Panelists Topics/Bios

Caring about Care Labour

Dr. Jan Newberry, Department of Anthropology

The invisible pathogen that has caused a global pandemic has made something else visible: care labour.  When we talk about essential workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, daycare providers, janitors and housekeepers, we are talking about those who take care of others.  Although the term care labour has been taken up recently to describe this kind of work, the questions it prompts have been around a long time.  What does it have to do with the economy?  Why is it so often paid poorly?  How is it related to ethics?  To forms of social difference, such as gender, sexuality, race, and ability?  What does it even mean to say that we care?  For the planet?  For our communities?  For one another?  In this talk, she will use relationality to consider forms of care and what the renewed questions about care labour tell us about humans, our connections to others, and social justice.

Jan Newberry is an anthropologist whose work first centered on Java, Indonesia.  She has published on the political economy of social reproduction and labour, gender, the informal sector, families, households, and urban space.  Her more recent research concerns early childhood education and care and collaborative, multimodal, ethnographic methods in Blackfoot Territory.  She is co-founder of the University of Lethbridge's transdisciplinary Institute for Child and Youth Studies.  She has been a Board of Governors Teaching Chair and recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award, along with an American Anthropological Association/Oxford University Press Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.


Tanya Pace-Crosschild (BSc '98)

Opokaa'sin, an Indigenous child and family hub in Lethbridge, offers a wide range of programs and services, including a child care centre.  In 2017, Opokaa'sin was awarded the $25/day child care grant that provided accessible, affordable and quality driven child care.  When COVID-19 hit, daycare services were required to assist essential workers to return back to work.  The recent events have led to a demonstration of the importance of accessible and quality-driven child care services in the community!

Tanya Pace-Crosschild, Naatoyiitspa'pawaakaaki, is a mother/grandmother from the Kainai Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy.  She is currently the director of Opokaa'sin Early Intervention Society, an Indigenous Family Resource network that provides programs and services for urban Indigenous families in southern Alberta.  She has worked extensively within her community advocating for Indigenous women and children, including a Blackfoot Women's economic empowerment project, Raising Spirit collaborative research Project (with the Institute of Child and Youth Studies) as well as her advocacy around the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.  She holds a BSc in Neuroscience (U of L) and a Masters in Public Administration (University of Regina).

Better care through care aid engagement: tapping into the (all too often untapped) resource of care aides in long-term care

Dr. Sienna Caspar (Faculty of Health Sciences)

There is now an overwhelming body of evidence to show that engaged staff really do deliver better health care.  By engaged staff I mean staff who are committed to their organization and emotionally invested in their work.  Yet despite the evidence, most long-term and continuing care settings are unsuccessul in creating a truly engaged workforce.  The recent headlines in the news related to some of the devastating outcomes of COVID-19 in care homes across the country provides evidence of this reality.  On this panel, she will discuss how collaborative decision making can provide an ideal foundation from which to recognize and value the work of care aides in long-term care settings and how this process is inextricably intertwined with care aide engagement.

Sienna is an Associate Professor at the University of Lethbridge in the Faculty of Health Sciences - Therapeutic Recreation program.  Her areas of research expertise include: systems research, organizational behaviour, empowerment, interprofessional teamwork and collaboration, quality of care and quality of life in dementia care, and holistic approaches to wellness.  She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a dementia care specialist; she has worked as a clinician and consultant in long-term care facilities in both Canada and the United States for over 20 years.  She is passionate about improving the quality of life of older adults, while also improving the quality of work-life for those who provide their care.