and here’s more
The intriguing month of October 2022 – Part C
This has been a very interesting and sometimes confounding month. Many milestones, a few bumpy moments, some sad and reflective times. I’ve decided to write you a long epistle, but break in down into parts so that you don’t get eye strain trying to read it all at once. However, I am not going to unfold the story in a time-relevant sequence, so you might have to go back once in a while to get the full context… Nevertheless, here goes:
This also turned out to be a month of conferences. I ended up attending two – one was the Annual General Meeting of one of my professional associations, the other one tangentially related to my work with Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE). Both were good, certainly worth my time, but were quite different.
Let me take the second one first. It began with a call to rediscover lost values and we were informed that we need to better understand the different generations that we are now dealing with.
• The Silent (war baby) generation – up to 1945
• The Boomers – 1946 -1964
• Generation X – 1965 – 1976
• Generation Y – 1977 – 1996
• Generation Z (sometimes referred to as millennial) – 1997 – 2010
• Generation Alpha – 2011 and onward…
To be most effective we need to adopt the OCT approach: observe / coach / train
The other key issue is ACE: adverse childhood experiences including recognition that stress during pregnancy is a serious issue and we should be doing more to mitigate stress for those, particularly the women, facing the birth of a child. Poverty is now a big business: 5% of the population use up 60% of the health and social supports costs. The other growing issue is loneliness – as this keynote remarked it’s a major health debilitator!!
The conference was challenged to smile more – to experiment by standing, looking in the eyes of a colleague or client, and smile. Coupled with this is the need to be a good listener. Therefore know yourself, know your needs and your abilities, be passionate and surround yourself with love and inspiration. Moreover, inspire others, be truthful and try to have a little fun along the way (and – allow others to take credit!!).
We learned about the importance of doing more Radon testing. Understand the cold chain and its importance in providing us quality food. There is a need to adapt if we are going to ensure food safety – therefore there is a need for more research (and then sharing the results with the public). We also learned about the growing complexity of water distribution and transmission maintenance especially in our expanding urban settings. Ironically we need harmony in our water systems, just like we need harmony in our governance systems if we are to have truly effective and safe drinking water.
Another speaker also addressed the problems of inter-generational communication. We need to appreciate the different values, perspectives and even sense of self-identification within various groupings. Stereotypes are less valid as are the values & communicative styles. The war babies are loyal whereas the Boomers are optimistic and prosperous. The Generation X people often can now be found in management – they are independent and often divorce. The Generation Y are confident, internet savy (along with tiny phones) and have greater social consciousness whereas Generation Z are multi-taskers, inclusive and seek truth & reconciliation. In many work places one can find up to four generations working side-by-side which creates diversity, uniqueness and varied attributes – but with this all, there is a need to appreciate the workplace/home & recreational balance that is required, not just desired.
We also discussed health equity which requires a perspective that is different than simply promoting equality – reality needs to include liberation at times. And all this asks us to recognize (and acknowledge) our own position within the greater socio-economic world that we are part of. There were other topics such as better ways to reduce youthful eagerness to vape, smoke, etc., as well as more attention to water re-use (especially given the looming likelihood of water scarcity in different geographic locales) including waster water surveillance, along with bio-hazard awareness & safety. This all is going to impact public health enforcement.
In summary it was a good conference, in fact one that every prospective & early EHO (Environmental Health Officer) should attend. Some sessions were more animated than others, some sessions were more relevant that others. But most were useful and only a couple needed serious fact-checking. The entertainment was a bonus in the package – Monday night social: well attended and a good networking moment. Tuesday awards luncheon was a highlight with the young Aboriginal drummers & dancers.
While it is likely this will turn out to be my one and only, it was worth the price: congrats to the organizers – congrats to CIPHI.
October has been a good month in my professional journey.