Oct. 7, 2021

Ayn Wilcox: Klinic Community Health

Ayn Wilcox: Klinic Community Health

Ayn Wilcox is the Executive Director of Klinic Community Health. In this conversation she connects the dots between her life learning at the Manitoba Agriculture Museum in Austin Manitoba and her current role as Executive Director at Klinic Community Health. Her life journey has been filled with a passion for learning and appreciating the importance of community. When it comes to understanding and de-stigmatizing mental health, Ayn firmly believes we are all in this together. Ayn believes if we don't take into account the basic requirements around civil rights and freedoms, the economic and social factors that include things like poverty and sexual orientation, gender identity, race and ethnicity, including here in Canada the ongoing impacts of colonialism, we're going to need to continue to invest exponentially more resources but we're not going to move the dial understanding the depth of mental health in a significant way. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information. 


This podcast was recorded on the ancestral lands on Treaty One territory, the traditional territory of the Anishnawbe, Cree, Oji Cree, Dakota, and the Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis nation.

This is Humans, On Rights. A podcast advocating for the education of human rights.

Here's your host Stuart Murray.

My guest today is the executive director of Klinic community health Ayn Wilcox.

We're going to talk a lot about what Klinic does and they do some amazing work in our community and I thought I would just give a very quick background before I start to talk about who Ayn Wilcox is.

But Klinic provides a full range of health related services from medical care to counseling and education.

They are driven by a vision of creating healthy and engaging communities promoting health and quality of life for people of every age background, ethnicity, gender identity and socio-economic circumstances.

They’re located right here in Winnipeg Manitoba and they're a member of the Association of Community Health and Canadian Association of Community Health Centers.

They are rooted in social justice values and they believe that everyone deserves quality care support and respect everyone.

Ayn Wilcox is the executive director of all of that and I am thrilled and delighted to have her on my podcast that the humans on rights and welcome two Humans on Rights.

Thank you so much.

I'm very honored to be here.

I read a little bit about your background.

You've been involved in the united way.

You are a champion of community servicing for over 20 years.

Obviously we're going to find how your trajectory finds you as the executive director of Klinic, community Health.

But let's find out a little bit about Ayn Wilcox, are you a Manitoban?

I am.

And maybe before I start, if you wouldn't mind Stuart, I'd just like to take a moment to acknowledge that I'm speaking to you from indigenous lands specifically and it's gonna be in a new Oji Cree, Dene and Dakota land And also in the Birthplace and Homeland of the Metis nation.

I think it's particularly important right now, um, to recognize the land that we're on, the history that that exists here.

I'm speaking to you from Treaty One territory and clinic provides services on land located in treaty areas one through five.

I think it's also important to acknowledge that you know, we're doing this podcast via zoom with hydro electric power that is provided from Treaty five territory.

And what is really profound for me among many profound things when we, when we talk about truth and reconciliation is that in Winnipeg, I've been privileged to drink Treaty three water for pretty much all of my life.

And it was only earlier this month actually like 41st nation was able to announce that they finally were able to, You know, stop the boil water advisory that they had for well over 20 years, Thank you for that and thank you so much for for sharing that.

And as we talked about at the outset that's something that you're very passionate about and I think it's really important that you demonstrate as the leader of the organization and as a community member, your comments are taken at heart and I thank you for sharing them and spending some time because it is meaningful and I think a lot of times people will say the land acknowledgement and I think it's a fair question to ask, do we really understand what we're, what we're saying and so to break it down the way you did on using hydroelectric, using the fact that Boil Water orders which are unconscionable in the year 2021.

So thank you for sharing that for the listeners.

I very much appreciate it.

Thank you so and tell me a bit about you so, other than obviously you're a very passionate Manitoba and a very caring person so that that's fairly evident, let's find out a little bit more about you.

Thanks so much.

I was born in Winnipeg, I spent pretty much all of my life living here other than a couple of years just outside of Winnipeg, sort of lower middle class family in Fort Garry.

I had the privilege of spending many of my early summers out at my grandparents cottage at the lake family farms, visiting family throughout and lots of time in the Manitoba agricultural museum out in Austin Manitoba in my time, I spent some time in politics and one of the things I did was you know, going out to their Tractor gate driving one of those big old steam tractors.

I think I cleared the stands once because you you've got to turn that wheel the circumference of that wheel, you've got to turn it about three times just to move about 3".

And and I grew up on a farm.

I mean I grew up so I was pretty comfortable but but good for you is that, have you, did you get involved in helping or anything around working at that museum?

Because it's very, very spectacular.

It is and I continue to be a volunteer.

Yeah, my grandfather was one of the founding members.

So on my dad's side it was a place that we spent a lot of time growing up and it's one of those places that is just in my blood and in the blood of many in my family.

So that's just stop for a minute and talk about that.

I mean what is one of the most if somebody was listening to this and saying Austin, I driven by it when I'm driving to Brandon, but why should somebody stopping in Austin and experience this museum?

You know, it's a really the agricultural history in Manitoba I think is a really important one.

And when we talk about food security where our food comes from, I mean a lot of those stories are demonstrated there by interactive demonstrations as well as the static demonstrations.

It's a really cool place, The annual festival that they have, which unfortunately like many has had to be canceled the last two years is the Manitoba freshman's reunion and stampede.

Uh, so they have daily vintage parade with tractors and steam engines and horse driven power and old cars.

There are many demonstrations through the ground.

It's, it's what I find one of the roles I do when I volunteered during the fair is I, I drive a little golf carts and drive people around because the grounds are fairly large and I love doing that work because you get a chance to talk to people that are coming in and hear from people who have been coming for years and then hear from people who are experiencing it for the first time.

And it's always fun to hear people just amazed when they get there to recognize how big and how much information is there, how much, how many activities to participate in.

Well, I know that this is not what the podcast is about and but you know, it's a fascination for me simply because I did grow up in a farm when you go to Austin and you get a sense of how are sort of economy, Our agricultural economy was started and you know, the size of the machinery and the complexity of it And then you realize, you know, when you drive down number one highway today and you see how GPS has made, you know, whether your seating or whatever you're doing on the land.

I mean it's changed it tremendously.

But for anybody who wonders how we got to these massive combines with GPS and computers and all of that and they want to go and see the history of where we started Austin Manitoba at the museum.

There would be a great place to learn and and I agree with you, I recommend anybody who's listening to this podcast who has never been to Austin Manitoba.

Go and visit the museum.

It's spectacular now.

And let's go back to your journey that defines you as the executive director of clinic, community health.

I know that you worked in healthcare for a number of years.

Let's explore that a little bit.

It was at Manitoba shared health I believe.

But talk about your journey, you got through university, did you go to university here in Manitoba?

So I didn't actually go to university and and this is what the there you go which my coming to this work in and working in this field I think is maybe a little more meandering than than many.

I you know growing up school, there was a lot going on in my life school wasn't exactly the biggest priority for me.

And up until that point, no one in my family had gone to university.

So it wasn't really something that was high on the radar or something that I thought was really attainable for me, I tried college but I found myself spending more time playing cool and hanging out with my friends than I did actually going to classes.

So that wasn't very successful.

And so I just started working.

I was working full time doing entry level jobs and I had the privilege of working with this woman who was just completing the certified general accountants program at the time and she convinced me that I should try it because it was something that I could do when I was still working full time I decided to go for it.

I had a bit of an aptitude I think for accounting and seven years and two Children later I graduated bit of a fun fact.

I got the call that I passed my last exam and was graduating on the day that I went into labor with my second child.

What a great story.

I mean that that's one that you can tell to the, to the Children and grandchildren and you know, so good for you.


You know, that's uh, to find yourself through that kind of a journey and you know, I would just sort of be very candid with you that like you, I never went to university and so I kind of want to apologize to you for just assuming that you did because I've been in that exact same situation and I know when I was younger that when we would be around a table with friends and and people would start talking about, where did you go to university?

I would excuse myself from the table because I would say, well I don't want to be the only one to say I didn't until I realized.

And and this is one thing that I just think that is probably very similar for you when you realize what you have done in your career and your life and how you found yourself as the executive director of a of a substantial institution that is making a major difference in the city of Winnipeg.

People would say, well, which four years of what you have done in your life would you have given up to go to university?

And I suspect the answer is none.

I mean, there you are so good for you and I and I thank you for sharing that.

And so let's dive a little bit into the fact that We know that it's mental health day coming up on October the 10th.

And one of the things that we wanted to explore was some of the great work that clinic community health does.

And so show us a little bit about some of the programs that you're running, some of the challenges you have through Covid and let's explore the great work and the great work that you and the team at the Clinic Community Health do for for Winnipeg and from Manitoba.

Thanks for that suit and and thanks for your words.

I think for me, you know, just coming back to the university piece.

It is one of those things that I still think about going back and you know, maybe going pursuing a degree.

But I'm even though I haven't gone to university, I consider myself a lifelong learner.

And so that has been, you know, through formal education as well as informal education.

A watcher and learner of people.


Anyway, that's Around that piece.

So you know, the work that clinic does and and it is a real privilege.

I've only been in this role now for two months.

I've been with clinical community health for 14 months.

It's been quite the 14 months as I'm sure you can imagine Clinic is one of 12 community health centers here in Manitoba, all of them in Winnipeg.

I believe as the name implies.

Each of the centers work at the community level to deliver programs and services and we all do that perhaps in different ways but always rooted in social justice values in the belief that everyone deserves quality care, support and respect for us.

That clinic, you you spoke at the beginning about our vision for supporting healthy and engaged communities.

That's incredibly important for us.

We work to promote health and quality of life for people of every age, every background ethnicity, gender identity and socioeconomic status.

We do that by providing a full range of health and education services.

We have programs we offer primary care services with counseling services program that includes things like droppin we've got short so same day drop in counseling.

We've got short term counseling.

Got a family violence program, trauma counseling and sexual assault crisis counseling.

We all also have life and balance programming.

A lot of that has been caused as a result of Covid.

But in normal times, whatever normal times is these days, you know we would offer meditation, mindfulness based stress reduction yoga, those those kinds of programs.

And then we also offer education and training for community groups and professionals that include things like suicide prevention series.

We've got trauma informed care and and vicarious trauma workshops, wow.

And that's you know, I would say the one thing and when I went on to the clinic community health website, I was really amazed at the number of programs and the depth of the of each program that you offer and you know, talk a little bit about how your team operates and how you have had to pivot on some of the programs that you offer because of Covid because of the inability or if you have not had to pivot.

I'm not sure how has that impacted you and your team.

Some of the programs I didn't mention that I think are equally important are crisis support line.

So we've got the Manitoba suicide prevention line, crisis line and the Manitoba farm rural and northern support services line.

So in terms of how that services access Covid hasn't changed it?

It's a it's a call in service but certainly what it has changed is how our crisis room staff function.

They're typically they're in a large a large room, 16 people in that space, Chair to chair to chair.

And as the as Covid hit and particularly as the numbers started going up last, all we really needed to look at different ways to offer that service.

And so we've had to move folks into different spaces so that we've got more of the ability to not only just physically distanced but really reduce the risk that if there was an outbreak that was to happen that was going to impact folks working in that room.

We've got a very important responsibility to protect them and their families and of course also to continue to provide that service.

And so we needed to be able to protect that.

So that that's been difficult.

That was a difficult shift for some folks I think working in that one shared space where they can support each other is an important part of the way that they offer that service.

That one of the things that you mentioned was the crisis line.

The suicide prevention line.

And again, it's just a great reminder truth.

I mean you are located in Winnipeg, but you provide the service throughout the province of Manitoba.

And is it fair to say that because of Covid or have you seen an onset of more crisis More people sort of dealing with suicide ideation, more of those issues.

Have you seen an increase or would you, how would you sort of analyze what's happened with respect to the crisis that people have on mental health issues and before or during Covid?

Our sense certainly is that the number of folks who are being affected by mental illnesses or you know, emotional well being not being where we'd like it to be as individuals is really been impacted by Covid.

I think there's no doubt about that.

I think the social isolation, the anxiety, the fear about being sick, um worrying about loved ones, all of that financial concerns is really impacting folks.

So, yeah, we're we're definitely seeing it, I think across the board in terms of all of our services and one of the things and we talked about before we hit the record button is that The 2021 World Mental Health Day theme is mental health is an unequal world.

And I wanted to explore from your perspective as the executive director of clinic community health.

Is are you, are you seeing sort of the notion that that as people are struggling more financially, that there is becoming inequality in terms of the ability to access services or share what you see from your position as the executive director of clinic community services on that issue.

So I think there's a couple of things um certainly I think this moving to a virtual world in many ways that we have over the last year and a half works well for many people, but it doesn't work well for a number of folks.

And, and we've seen that certainly in our community.

So, you know, the idea of having a virtual doctor's appointment calling in or doing a video that that's just not accessible for some folks either because they don't have the technology or access to the wifi or, or because they don't have a safe space for a comfortable space where they can have those conversations.

So I think that's, you know, one of the areas in particular that, that we've seen and try to find ways to respond to in november when things where the province moved into code red and a lot of folks, a lot of organizations, a lot of walk in clinics in the area were having to close their doors and only moved to a virtual for many of their appointments.

We did the opposite.

We worked with four of our community health agency partners and we opened up a temporary same day care clinic.

And uh, we offered not only primary care services, but also, you know, those dropping counseling services, access to a social worker, folks were needing to get connected with housing or or needing some some support around, you know, obtaining identification or or whatever it is.

Um, we also offer harm reduction supplies and safer sex supplies and, you know, we had a little bit of a basic essential needs to help support people during that time when when others closed their doors.

So, you know, I think it does facts, people, and I believe, I think the early stages of the pandemic, many of us are, well, I don't know many, but certainly some of us optimistically thought this might be the great equalizer, but unfortunately, it it's turning out to be creating more gaps and I would say crevices than ever before for folks.

And so I think it's really important that we are able to, you know, talk about theme of the campaign of the inequality that exists.

We need to be able to approach this from a holistic perspective and it needs to be much more beyond health care.

So let me explore for one second.

And when you mentioned that you thought this might be the great equalizer, What did you mean by that?

Yeah, I don't know.

It's it's I'm ever the optimist.

And so I think this idea that, you know, if you remember in those early days, we're all in this together and we're going to take care of each other and we'll get through this.

And I think from that perspective, there was this idea that maybe because truly, certainly in my my own life the first time I can think of in history where we were all we all had a truly common goal with urgency that we were working towards.

And so this idea that if we focus on that goal, which is keeping everybody safe, because if we don't keep everybody safe, if we miss out on pockets in in our communities, it actually puts the rest of us at risk.

And from an ethical and moral perspective, it's just not not the thing we need to be doing.

I think there was hope that, you know, we really could move towards a common goal.

Taking care of everybody.

Thank you for that.

And you're one of the things that I had a conversation with a woman who was very open about the fact that she had committed suicide numerous times, or apologize.

She had attempted suicide a number of times, and was a suicide survivor.

And one of the things she said, which has struck me, and is that with Covid, there has been more talk about isolation and because we have had lockdowns as governments have tried to do or have put in place.

And the notion that's through some of those lockdowns in isolation, there has been some more conversation about people checking in with other people.

How's your mental health doing?

How are you doing?

And her comment to me was that, you know, not to look at on any sort of bright side of Covid, because it's just not been that.

But the way she positioned it.

And was interesting to me, she said that if there is a silver lining with Covid, perhaps it's been that mental health has found itself to the front burner.

So that conversations around mental health have become more commonplace than they were before.

And I'm not sure how you would feel about that comment, but I'd love to explore how you feel.

We as a society can deal with the stigma that is a charged to mental health.

I'm going to pause the stigma piece for a second if I could and just talk about, you know, those comments and the reflections from from that person that you're speaking about.

I hope that she's right.

I truly hope that she's right.

I think what we understand more so than ever is the importance of connection, connection within the community and the importance of really taking care of each other.

The pandemic has been really difficult.

And what what health professionals have been saying now for over a year is this worry about the echo pandemic?

And I and I hear that that just continues to be it's going to be a much bigger echo than previously thought, the longer that the and then it goes on and and the polarization that we're seeing in some ways.

Um you know, more recent time we really do need to focus on how we're going to support folks post covid pandemic in this echo pandemic and and be able to really come together in a in a maybe a similar way to how we responded to Covid, which is, you know, this cross governmental cross sectoral.

We're all in this together and we really need to make this a big priority because we know that the risk factors for mental illnesses are heavily associated with social inequalities and the greater the inequality, the higher the inequality exists in the risk.

Uh and so if we're not able to significantly scale up access to low barrier treatment services and those kinds of services that are trauma informed, that incorporate harm reduction principles and focus on how we improve the conditions of everyday life for people beginning before birth and throughout the lifecycle, we're not going to be able to move that needle at all and we're just going to continue to spend more and more exponentially more money and more resources, which by the way, I think is also a real risk for us right now, because burnout is real across the sector, we really need to be able to address that and work together.

And have you seen that firsthand?

I mean, you talk about burnout.

I mean, I listened to and the fact that you talk about your staff opening doors where others are closing because you understand the importance that you that that clinic community services provides or clinic community health provides.

You know, that is one of those things where, you know, we've talked a lot about frontline workers as a society and how do we thank them.

But there's so many levels of frontline workers and realizing that what you have seen and what you witnessed with your team must be very challenging because they're there to help and do an extremely amazing job of helping people.

But there are also human beings that need help themselves and they put themselves in a very, very difficult position.

So as somebody who's kind of leading that organization as you do, that must be incredibly challenging and and also, you know, you look at people and it it just warms your heart that people are prepared to do those sorts of things.


You know, I took this role at the clinic a little over a year ago, was very much a cult in my heart.

I had been working with diagnostic services, Manitoba for 15 years, worked into shared health with health transformation, working with amazing people doing work that really, really matters and for me, COVID Turning 50 last year and you know, like many of us had all of these plans for the year and how I was going to celebrate and Covid hit and you know everything shut down and it really forced me and I think for many to think about where I want to be what I want to be doing, how I want to be spending my time and community has always called my heart and and that is because of the you know, the opportunities I had volunteering with places like the United Way of Winnipeg.

This opportunity came up to come over the clinic and it was a significant change in role and responsibility.

And it was one that just absolutely called to my heart.

And it has been An incredible privilege for the last 14 months to work with these people who are doing this work day in and day out.

And it is a labor of love.

There's just no other way to describe it.

And so one of the things that I am really interested in and we've been talking a little bit with our management team and with our board and you know, going into strategic planning as we are right now, is not only talking about how do we respond to what the community needs and that's incredibly important for us.

And, you know, I mentioned about echo pandemic and what what role do we play in and how do we work with our partners to really scale up in a significant way, but also how do we help the helpers?

How do we support the folks that are doing this work?

So that farewell also through all of this.

And I don't know what the answers are.

I know that there are many questions and I think we need to figure out how to do that.

It's probably going to be different.

We have, you know, this really broad spectrum of services and they're delivered in many different ways.

And so it might be supporting folks in different ways, depending on their work and and what their preferences are, what works well for them what they need.

But it's it's a significant thing that we spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to find ways and asking our stuff and our volunteers, how can we support you through this?

It's a great, I think a tribute to you as the leader of the organization, your management team on the board to understand and respect that because really, you know, when you come to work every day, you're there to support the, the community and the community comes through your door and you're there to support them in the great ways that you do.

But then you realize that it's your own team that you have to ensure that you're you're working with and listening to and, you know, as you alluded to.

And I mean, every organization is going to be different.

And this echo pandemic is going to have a different sort of ramification on all sorts of organizations.

But the notion that you have to sort of take care of those people who are there day in day out is something that I think is really important.

And I'll be interested to see how at the end of the day, when we get another chance to have a conversation, how that's worked out for you because, you know, there's there's models that can be shared with other people.

And, you know, you mentioned this at the outset that you are a lifelong learner and so this is just another part of that learning and sharing with other organizations, how you were able to manage through this.

And there will be other organizations that perhaps will share their ideas with you because I know that you through your time with the united way, you work through it with a lot of organizations.

So, and when we look at the mental health, the stigma share with me, how can we as a community, start to be kinder?

And I use that word, be kind because I just think that it's a great way when people are unsure of how to treat others if you just say to them and I know that as a parent, I've said this, both my wife and I have said this to our two daughters, if you you know, be kind to people and even if it means that you have to really dig deep to be kind be kind to people, how do we as a society start to understand that mental health is one of these challenges that you're not wearing a sling because you've got a broken arm and people come over and feel sorry for you and how can I sign your cast And you know, I've been to that movie and I understand what that's like, but that's a physical piece now you're talking about mental piece, that it's everybody that you meet and whether it's in so bizarre safeway they may be dealing with a mental issue and you don't know how do we become more open to understand the challenges of mental health and in a supportive and learning way?

Yeah, that's that's the million dollar question.

I think I would suggest, you know, first and foremost, continuing to have conversations like we're having today finding ways to normalize and de stigmatize mental illnesses, helping people to understand that it's not a weakness or something to be ashamed of.

As as you said, you know, the broken arm or or cancer, we talk about cancer.

Heroes have a history of cancer.

There is no shame in in talking about that in the same way that many people feel when talking about having a mental illness.

I think it is important for us to continue talking about, I don't know, the estimate is one in five people will have mental illness in their lifetime.

So it can and it does happen to many people over their lifetime.

I think it's also really important to talk about that help is available.

And to talk about those stories, as I know you have been about the fact that people can and do recover.

You can live a full beautiful life while you have a mental illness and beyond.

And so I think that that's really important and you know, the notion about being kind I think is so important more now than ever, perhaps finding finding our shared values and our common goals even when we don't agree I think is incredibly important and I, you know, I support that very much.

And one of the things that we chatted with before we get the record button was the issue of mental health being a human right?

The notion of how humans should be treated share your thoughts on, you know, because this is uh my podcast is deal with humans on rights and so I'd like to get your thoughts and Wilcox on how you feel mental health is treated as a human, right?

The W.



Defines health as a state of complete physical mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

I think that's incredibly powerful.

If you stop to just process that and think about what it means as human beings Stuart you and I consider our health and the health of our loved ones to be one of our most basic and essential assets when we're sick.

We're not able to participate in our daily activities, whether that's going to work keeping up with our daily family responsibilities are participating in the activities that we do in our community.

When that happens that affects the individual, it affects the family and it affects the community at large for me when I think about approaching mental health as a human right and recognizing that it is, it means that we need to really look beyond just equitable healthcare and I'm going to say I could about healthcare in and of itself is incredibly important.

There's no question about that, but also we need to look at public mental health interventions that address the interdependent interdependent.

Let me try that again.

The interdependencies that we know exists in human rights and that we know are central to health and mental health.

If we don't take into account with basic requirements around civil rights and freedoms, the economic and social factors that includes things like poverty, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and ethnicity, including here in Canada.

The ongoing impacts of colonialism.

We're going to need to continue to invest exponentially more resources, but we're not going to move the dial in a significant way and people are going to continue to have their mental health needs go on them.

And so what what I mean, you're you have an organization that you lied and that is doing that.

But if somebody were listening to this podcast who wasn't aware or was sort of looking at it and saying, you know, how could I help?

You know, I I want to be somebody who has time to volunteer or I'm in the community.

How can I help?

What would you say to that?

Oh, there are so many ways that people can get involved.

And I would also say that getting involved and volunteering.

You know, this has certainly been my experience and the experience that I've heard from many others.

Volunteering is not only giving of yourself, but you receive as much or more back.

So I would absolutely encourage folks.

There are many great organizations.

Clinic has a very robust volunteer program here.

So, you know, a longstanding volunteer program for counselors who are answering calls on our crisis lines.

So, you know, folks are interested in that.

We offer pretty extensive training and supervision through that program.

But that's we typically, I would say pre Covid I think we had about 100 and 20 volunteers that were providing services on our crisis on our crisis lines.

The number went down, you know, fairly significantly at Covid.

When Covid first hit, people paused, paused their volunteer time with us until, you know, we could sort of a just and they had things going on in their lives as well.

We also have a fairly new volunteer program here for welcome volunteers.

And so, you know, much of that work is around, you know, covid screening and cleaning if you will when people are coming in for appointments are coming into access supplies or what have you.

Um, but what but we also provide a fairly extensive training because it's important for us that they're the front face of our organization and and have the ability to impact on people's experience when they arrive at clinic.

And so it's also another great way to give back.

But there are so many amazing organizations that are doing incredible work that there is no shortage of places to volunteer your time.

I think your comment about when you volunteer, I mean obviously you're giving but what you're giving back or what you receive back, I think Winnipeg and I'm not sure that we punch above our sort of weight class and that and but I do think that there's a tremendous number of organizations that I've been involved in, some events that you know, they're volunteer driven.

It brings the community together.

It you meet people that you know, friends, you make that you never would have crossed paths with without having to spend some time volunteering.

And I think you know that that is a great message that you can you can give out to people, you know, as you've taken on your role as the executive director of clinic community health and what is one of the biggest, I'll just say surprises or maybe something that you thought I've been involved in healthcare.

I've been involved in the community side.

I've been very active.

But now that I'm sitting in the chair as the executive director, this is something that because again, you're a lifelong learner, so I want to just sort of come bring that into a full circle.

But what's one of the things perhaps that you have really learned that surprised you a bit.

Yeah, that's a great question.

I think from a personal perspective this process has been very interesting for me and I and I do kind of step back and analyze it every once in a while.

I am very much the way I've lived my life the last 30 years is very sort of methodical and very planned and right from the beginning, when this, when the job posting for the Director of Health and Community Services was posted, it's tugged at my heart in a way that I don't know that I can explain and you know, as I was going through the process, I had this like, awful feeling in my stomach, what am I doing?

Like, you know, I have this really solid, amazing job that I'm and working with great people, what am I thinking of?

And when I was offered the job, I was like, I don't know why, but I need to do this.

And in the 12, 14 months that I've been here at clinic, it feels like coming home, it just feels like coming home and I am getting to know the people who do this work and understanding some of the challenges that they face and the ideas that they have about how we address some of those challenges has been really rewarding for me.

I growing up in Winnipeg, I accessed services like clinic at the old house on broadway and throughout my time, both in my professional life, as well as my volunteer life, had the opportunity to, you know, I was always aware of and a little bit More connected to clinic at various times over the last 30 years.

And it just, it feels like coming home and it's, it's an incredibly challenging time.

There's also, you know, as I mentioned, we're going into strategic planning, there's a lot to be excited about in terms of how we can play a really important role in the response to just supporting folks where they're at, you know, community health agencies and and the community organizations around us that do this work there in the best position to do if they've got the relationships and they've got the on the ground knowledge and so being able to support that, it's just, it's, it's pretty awesome.

So I don't know that that's surprising.

I think for me just how much it feels like home.

It has been something that's been really, really cool to me.

Yeah, great.

What a, what a great uh you know, people say that if you what is, I'm not sure if you get the same right, and but if you enjoy what you do every day, there's no such thing as work.

It's what you do as a life journey and the contribution that you make and the learning and the opportunity that comes with that experience is something that allows you to be engaged every single day.

And, and clearly that's what's happening in your world.

And as we, as we sort of wrap up our conversation and I just want to thank you so much for taking time to talk a little bit about an Wilcox, a little bit about clinic community health.

You made a very, very, I I told you at the outset, I I thought clinic was K L N I K.

It's K L N I C.

And as you said the case at the beginning, I want to just say, thank you so much for sharing your personal time and your personal thoughts and your professional time and your professional thoughts.

It's a great opportunity to to hear about the good work that is happening in Winnipeg on the issue of human rights.

I've always advocated this human rights podcast is to feature people like you that really believe in the notion of educating and mobilizing and taking action.

I'm going to give the last word to you on this and What would be one the point that you might want to leave to people when they talk about the fact that mental health day is a day and it's a day that gets recognized.

But clearly it's much more than a day.

If there is one thought that you wanted to leave with people listening to this on the importance of understanding whether it's through activism or education on mental health, what would that be?

I think I'm actually going to give the last word to you on that.

Words, on that one, Stuart you said, you spoke about being kind and I think that that word is very powerful and I would say we need to be kind to each other and recognize that we are all dealing with hard stuff and but there are layers to that, right?

And so while we're all in this together is the hope and the goal what folks are dealing with, we don't always know and so being kind I think is probably the final word of a great way to, to sign off on the conversation.

I look forward to many more with you and Wilcox.

I wish you all the best of the great work that you're doing at clinic, community health, you and your team And again, I thank you very much for spending some time with me on my podcast.

Thanks so much.

Really appreciate it.

Humans on rights is recorded and hosted by Stuart Murray social media marketing by the creative team at full current in Winnipeg.

Thanks also to Trixie.

Maybe music by Doug Edmund for more go to human rights hub dot C A A production of the Sound off media company.

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