BC COMMunity Advocates Program

The BC COMMunity Advocates Program (CommA) aims to help community members from small urban and rural areas in BC keep up-to-date on the latest innovations in queer men’s health and supports them in sharing what they learn in their communities.

BC CommA participants are invited to Vancouver and attend education workshops as well as the Gay Men’s Health Summit. The Summit is an annual conference organized by the Community-Based Research Centre that showcases presentations, seminars, and workshops on the unique health needs of gay, bi, trans, queer self-identified men, and Two-Spirit and non-binary folks (GBT2Q). During their stay in Vancouver, CommA participants are also invited to a number of social lunches and dinners where they build relationships with each other, professionals in the field, and exchange knowledge and resources relating to engaging their communities in queer-health matters.

CommA aims to improve GBT2Q health promotion strategies in small-urban and rural communities using a collaborative and community-based approach, empowering the participants who know their communities best to translate and connect this knowledge to those communities.

CommA takes place on the traditional territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlYilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil- Waututh), and Sḵ wx̱ wú 7mesh (Squamish) Nations. Conscious of the historical and ongoing marginalization of Indigenous communities here and across the world, CommA activities are planned with the intention of operating in a way that reduces ongoing harm caused by colonization. The CommA program centres GBT2Q community members who face additional marginalization, barriers to accessing healthcare, and oppression based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, and other intersecting marginalizations.


Is CommA for you?

CommA participants are gay, bi, trans, queer self-identified men and Two-Spirit and non-binary folks (GBT2Q) across BC, outside of Greater Vancouver who are passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of their queer communities.

Participants are expected to attend all Summit and CommA program events, and commit to sharing what they share in their communities with our support.

Additionally, this is an opportunity for HIM to learn from community members: every community faces unique challenges and responds to them differently, hearing about participants’ unique experiences helps HIM serve our communities better.

Eligibility:

  • Self-identify as a man (trans, cis, and other) and/or Two-Spirit, non-binary, gender-queer person
  • Identify as asexual, bi, gay, queer, Two-Spirit, and/or a guy who has sex with guys (for any reason including for work)
  • Live in small-urban or rural community in BC
  • 19 years of age or older
  • Willing to share what you learn with members of your community

**No formal education or health promotion experience necessary

Any questions about the eligibility criteria, please email Kiarmin Lari, Program Coordinator, Advance at HIM: kiarmin@checkhimout.ca


Event Details – 2019

CBRC’s 2019 Summit will be held October 31-November 1 at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver, BC.

7-10 CommA participants will be invited to Vancouver to attend the Summit events. CommA participants stay at a Vancouver hotel near the location of CommA program activities. There will also be events reserved for the CommA cohort including social meals and training sessions where they will explore effective outreach strategies, as well as a tour of HIM on Davie and debriefing/closing session at the end of the weekend.

Prior to attending the Summit, there will be a short teleconference between participants and CommA organizers to discuss what to expect from the Summit in more details and what they are hoping to get from the experience.

HIM covers the participants’ cost of travel (economy airfare, taxi, bus, train), hotel accommodation, and food for the duration of the program dates. Registration for CommA 2019 will open August 6, 2019 and remain open until September 23, 2019.


Registration FAQ

How much does it cost?
HIM sponsors community members to participate in the Summit, this includes the cost of travel to Vancouver, cost of stay in a hotel, and food for each participant while in Vancouver for the Summit.

Where is the Summit?
The Summit is an annual conference that takes place in Vancouver, and Summit 2019 will be at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver, BC.

Where can I read more about the Summit?
Check out the Summit website: http://cbrc.net/summit.

How to apply?
Fill out the application on our website and tell us what motivates and interests you to participate.

Are you taking applications?
Applications for CommA 2019 will open August 6, 2019, and applicants are informed of their participation status by early October.


What People Are Saying

Jared

Jared

Attending the 2018 Summit was a memorable and valuable experience, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity to learn about queer men’s health. I left the summit with renewed confidence to make positive change in my community.
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Connor

Connor

As an individual that has been sexually assaulted, it was both refreshing and interesting to have a talk about consent in the GBMSM community. Going into this presentation I was a little skeptical because although consent is a very basic concept,
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Jay

Jay

Standing hand in hand, listening to elders welcome us to the Summit, set the tone for the conference. Unity. The feeling of acceptance, collaboration and cohesiveness of the Summit community fostered innovative thinking and discussion.
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Patrick

RN Overdose Prevention Worker

I would like to discuss my feeling as I left the presentation given by Vincent Francoeur, “Crystal meth Interventions.” What I enjoyed most about this presentation was the presentation style used by Mr. Francoeur.
Read More


BC CommA 2018

 

HIM, in partnership the with Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) and Men’s Health Initiative (MHI), co-sponsored 13 community members to attend 2018’s Gay Men’s Health Summit. During their stay in Vancouver, the Community Advocates participated in a number of mingling lunches and dinners where they networked and exchanged their experiences and stories. This included a dinner at La Casita after the first day of Summit where they relaxed and had a chance to get to know each other better, and a working lunch at the Summit where they shared ideas on how to advocate for the health of their queer communities.

On the Saturday after the Summit, the participants gathered at HIM on Davie for a debriefing session, and to receive a tour of the office and the Health Centre from Hans Bosgoed, the Associate Director, Clinical Services. Visiting the health centre and learning about its operations proved to be very interesting for the participants. A number of the participants got in touch with HIM to discuss implementing, lobbying for, or improving similar already-existing services in their home communities.

The BC CommA 2018 program was a big success, and the participants described their experience as inspiring and rewarding and left with new knowledge and enthusiasm for doing meaningful community work. They found sessions during the Summit discussing high rates of mental illness among GBT2Q men especially resonant. One participant said, “the sense of pride and hard work in the presenters [at the Summit] rekindled the fire in me to continue the work that still needs to be done back home.” We are excited to do what we can to continue supporting 2018’s CommA participants in their work to improve the health of their queer communities, and look forward to having a new cohort to join us at next year’s Summit!

If you have any questions, please email Kiarmin Lari, Program Coordinator, Advance at HIM: kiarmin@checkhimout.ca