Honouring Daphne Spencer

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Daphne Spencer joined the BC Centre for Disease Control in 1986, to provide HIV testing opportunities within the Sexually Transmitted Infections Clinic. Over the next 29 years she became a leader in the front line in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In February 2015, she retired from nursing, and we invite you to honour her wonderful career by supporting graduate students in her field at UBC.

In 1986, living with HIV and AIDS was highly stigmatized, and the diagnosis of HIV infection often meant infected persons experienced feelings of hopelessness, discrimination and sometimes abandonment by friends, family, employers or landlords. Daphne and her team developed best practices and guidelines for compassionate informed testing approaches.

Daphne’s expertise was so widely acknowledged that in the 1990s, she was invited to Sarajevo following the conflict in The Balkans as part of a UNICEF / Health Canada initiative to work with healthcare providers to plan how HIV testing and support could be made more available. In 2011 she joined the board of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Aids Network – an organization created in 1992 that works towards protecting the human rights of people living with HIV and the communities that surround them. Locally Daphne was a member of a Vancouver-based organization Keeping the Door Open – Dialogues on Drug Use which helped establish dialogue on drug policy in Vancouver. For all of the 29 years she worked as a nurse, Daphne modelled person-centred and ethical care as a public health leader, mentor, and inspiration to nurses across British Columbia.

While in 1996, new medications began to show great success in treating HIV, it remains today an uncomfortable reality that many persons who are infected with HIV encounter great challenges and health risks that must be taken into account in order for them to achieve optimal health. The relationship between good health and social justice continues to be a critical factor in the lives of persons living with HIV.

Daphne retired in early 2015, and her many colleagues and friends, in recognition of her achievements, contributions, and friendship, have come together to honour her by giving support to the causes to which she dedicated her working life. Daphne, her family and her friends invite you to consider contributing towards the Irene Goldstone Social Justice and HIV/AIDS Endowment Fund at the University of British Columbia.

This fund honours the work of all nurses who have worked tirelessly at the front line of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care over the past several decades. It is used to provide a scholarship for graduate students and trainees at the School of Nursing who are working in the field of social justice and HIV/AIDS.

This fund was initially established to mark the retirement of Irene Goldstone, adjunct professor in the School of Nursing, to ensure that the work to which she has dedicated her life will continue for future generations.

Your gift in honour of Daphne will help to ensure that current and future students in graduate programs at the School of Nursing at UBC can continue to make invaluable contributions to nursing research in social justice and HIV/AIDS, just as she did during her career.

 

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