• Kristine Sørensen PhD, Founder, Global Health Literacy Academy

Paola Ardiles conquers new frontiers in health promotion and social innovation. Her inspiring, compassionate, and embracing leadership guides others to join the purposeful efforts because they are evidently for the public good and carried out in a highly people-centric way. As a change maker Paola builds on people’s strengths with a deep respect for their culture and origin.

  • Sadeem Fayed, MPH candidate, Simon Fraser University

The truth about Indigenous Peoples was so painful; it disempowered me as a nascent learner. I felt too overwhelmed and incapable to contribute or take any meaningful reconciliatory action. But, your approach to teaching us about Indigenous health was different; it was empowering. Your class showcased the beauty and strength of Indigenous culture; you celebrated it; you unravel it as an asset. Importantly, you engaged us in Two-eyed-Seeing as an intuitive approach to learning; you de-colonized our classroom by posing dualistic seeing as the wise “given”.

  • Mr. Gregor Henderson, Director of Wellbeing and Mental Health, Public Health England. London, UK

I have been struck by Paola’s determination and gift for collaborative working that aims to make a real difference to people and communities lives.  I have been impressed with Paola’s ability to reach out to other arenas, agencies, professionals and practitioners, work with them and gain their commitment to the health promotion agenda.  Health is both socially and culturally created and eroded. Paola understands this well and her passion and commitment for equity, justice and improving the lives of people living with illness, and for engaging communities in taking control of their own health and wellbeing, is a shining light that helps keep a focus on what needs to be done to take us to the next stage. Paola combines her expertise in research, evidence, practice and common sense, a heady and rare combination.  

  • Rosie Dhaliwal & Crystal Hutchison,  Simon Fraser University, Health Promotion Team.

Paola encourages us all to be leaders and create change and we admire her for this. Bridge for Health was inspired by Margaret Wheatley’s definition of leadership, “We believe that a leader is anyone willing to help, anyone who sees something that needs to change and takes the first steps to influence that situation.” Paola is a natural leader who ‘walks the talk’. Her strengths as a facilitator and community mobilizer enable deep level idea sharing and meaningful strategic planning and action. She seamlessly facilitated our Healthy Campus Community Consultation at SFU in September 2013 with much positive feedback, “It was very engaging and I really enjoyed feeling that my opinion and input actually mattered.”

  • Brent Seal, Youth Mental Health Advocate.  Seal Wellness

Paola is a real champion in wellness. In my time working with her on the Health Compass: Transformative Practices, Embracing Mental Wellbeing initiative I gained a high amount of respect for Paola in many ways. Her commitment to promoting mental wellness was demonstrated each time we met, through her thoughtful questions, openness to new ideas and the respect I felt as someone living with a mental illness. Paola’s commitment to promoting mental health and wellness in BC, Canada and the world is evident in the many projects she has initiated, led and been a part of. Working with someone of her stature can be intimidating for someone just starting out, but Paola always made me feel as an equal. Her idea that mental wellness could be achieved while living with a mental illness was such an incredible insight to hear, especially as someone living with a mental illness myself. Her wisdom and passion shines through in her work and has created real lasting progress towards a more positive focus on mental health through policy changes and beyond.

  • John Raeburn, PhD, QSO. Adjunct Professor, Auckland University of Technology.

My interests are primarily in what could be called a “people-centred” and “community” approach to health matters, from a strength perspective, and I recognize exactly those same qualities and values in Paola. Paola’s great combination of policy skills, community perspective and humanity is truly humbling. I think that Paola Ardiles is one of British Columbia’s, and indeed Canada’s, great treasure.

  • Dr. Irving Rootman, Adjunct Professor.University of Victoria, School of Public Health & Social Policy

I have worked with Paola in a number of capacities over the past decade and think she is outstanding in in her field. Moreover, she is a wonderful person to work with who is full of ideas, energetic, practical and hard working. In 2010-2011, Paola collaboratively led the development of a cross-sectoral provincial policy report in British Columbia by chairing the project’s Steering and Advisory Committee, made up of diverse stakeholders across the province. Through her partnership work, she was instrumental in putting together these committees, as well as the three Working Groups consisting of community members from non-government organizations and health authorities. These groups were tasked to put together recommendations to address issues of underserved populations in BC including: immigrants, refugees, people transitioning in and out of the correction system. The recommendations for action from the Provincial Health Services Authority’s (2011) policy report: Towards Reducing Health Inequities: A Health System Approach to Chronic Disease Prevention, are currently being used by health authorities and research teams across the province to support implementation of health system improvements.

Ms. Ardiles is a visionary-I would call her a practical visionary. Along with her outstanding leadership and organizational skills, she infuses her work with deep compassion for those who suffer from illness and their families. Paola is highly cognizant of the social issues that often contribute to the genesis of illness.

More references available at: Paola Ardiles LinkedIN profile

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