Keynote Address with Betty-Lou Kristy, Centre for Innovation in Peer Support

Betty Lou Kristy’s Powerpoint:  EQIP Keynote Apr 2021_ Centre Covid Pivot Based on Values. Listen- REALLY Listen V4FINAL

Listen. REALLY Listen. (The Cornerstone of QI)

This has been a year of constant change. The world around us transformed rapidly. In the face of the uncertainty and upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, living our values has never been more important. Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support saw how having a strong set of core values allowed us to respond quickly to change and to continue to meet the needs of both clients and staff.  We have always driven for responsive change in our system.

To truly harness the energy of ‘people power’ and what it takes to deliver services that bring enormous value – means living those values.  Every.  Single.  Time.   It is more than a filter.  It is a standard of caring to meet and exceed a benchmark of excellence that is based on human interaction, building relationships, being reflexive and reflective, being honorable and kind.  Always aspiring to ‘do the RIGHT thing’ – no matter how many barriers are in the way.  Tenacity.  Grit.  Teamwork.  Hard Work.  True co-design in Human Services cannot seed, grow, or flourish without the humanity and humility to hear what people are saying, needing and/or wanting.  Whether that be people receiving services, people delivering services or people working to create the policy, governance and/or funding.

At Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support we thrive in ‘the art of possibility’.

Betty-Lou Kristy is the Director of Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support.  Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support provides wellness based, peer-led self-help and social connections programming to community members; and support to organizations who have peer staff, through training in peer-support program implementation, capacity-building, evaluation, research, knowledge brokerage, and quality improvement. As a result, the Centre has evolved to become a “Benchmark of Excellence” in peer support and the meaningful engagement of lived/living experience and family/caregiver co-design. The Centre has been awarded the 2017 Ontario Peer Development Initiative (OPDI) Innovators Award, 2017 AMHO President Shield Award and the 2016 Association of General Hospital Psychiatric Services (AGHPS) Celebrating Innovation Award.

The Centre’s leadership has been trained and coached extensively in quality improvement with the Excellence through Quality Improvement Project (E-QIP) for 2 cohorts. Leadership are also certified in LEADS Healthcare Leadership and are certified in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. The Centre has been identified as a Promising Practice by Provincial System Support Programs (PSSP) Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) @ Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH), has co-authored on the 2017 Health Canada-Drug Treatment Funding Programs (DTFP) Performance Measurement in Peer Support, and was featured in the Ontario Excellence through Quality Improvement Report – An inspiring look at Quality Improvement in action.

Betty-Lou is a bereaved mother, in recovery for almost 20 years from alcohol/multi-drug addictions, trauma and mental health issues. Betty-Lou lost Pete, her 25-year-old son with concurrent disorders to an accidental opioid overdose in 2001.  She has additional caregiver experience in supporting close family members with cancer, cardio, lung/COPD, diabetes and asthma. She has spent 15+ years as a provincial system-level, lived experience and family – advisor, educator, and advocate – helping to frame policy, governance, and programming. Previous to this journey her background was in corporate marketing.

Betty-Lou has over 15 years of extensive board governance training and experience.  She has completed 3-6 year terms being a board director for Bereaved Families of Ontario Halton-Peel, Canadian Mental Health Association Halton (CMHA-HRB), Halton Alcohol Drug and Gambling Assessment Prevention and Treatment Services (ADAPT), Glen Mills Co-operative Housing Corporation, and Addictions & Mental Health Ontario (AMHO).

Betty-Lou is the recipient of several awards such as the 2009 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Transforming Lives Award, the 2012/13 Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MoHLTC) Achievement, Commitment and Excellence (ACE) Award –Partner Relations for her work with the Expert Advisory Narcotics, and the 2016 Support House Employee of the Year Award.  She was recently appointed as Chair of the Health Minister’s Patient & Family Advisory Council (M-PFAC).

Humanizing, quality of life and reduction of harm are integral to her.