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.
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. Released in 2011, this series can be followed at www.thestar.com.
Beyond her focus on education and addiction, Dowsett Johnston has written on a wide variety of subjects, from the arts to mental health. Her personal writing was anthologized in the bestselling Dropped Threads: More of What We Aren't Told.
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.
"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. We invited Ann to be our Keynote Speaker at our 17th Annual Friendship Fundraising Dinner. At the Dinner, Ms Dowsett Johnston spoke about alcohol use amongst women:"Our Love Affair with Alcohol: How a Fairy-tale Romance Blinds Us to the Obvious". The event was sold-out in advance and there wasn't a spare seat to be had in the hall. Over 330 guests heard a poignant tale of a love affair gone wrong. Ann's message was powerful and insightful, leaving no doubts about the need for progressive public policy on alcohol use and the need for adequate and appropriate treatment services for those suffering from addiction.
Well the (net) results of the evening definitely exceeded our hopes for the evening. More importantly, Ann started a very challenging discussion that is still being carried on by the folks in attendance that night. Ann challenged our thinking through the presentation with her insights, research, and experience.
We received so much positive feedback about Ann's talk. A doctor came up to me and said how much she appreciated what Ann said and that she strongly agreed with her findings/suggestions. I continue to receive praise for Ann's presentation. One email read, “She was a rockstar who's message was challenging and fit perfectly with what HoF is trying to accomplish."
We appreciated Ann's feistiness and passion. She is a brilliant communicator and we all wished she would have kept sharing more stories and insights. On a professional level I greatly appreciated the way Ann approached this event. She took the time to learn about our work and the campaign we launched. She incorporated the campaign in to her talk which helped us generate support. On a personal level, I found Ann to be incredibly authentic and passionate. We found her insights and support incredibly helpful."
House of Friendship
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