Humanitarian Awards: Reaching out into the world

Communication Sciences and Disorders professor Jack Scott has been named the 2015 Western Humanitarian Award winner – so honoured for his First Nation Hearing Health program, which addresses hearing health issues in James Bay First Nations communities, the Award Selection Committee announced today.

Established in 2010, the Western Humanitarian Award recognizes faculty, staff and students, who are engaged in a range of efforts directed toward improving the quality of life for individuals and communities around the world. Funded by the Office of the Vice-President (Research), this award provides a maximum of $5,000 in support of humanitarian efforts as chosen by the recipient.

The committee also singled out a submission by Dasha Peregoudova, a Western Law student, for special recognition. She was recognized for her work with The Olive Branch for Children, an organization that helps remote communities in Tanzania.

A luncheon honouring Scott, as well as recognizing Peregoudova, will be held Thursday, April 9.

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Jack Scott
Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Sciences
The First Nation Hearing Health program

Substantial hearing health issues in James Bay First Nations communities, combined with reduced access to specialized hearing health services, continue to create education and quality-of-life challenges for residents. Enter the First Nation Hearing Health program, led by Communication Sciences and Disorders professor Jake Scott.

Scott’s program looks to increase accessibility to health services for these underserved areas, as well as train future audiologists in the skills necessary to implement hearing health outreach programs. This program has highlighted the importance of hearing health issues to teachers, administrators, health-care staff, elders and community members. It has also provided opportunities for, thus far, nine Clinical Audiology graduate students, who have learned methods for implementing outreach programs in underserved communities.

“His direct, on-site supervision of our graduate students in audiology with clients from First Nations communities is nothing short of spectacular,” wrote J.B. Orange, a fellow Communication Sciences and Disorders professor. “This program of his, run for over five years in parallel to a similarly newly developed clinical placement for our graduate students in Speech-language Pathology, is a model of success that is well-acknowledged by our dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, by folks in our central administration and by peer-reviewers.

“I am very proud of Jack’s distinguished efforts in teaching our students about and showing them the real hearing issues among Canada’s First Nations Communities.”

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Dasha Peregoudova
Juris Doctor candidate (2016), Law
The Olive Branch for Children

In 2013, Western Law student Dasha Peregoudova started working with The Olive Branch for Children, an organization that helps remote communities in Tanzania assess their primary needs and establish programs that target the most vulnerable.

In June 2013, Peregoudova raised more than $7,500 through a fundraising event, A Branch for Brotherhood, where more than 200 people attended.

Last December, she traveled to Mbeya, Tanzania, for two weeks to lead an artistic development and empowerment camp at Olive Branch. While there, she participated in the next phase of the orphanage and school’s development, by providing access to physical activity, music and theatre education for children.

“Since first meeting Ms. Peregoudova, we at The Olive Branch for Children have been very impressed by her vision and commitment to developing a positive learning experience for children within our care,” wrote Deborah McCracken-Nangereke, The Olive Branch for Children founder and Tanzanian coordinator. “She is hardworking, dedicated, passionate and compassionate. She believes strongly in using her extensive and admirable skills to ‘be the change’ she wishes to see in the world.”