After spending a year as a volunteer with Breast Cancer Action Quebec, the organization became the site of my practicum placement for my Masters of Public Health degree. I came to BCAQc with a background in exploring how the health of our environment impacts food security and our reproductive health. I was interested in doing my practicum at BCAQc to learn how to apply my new public health skills to social-justice oriented work. BCAQc represented everything I hoped public health could embody: an empowering approach to holistically confronting some of the most compelling environmental and social issues of our time.
Most of my work centered around the Health Connections youth program, which I assisted in the development of and constructed a program logic model for. I also undertook an impact evaluation, creating a questionnaire to evaluate students before and after the program to assess the impacts we made.We were interested in evaluating if Health Connections increased students’ environmental health literacy, which is embodied in the development of knowledge about environmental health, positive attitudes towards it, and the skills and capacity to take action to create environmentally healthy communities.
What I didn’t expect was how much my own environmental health literacy would improve over the course of my internship as well! The learning is already clear when I look in my kitchen or bathroom, since over the course of my internship I was moved to replace my plastic cookware with glass, and toxicant-laden cosmetics with homemade alternatives.
I truly feel like I’ve learned more about the confronting environmental issues our planet is facing than I ever could have in my courses - and more importantly, how to act on these issues. Rather than just knowing the definition of the precautionary principle, I’ve been able to put it into action by leading DIY workshops on toxic-free body products, and teaching high school students about the unregulated risks present in our cosmetic ingredients and the pesticide-filled foods we eat. I am thankful that my practicum exposed me to complex issues like ecotoxicology, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and environmental racism, which have set me down new exciting and unanticipated academic and professional paths.
I am so grateful and enthusiastic for the opportunity to learn with and from BCAQc this year!
BCAQc relies on membership dues and private donations to stay in operation. Membership entitles you to advance notice of seminars and workshops as well as a subscription to our electronic newsletter— BCAQc Connected.
A strong membership also helps to substantiate our financial applications for government grants and private foundations. Please consider joining us today!
For twenty five years — with your support — BCAQc has been working hard to get vital information about environmental and chemical links to breast cancer to the public, and we now know that our message is being heard.
We ask you to consider a financial gift to Breast Cancer Action Quebec to help us to continue to get this vital information to the public.
There are many ways you can be involved: volunteer, write a letter to the editor, book an educational workshop for your school, community group or work place.
Engage with us, follow us on social media, share your opinions and ideas – take BCAQc’s message to your community! Be a voice for a change!