Monique Gignac

Monique Gignac is a Senior Scientist with the Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research at the Toronto Western Research Institute and Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Gignac received her MA and PhD in social psychology from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in social gerontology at the University of Guelph. She is also a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work and Health.

In 2008, she became Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Arthritis Network, a Networks of Centres of Excellence. She has served as a member of CIHR’s Social Dimension in Aging (SDA) review committee and on CIHR Team Planning and Development grants. She is also an Associate Editor for Arthritis Care & Research.

Dr. Gignac’s research expertise is in the areas of health and social psychology. Her research examines psychosocial factors like stress, coping, and adaptation and their importance in understanding the impact of arthritis and other chronic diseases in the lives of adults across the life span. In particular, her work focuses on ways to enable people with chronic disease to maintain involvement in employment and other valued roles and activities.

She also conducts research related to social support and participation among persons with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and glaucoma.

Barbara Swanston

Barbara Swanston is a wife, a mother, a life coach, a dog lover, and suicide awareness activist. On August 21, 2010, at about 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time her son, her beautiful boy, Terry, ended his own life with a gunshot to his head. In doing this he shattered her plans, her hearts, and her sense of security. Her life changed forever.

Barbara wondered how she could take this tragic event and do something positive. She wrote an open letter and sent it out to many people. The responses she received amazed her. She became a suicide awareness activist, she wants to make the unspeakable speak able and help eliminate the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness and suicide. She dreams of a world where suicide does not exist and no one will suffer the agony of loss to suicide.

Barbara lives in Campbell River, BC with her husband, Michael, and their 2 dogs. Her daughter, Jen, visits them often.