Pivot! A Health Empowerment Leadership Program

Pivot! A Health Empowerment Leadership Program

Are you ready to disrupt the status quo, shake up the establishment, and be a catalyst for change in YOUR community? The EMHC is launching a brand-new community health leadership program called Pivot, which is focused on community health advocacy.

In addition to learning about local queer health issues, participants will gain practical skills in the areas of media relations, digital advocacy, and policy advocacy. Then, to cap the program off, participants will have the opportunity to develop and launch their very own community health advocacy project in collaboration with the EMHC and its partners- with more than $6,000 available to support participant projects!

Sign up NOW by clicking on this link or read on to learn more about the program and what to expect from our program facilitators!

Max, our amazing Community Trainee supporting the Pivot program!


Why is this program important? 

Brook: A lot of messaging about queer health is deficit-based and primarily focused on the individual – What is wrong with them. What they are doing wrong. And what they need to do to make things better.

“Pivot” aims to, well… pivot… from deficit-based conversations about queer health to responses which centre the assets of community and focus on the systemic challenges and barriers which prevent positive health and well-being – instead of the individual and what they are doing “wrong.”

Max: As someone who identifies as both queer and disabled, I sometimes feel as though my health – mental, physical, social – is always in flux. So, as queer people, who experience health and the world around us differently than others, I think it’s important that we have the opportunity to come together to check-in with one another about our individual and collective health.

And, as Brook mentioned earlier, part of that involves understanding the way that different institutions and systems shape the health of our community – and what we can do, both together and as individuals to respond to those barriers or challenges in a way that positively impacts the health of our community.

Jeff:I agree. And I think that last part of what Max said is key. Pivot is by the community, for the community. We are building the capacity of leaders within the community to respond to these issues in a community-driven way – both in the future and right now!

What’s can people expect to learn through the program?

Brook: Participants in the Pivot program will learn to identify the health barriers and challenges negatively impacting them and their peers – locally, provincially, and nationally. On top of that, with the help of local experts and community leaders, they will learn a set of practical skills to address those barriers through community health advocacy – including digital advocacy, policy advocacy, and media relations.

And the learning doesn’t end there. Pivot participants will have the opportunity to apply their skills through developing and implementing community health advocacy projects in partnership with the EMHC and its partners. The Pivot program alone has $6,000 to support participant-driven projects!

Max: I think the practical component is key. It’s one thing to have a healthcare or service provider listen to the stories of people facing barriers and help them advocate for what they need. But I think it’s a lot more powerful to give people the tools they need so they can advocate for themselves and even lead their own community initiatives.

This program really allows for people to connect their own personal narratives and experiences to the knowledge and skills we’ll be learning together – especially in the development and implementation of their own community projects – so they can help shape and transform our community into a more accessible place for all.

Who do you think would make a good fit for this program?

Jeff: It’s not about whether people are or aren’t a “good fit” for the program. It’s about whether they feel the program is a good fit for them. So, if someone is interested in tackling structural health barriers and creating positive change for our community, then this is the right program for them!

Max: Agreed. And you don’t need to have previous experience in community health advocacy. As long as you’re open to learning and growing along with us – facilitators and fellow participants alike – I think anyone would be a great fit!

Brook: And lastly, while the EMHC and some of its partners primarily serve queer men/masculine communities, this program is open to anyone that feels this is a good fit for them. We’re not interested in policing people’s identities.

When and where is this happening?

Max: The first weekend of the Pivot program will be held on March 23rd and 24thfrom 9am – 5pm at the Robbins Learning Centre in the Royal Alexandra Hospital. On this first weekend, we will be teaming up with participants from two other programs to learn about some foundational aspects of queer health. If you are taking public transit, you’ll want to arrive at the Kingsway/Royal Alex Transit Station, which has both service for buses and the LRT.

This will be followed by a Pivot-specific training weekend on March 30th and 31st, running from 10am – 4pm each day. This will be held at Homestead, which is located at 10526 Jasper Avenue NW, on the 2nd floor. This space has both stairs and an elevator. If you are taking the LRT, Homestead is located close to the Bay/Enterprise Square Station and Corona station.

After these two weekends of programming, participants will work alongside the EMHC and its partners to develop and implement their own projects on a flexible schedule depending on what times/location(s) work for them and the project team they are working with!

What are you most excited about concerning the Pivot program? 

Jeff: I am excited to see leadership within our queer community step up, learn, grow, and make a difference. As a social worker who’s lived through adversity, and as a father wanting a better future, I cannot fully express my excitement for the Pivot program! I am excited to help facilitate the program; to learn and grow together; to pass on my knowledge and learn from the participants as well.

Max: I’m really excited to meet the participants and learn about the causes and issues they’re passionate about. On one hand, learning about these things makes it easier for me to support them in building their advocacy skills in a way that works towards their goals. On the other hand, it’s just really exciting to hear new voices sharing ideas on how we can work to create positive change within our communities!

Brook: At the EMHC, I have seen community members lead projects, with little to no resources,  which have resulted in real change for our community. I’m excited to see what Pivot participants dream up during their time with the program and to see those dreams become a reality through their self-led community health advocacy projects.

And that’s it folks! If you’re ready to join us in disrupting the status quo, shaking up the establishment, and being a catalyst for change in YOUR community, register now for free by clicking the image below. Have more questions? Check out the event on Facebook here or email jefferychalifoux@hotmail.com for more information!