Keynote Speakers

March 27th 10:30 to 11:30 am:

Dr. Kutcher – Mental health literacy and schools: Feeling uncomfortable yet?

Mental health literacy is the foundation for promotion, prevention and care, yet it has been mostly ignored in favour of mental health awareness.  Educators should be concerned by this as knowing about something is not the same as knowing something.  This talk will address mental health literacy, what it is and how it can be effectively, frugally and sustainably embedded into junior high and secondary schools – leading to improved outcomes for students and teachers alike.  Along the way, we will critically review what we mean by mental health, wellness and well-being and demonstrate the need for critical thinking about what we are talking about and what we are doing.

Dr. Stan Kutcher, Dalhousie University (Department of Psychiatry)
Dr. Stan Kutcher ONS, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health and Director World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Mental Health Policy and Training. Dalhousie University and IWK Health Centre

Dr. Kutcher is an internationally renowned expert in adolescent mental health and a national and international leader in mental health research, advocacy, training, policy, and services innovation working at the IWK Health Center and Dalhousie University. He has received numerous awards and honours locally, nationally and internationally for his work, including the Order of Nova Scotia. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Internationally he has been involved in mental health work in over 20 countries. One of his recent projects was leading the development of a national child and youth mental health framework for Canada: Evergreen. Currently, his focus is on knowledge translation, improving mental health literacy and mental health care in schools and primary care as well as an electronic youth mental health management tool for primary care. He continues his innovative youth mental health work across Canada, and globally – including the North America, Asia, South America, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

March 28th 10 am to 11 am:

Dr. Alberga –  What every future teacher needs to know about health & wellbeing.

There are so many conflicting messages about nutrition, physical activity, health and wellness, it’s hard to know what are good teaching practices to address health and wellness in schools. Although there is a growing emphasis on teachers as important role models for health and wellness in schools, many teachers have reported confusion and discomfort with teaching about health education. Do your students have weight-related worries, experience weight teasing and anxiety and talk about dieting? This session will focus on research initiatives and recommend teaching practices on topics such as healthy body image, how to prevent weight teasing and bullying and promote healthy behaviours sensitively.

Dr. Angela Alberga, Concordia University (Department of Exercise Science)

Born and raised in Montreal, Dr. Alberga completed her BSc (Major Exercise Science, Minor Psychology) at Concordia University. She then completed her MSc and PhD in the School of Human Kinetics, specializing in exercise physiology at the University of Ottawa. Her doctoral research examined how exercise improves the cardiometabolic health of adolescents living with obesity. It is through these experiences that she learned how prevalent and harmful weight-based stigma is and has since been devoted to research, teaching and knowledge translation efforts to reduce weight discrimination in society. Dr. Alberga was awarded an Eyes High Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Banting CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Calgary supporting her research on weight stigma reduction in education, healthcare and public policy. Dr. Alberga’s current research program at Concordia University focuses on better understanding how (i) societal, and (ii) school and other institutional factors, influence weight-related issues including obesity, eating disorders, physical inactivity and weight stigma. Alongside her interdisciplinary research program in health promotion and disease prevention, she has over 15 years of experience working with children, youth and adults as a camp counsellor, educator, mentor, coach, instructor, personal trainer and clinical exercise physiologist in academic and community settings across Canada.


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