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Transition in PREVNet Leadership

We are pleased to announce that PREVNet was recently awarded funding of $2,198,158 over five years by Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)  as part of its Preventing Gender-Based Violence –The Health Perspective program. The funding will facilitate a community of practice to enhance collaboration and consolidate learning from across the various teen dating violence prevention projects that PHAC is funding. This new community of practice will leverage expertise from a diverse group of stakeholders to maximize the overall impact of PHAC’s investments to end gender-based violence.  This funding will allow PREVNet to continue its important work as our funding from the NCE ends in June 2019.

This is a time of transition in other ways. At this time, Dr. Debra Pepler is stepping down from her current position as Scientific Co-Director of PREVNet to pursue her research and writing.  We want to take this opportunity to celebrate Deb’s prodigious contribution to the creation and success of PREVNet and express our deepest appreciation.

Dr. Debra PeplerDeb’s foundational and innovative contributions to PREVNet are far too many to list here, but we will highlight a few examples. The central tenet of PREVNet is that bullying is a relationship problem that requires relationship solutions.  Deb proposed this as the framing for PREVNet’s work and it has directed and influenced all the work in PREVNet.  Furthermore, it is now internationally accepted as central to understanding bullying and provides strong guidance on how to intervene.  From this framework, Deb developed and has published extensively on the need for scaffolding children and youth individual skills but also their relationships to prevent and address bullying.  She also introduced the term social architecture to highlight the important role of creating positive contexts to promote prosocial interactions.  In the arts, Deb worked with Tapestry New Opera Works to develop a children’s opera about bullying with an accompanying teacher guide, as well as an evaluation of its impact on students.  Deb spearheaded PREVNet’s longstanding partnership with Family Channel, a television network that reaches hundreds of thousands of homes across Canada. Deb was the lead editor on three out of four PREVNet books about bullying.  She co-developed a training manual for Kids Health Phone counsellors across Canada to address bullying.  She co-created two workshops for the Ministry of Education of Quebec that provided training to Quebec teachers, principals and school stakeholders throughout the 17 regions of Quebec. More recently, Deb led the co-creation of two new guides for violence prevention program developers: (1) Do You Want to Know Whether Your Program Works? A Guide to Program Evaluation, and (2) Do You Have A Program You Want To Share With Others? A Guide to Program Dissemination.  With Shelley Cardinal of the Canadian Red Cross, Deb received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada  and they are currently leading a major national project that examines how Indigenous communities mobilize and build capacity through the Canadian and Australian Red Cross Societies' Walking the Prevention Circle - a model for violence prevention in Indigenous communities.  Deb has worked tirelessly leading many national initiatives that have made Canada safer for children and youth.  In addition, she has mobilized the PREVNet model to over 20 countries on five continents.

Deb was a leader and a role model in the co-creation model of PREVNet. Her personal qualities of warmth, integrity, and scholarship were integral to creating a platform for collaboration and sharing. In her dealings with all members of the network, Deb consistently demonstrated PREVNet’s principles of partnership: respect, safety, sharing, and co-creation.  Moving forward, Deb plans to continue to lead and be a key contributor to national and international initiatives focused on violence prevention amongst children and youth. Deb will continue to promote health and wellbeing in First Nation communities; work with Breaking the Cycle – an intervention program for substance abusing mothers and their young children, and work with SNAP Girls Connection – a program for aggressive girls and their parents.  Deb will always be a valued member of PREVNet, and PREVNet will continue to reap benefits from her enduring legacy. With love, gratitude and profound respect we wish Deb the very best in her continued endeavors to make the world a safer and healthier place for children everywhere.

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