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Stephanie Croisiere, Public Policy and Administration MA ’18, is the inaugural recipient in the alumni category of the Ryerson Viola Desmond Awards.
A champion for community development, human rights, justice issues, anti-Black racism and anti-poverty, Stephanie Croisiere is the first recipient of the Ryerson University Viola Desmond Award in the alumni category.
A Ryerson tradition honouring women of African descent, the Viola Desmond Awards celebrate and raise awareness of the diverse and little-known stories and past and present contributions of students, staff and faculty. This year, the awards have grown to include an alumni category — the Dr. Beverly Mascoll Ryerson Alumni Award. “As the ceremony continues, many of our student recipients are graduating and continuing to do amazing work within the Black community. The new award category spoke to a need for recognition of the next phase of their lives,” said Darrell Bowden, director of the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion. “Our committee created the new category as a way of reconnecting with alumni, recognizing the work they are doing, and also keeping alumni informed of happenings at Ryerson.”
Croisiere is a policy analyst with a Ryerson MA in Public Policy and Administration, and a background in counselling psychology in mental health. Her award-winning research aims to challenge the narrative of Black mental health, increase access to services and enhance equity by creating knowledge around the historical trauma of slavery and its lasting legacy. Croisiere works with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as a policy and program analyst supporting the province in planning for equal access in health care services for diverse communities throughout Ontario.
“Black people combat a complex system that is embedded and deeply rooted in historic and contemporary inequalities, discrimination and systematic racism giving rise to unique mental health needs in Black populations,” said Croisiere. “Understanding history and social structures is pivotal to effectively treating Black populations and increasing their ability to seek, access and obtain appropriate mental health care. In a Canadian context, we desperately need race-based data collection tools that can systematically identify Black health needs, and research that recognizes slavery, the trauma of medical racism, and other kinds of racism that impact our way of living.”
Croisiere stays connected to Ryerson as vice-president of operations for Ryerson University Public Policy and Administration Alumni Association, where she encourages engagement between students and alumni.
Croisiere was one of six individuals honoured at the Viola Desmond Awards. Read the full story about all the recipients on Ryerson Today.