, a Woodland Cree from Prince Albert. Naytowhow and others who composed the song perform in the music video, which was presented in Halifax this week at the national conference “Issues of Substance” during National Addictions Awareness Week (Nov. 15-21).

“As a way of informing treatment practice, capturing the unique experiences of Aboriginal women who have recovered from their addictions in song is most inspiring,” says Rita Notarandrea, deputy chief executive officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

“We are merging these messages with academic literature and sharing this research with others, in the hope of achieving a greater impact on policy and practice of addictions treatment in Saskatchewan and across Canada,” says Carol Hopkins, NNAPF executive-director.

The team worked with Mae Star Productions, an independent Saskatchewan-based company, to produce the music video.

The multi-year collaborative research project was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health. The project involved interviews with more than 100 First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis women in treatment for illicit drug use.

For more information, please see the website of the research project at:

For more information, contact:
Colleen Dell
Department of Sociology/School of Public Health
University of Saskatchewan

Kathryn Warden
U of S Research Communications

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Knoll's brain wakes up...

I got word that I now have a faculty sponsor from the School of Public Health (1 official and 1 unofficial sponsor) for my independent research beginning in Jaunary. 

I'm sure I'll elaborate more on this; the details still have to be worked out in November.  The work will be related to community based participatory research (CBPR), community-academic partnerships with LGBT health and social service orgs., LGBT reaseach ethics, and CBPR ethics, etc.     

I'm also planning on taking a course or two this winter or spring/summer.  UM pays 75% of the tuition for me as a staff member.  I have a good sense now what I might need more work on to prepare for a post-masters fellowship, doctoral work, or just more responsibilty at my current job.

Both of these things make me very, very happy on this sunny fall afternoon. 

Drexel University School of Public Health Launches Program for LGBT Health

The Drexel University School of Public Health has launched a major academic research center focusing on the health disparities and health behaviors of LGBT people and communities: the Program for LGBT Health. Drexel joins an exclusive roster of universities in the United States where an academic unit has been established to conduct LGBT research, training and advocacy in a public health framework. Only a handful of such programs exist that specifically aim to improve the health and well-being of LGBT populations. 

The Program for LGBT Health is designed to address health and wellness issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research and evaluation, education and training, partnering with health and social
services providers, and public health policy and advocacy. The program will leverage the expertise of faculty and professionals in multiple disciplines at Drexel University, as well as experts from outside the university. A
significant feature of the program will be curricula leading to a Certificate in LGBT Health Awareness for the school’s graduate students.

More information at

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wanted: Mammologists

One of the faculty I work for/with contributed to an Op-ed piece in the New York Times published today.  I had wondered, in a more abstract way, about treatment expereinces for folks with breast versus gynocologic cancers.  Brings up some useful info I was unaware of about training if medical residents.  Very interesting.

"The breast is something of an orphan in our health care system. We have cardiologists, nephrologists, hepatologists, proctologists and neurologists — but we have no “mammologists.” How did the breast get lost?

Women with breast cancer get lost in the mix, forced to make several different appointments, sit in various waiting rooms and see multiple doctors. In most cases, a woman with a breast problem will start with her obstetrician-gynecologist, who will then refer her to a surgeon (for a biopsy) or a radiologist (for a mammogram). The referring obstetrician-gynecologist may never see or hear from the patient again, and may not know if she kept her appointment or got adequate care.

Contrast this with the care given to women with gynecologic cancer. Because there is a subspecialty of gynecologic oncology, women see the same doctor from diagnosis to post-surgery follow-up. Breast malignancies outnumber gynecologic cancers 10 to one, and yet we have no subspecialty for breast care....

The whole article HERE

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sign of the times...

In a scene that spoke volumes about the despair of one of the nation's poorest cities, about 50,000 Detroiters descended on downtown to pick up 5,000 applications in hopes of enrolling in a federal program that pays a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to low-income residents to help pay rent and utilities.

In fact, some 60,000 residents applied for the aid over two days, although the city will only be able to help about 3,400 families.

Detroit received $15.2 million from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program that helps pay rent, utility assistance and security deposits for families with incomes of less than $35,500. In Detroit, that's 58 percent of the households, states the U.S. Census.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

City of Kalamazoo adds 760 new voters before election

Cheers to The One Kalamazoo campaign who apparently busted their butts who registered 670 new voters.  Here's hoping many of those are affiliated with WMU and supportive of the city ordinance. 

By Kathy Jessup
Kalamazoo Gazette
October 07, 2009, 6:48AM

KALAMAZOO — A record-setting number of new voter registrations from Kalamazoo’s two college campuses have been submitted by supporters of a gay-rights ordinance that will be decided in the Nov. 3 election.

The Kalamazoo City Clerk’s office reported nearly 760 new-voter applications were filed by Monday’s deadline, compared to fewer than 50 that are typically received in an odd-year city election.  Kalamazoo City Clerk Scott Borling said that “nearly all” of the new voter registrations submitted Friday and Monday listed addresses on or near the campuses of Western Michigan University or Kalamazoo College. City workers were in the process Tuesday of recording those new voters.

On Nov. 3, voters will decide the future of a city ordinance to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals in housing, employment and public accommodations. City Commission candidates and a Metro Transit tax also will be on the ballot. 

Jon Hoadley, campaign director for One Kalamazoo, the organization formed to push for passage of the nondiscrimination ordinance, said the group has been working to register new voters.  “Staff and volunteers had voter registration forms on hand in the office, at events, and in key locations around the city like Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College,” Hoadley said. “We definitely made a concerted effort to register more voters at as many events as we could.”

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Still Black: a protrait of black transmen

In case you haven't had a chance to see this at the Philly Trans Health Conference last year, or any of the other places it's been screened at: 

Still Black: a portrait of black transmen
Thursday, October 15th, 7-9 pm
Affirmations Community Center (Part of Coming Out Week festivities)

The film explore the lives of six black transgender men living in the United States through the intimate stories of their lives as artists, students, husbands, fathers, lawyers, and teachers.  The film offers viewers a complex and multi-faceted image of race, sexuality, and trans identity.

For more info visit:  Still Black Film Site

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gay and Bisexual Identity Development Among Transmen

A new journal article is out on FTM sexuality.  Thought it might be of some interest to everyone.  I read the article, which is deecent.  My favorite part, however, was when the authors describe that roughly (maybe the wrong word to use here) 33% of the sample like it in their front hole.  Cheers to that fellows!

Bockting W, Benner A, Coleman E.,

Gay and bisexual identity development among female-to-male transsexuals in North America: emergence of a transgender sexuality.

Arch Sex Behav. 2009 Oct;38(5):688-701.

(I've figured out how to allow folks to download the PDF from my blog!) 


We studied a North American sample of female-to-male (FtM) transsexuals sexually attracted to men, aiming to understand their identity and sexuality in the context of a culture of transgender empowerment.

Sex-reassigned FtM transsexuals, 18 years or older and attracted to men, were recruited via an FtM community conference and listserv. Participants (N = 25) responded to open-ended questions about identity development, sexual behavior, and social support.
Data were analyzed by content analysis. Scores for sexual identity, self esteem, sexual functioning, and psychological adjustment were compared to those of a comparison group (N = 76 nontransgender gay and bisexual men). Of the 25 FtMs, 15 (60%) identified as gay, 8 (32%) as bisexual, and 2 (8%) as queer.
All were comfortable with their gender identity and sexual orientation. The FtM group was more bisexual than the nontransgender gay and bisexual controls. No significant group differences were found in self esteem, sexual satisfaction, or psychological adjustment. For some FtMs, sexual attractions and experiences with men affirmed their gender identity; for others, self-acceptance of a transgender identity facilitated actualization of their attractions toward men. Most were “out” as transgender among friends and family, but not on the job or within the gay community. Disclosure and acceptance of their homosexuality was limited.
The sexual identity of gay and bisexual FtMs appears to mirror the developmental process for nontransgender homosexual men and women in several ways; however, participants also had experiences unique to being both transgender and gay/bisexual. This signals the emergence of a transgender sexuality.

Re-post from roham a. bear, "My Tranifesto: An Ongoing Self Exam Sans Stirrups"

An amazing individual I know wrote this, "My Tranifesto:  An Ongoing Self Exam Sans Stirrups"  and, becuase I feel like more folks should get the chance to read it, they gave me permission to repost it here. 

A little sample....(I really am putting this on my bathroom mirror!)

4. i have a right to be in this body, and to use the language i choose to define it. i will consistently challenge myself around the words i choose, i will continue to learn, to listen, to adapt, to honour.