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Ann Dowsett Johnston

CEO of the Pine River Foundation, Expert on Public Policy & Addiction

An award-winning journalist, Ann Dowsett Johnston is well respected for her expertise in higher education, alcohol addiction and public policy relating to both. For 14 years, she oversaw two bestselling projects: the Maclean’s university rankings and the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities.  Dowsett Johnston spent time researching the issue of Women and Alcohol as part of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy.  Provocative and dynamic, she engages audiences at a deeply personal level, exploring subjects that challenge many Canadian families.  Her bestselling book and speaking topic is a brave and informed look at Drink:  The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Presentations

Our Love Affair with Alcohol: How a Fairy-tale Romance Blocks Strong Policy, and How Media Can Help
To create strong alcohol policy, we need to take a hard look at the best available evidence, examine our core values and ask ourselves: what do we want for Canada? What role does the media play in the outcome? Enormous. Ann Dowsett Johnston argues that the media is key to shaping strong policy: essential in disseminating good research, advocating for change and puncturing many myths.

The Drinking Diaries: Why Women Drink Too Much and What We Can Do About It
Alcohol consumption is on the rise, and women are leading the growth, both here and in most of the developing world. Parity in postsecondary achievement, parity in the workforce, and now this? Clearly, this is not what Gloria Steinem had in mind. The marketers think differently. Ann Dowsett Johnston explores this phenomenon: what’s driving the trend in risky drinking for all age groups, the health risks, and what can be done.

Stigma and Addiction: The Real Enemy
In our society, would you rather be known as an alcoholic or a person who suffers from depression? This was the question Ann Dowsett Johnston posed to dozens of women. Not one woman chose alcoholic. Why? The stigma was too overwhelming. For 20 years, scientists have known that alcohol addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease. While there has been strong national leadership around stigma and mental health, the voices on addiction have been silent. The gap between what we know and do not do? A national embarrassment. Ann tackles the stigma issue, charting the way forward.

Awards

2014
CAMH Transforming Lives Award


  • On behalf of House of Friendship we want to fully endorse Ann Johnston both as a speaker and a champion for individuals struggling with addictions. The event was sold-out in advance and there wasn't a spare seat to be had in the hall. Ann challenged our thinking through the presentation with her insights, research, and experience.



    - House of Friendship
  • She was a rockstar whose message was challenging and fit perfectly with what HoF is trying to accomplish.


    - Attendee, House of Friendship Conference

Summary Profile

An award-winning journalist, Ann Dowsett Johnston is well respected for her expertise in higher education, alcohol addiction and public policy relating to both. For 14 years, she oversaw two bestselling projects: the Maclean’s university rankings and the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. Most recently, Dowsett Johnston spent a year researching the issue of Women and Alcohol as part of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy.

Beyond her focus on education and addiction, Dowsett Johnston has written on a wide variety of subjects, from the arts to mental health.  In 2013, she released  Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. Her personal writing was anthologized in the bestselling Dropped Threads: More of What We Aren’t Told.

In 2014 she was named the CEO of the Pine River Foundation, an organization that champions and supports Pine River Institute (PRI), a residential treatment program for youth 13-19 struggling with addictive behaviours and often co-occurring mental health issues.

Dowsett Johnston has won numerous awards for her work, including five National Magazine Awards. She is also the recipient of a Southam Fellowship.

Feisty and outspoken, Dowsett Johnston champions the need for for political leadership on alcohol policy, a reduction in the stigma around addiction, and greater accountability in public education.

So thrilled that CACUSS Reads has chosen my book DRINK as their summer book club read. Especially timely with the launch of Canadian NCHIP. (Jul 05)
RT @trudeanstudents: Super pleased to learn that CACUSS Reads this summer will be @anndowsettj's book Drink. http://t.co/taHNQCKntn (Jul 05)
Deeply honoured to have won this year's Research Society in Alcoholism media award, received tonight in Seattle, for DRINK--now in paperback (Jun 26)