Upon receiving the Dawn Bucharski Graduate Award in Health Promotion, Leia Minaker knew instantly that she would donate the funds - $1,000 - to the Health Promotion Graduate Students' Association (HPGSA). As the new president of HPGSA, Leia envisions the association becoming more active in promoting healthy public policies at the University of Alberta and now has resources to put her health promotion knowledge into action.
In June, 2005, Leia became the second recipient of the Dawn Bucharski Graduate Award in Health Promotion. This award is intended to inspire and support students who demonstrate spirit and commitment to leadership in the health promotion community.
Reflecting on what the award has meant to her, Leia noted, "Dawn has a very special place in the Centre. To be recognized as someone who is fulfilling her passions and dreams, I was very honoured."
When asked about this year's recipient, Dr. Kim Raine, Director of the Centre Studies (currently on sabbatical) commented, "Leia is not just smart. She is motivated to action by the political, social, and economic injustices that challenge people."
And motivated to action she is. She recently organized and led a press conference on behalf of HPGSA to deliver a report card on the University of Alberta's implementation of recommendations from the Final Report of the Senate Task Force on Wellness. The report contained 23 strategies to improve the overall wellness of the University and to make it the healthiest campus in Canada. When asked about the report card, Leia responded, "In preparing our report card, we consulted with students, faculty, and key administrative staff and have assigned grades for each of the 23 recommendations in the Wellness report."
The report card suggests that there is room for improvement and Leia hopes to work with the University on this -- she recently volunteered to serve as the graduate students' representative on the University's Workplace Health Promotion Advisory Committee. "I will continue to advocate for healthy public policies on campus. I believe that a healthy work force should be an end in itself."
For information about how you might make a contribution to the Dawn Bucharski Graduate Award in Health Promotion, please contact the Development Office of the University of Alberta.