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SFU Surrey engineering students use 3D printing skills to develop COVID-19 supplies

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When the call went out that local hospital staff needed COVID-19 supplies, SFU Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE) students were eager to help using the high-tech skills they’ve been learning.

MSE Professor Woo Soo Kim and 60 students worked from home, designing and developing medical mask parts, using their personal 3D printers. Five hundred medical mask ear-savers, which help to eliminate pressure and discomfort, were given to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) staff.

Kim says that engineers within the 3D printing community are looking for opportunities to give back during the pandemic. “COVID-19 is quite tragic, but because of this we can see how we can contribute to the community from the engineering perspective,” says Kim.

Now that SFU’s Additive Manufacturing Lab in Surrey has been cleared to open for essential work, Kim and graduate students, while following strict health protocols, are developing special door handles that allow people to open a door without using their hands. These supplies will be given to City of Surrey municipal workers.

“The City of Surrey has long recognized the expertise of SFU Surrey’s 3D printing capabilities,” says Mayor Doug McCallum. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we already had earlier discussions with SFU Surrey’s engineering professors on the department’s ability to utilize its 3D printing technology to produce critical personal protective equipment and other devices in response to COVID-19.”

“I want to commend the SFU Mechatronics Systems Engineering students and professors for the innovative and critical work they are accomplishing. We look forward to future collaborations on other 3D printed innovations that could protect our health-care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This project provides an opportunity for students to collaborate and put what they’ve learned in class to practice.

“I really wanted to help out in some other way, apart from the physical distancing,” says Nina Lin, VP of Internal Relations for the MSE Student Society. “Many other students had friends and family from other parts of the world, who are facing a bigger crisis, so they really wanted to help out. We’re all eager to assist our community and use our talents, skills, and knowledge to give back.”

Students will be able to apply their work to a directed study course for credit. Students also determined a way to cut down the time it takes to print the mask straps, from 33 minutes to nine.

SFU is harnessing its resources in other ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To read about them visit www.sfu.ca/sfunews/covid-19.

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Community Board

Kisaan Ekta Collective Supports Punjabi Farmers Protesting in India

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“In light of Punjabi Farmers protesting in India, media blackouts, and misalignment, we are committed to a call to action to keeping ourselves and each other informed on what’s really going on.” Kisaan Ekta Collective is a group of individuals from Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON who are synthesizing information on the issue to transparently inform + urge a call to action to continue keeping each other informed. Visit kisaanekta.co for more information on the matter, ways to help, educational resources and artistic expressions on the matter.

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Community Board

As Flu Shots Remain Scarce, Two Flu Vaccination Clinics in Surrey Have Hundreds of Appointments Available

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Amid reports of family doctors and pharmacies running out of vaccines, and of patients’ flu vaccine appointments being canceled, two mass flu immunization clinics in Surrey are open and welcoming patients.

The clinics, which opened on November 2 and will run through December (or until supplies run out) are open to all Surrey and North Delta residents.

Jointly operated by Fraser Health and the Surrey-North Delta Division of family practice, these clinics have the capacity to provide thousands of flu vaccines, depending on demand and availability, and they are far from fully booked.

“We designed these clinics with the understanding that the demand for flu vaccines this year would be much higher than in previous years,” says Tomas Reyes, Executive Director of the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family practice. “Now that supplies have become scarce in our communities, we want to encourage anyone in Surrey and North Delta who still needs a flu shot to book an appointment – this is what these clinics were designed for.”

Those wishing to receive a vaccine will have to be free of any COVID-19 symptoms, and screening will be conducted at the vaccination sites before each appointment. Appointments can be booked online at https://surreynorthdeltaflushot.secureform.ca, where patients will also be able to select the time and location of their appointment.

Spots are expected to fill quickly, so organizers recommend booking as soon as possible.

About the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice

Established in 2010, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice is comprised of nearly 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 Medical Office Assistants from across Surrey and North Delta.

The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice brings together family doctors to enhance the delivery of health care services in the community. It is a member-driven non-profit society, created by and for doctors, who understand the needs and realities of serving a community as large and diverse as Surrey and North Delta. The Division is funded by the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.

More information about the SNDFP can be found here: https://www.divisionsbc.ca/surrey-north-delta

About Fraser Health

Fraser Health is responsible for the delivery of hospital and community-based health services to over 1.8 million people in 20 diverse communities from Burnaby to Fraser Canyon on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.

Their team of nearly 40,000 staff, medical staff and volunteers is dedicated to serving patients, families and communities to deliver on our vision: Better health, best in health care.

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Community Board

Two Immunization Clinics Opened This Week in Surrey

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On November 2, two large immunization clinics offering accessible flu vaccines opened in Surrey. Jointly operated by Fraser Health and the Surrey-North Delta Division of family practice, these clinics will provide flu vaccines to the Surrey-North Delta community, during the upcoming two to three months they will be in operation.

The clinics will be operating in two locations – at the Newton Urgent Primary Care Centre and at the Axis Primary Care Clinic in Cloverdale and will offer vaccination services by appointment only.

The two organizations have worked together to implement these clinics in a very short amount of time in order to meet increased community demand.  These clinics are available in addition to the traditional channels of pharmacies and family physicians providing flu vaccines to their patients.

The clinics will be open to everyone and will accommodate individuals struggling with barriers to access, such as low-income individuals and those without a family physician.

Those wishing to receive a vaccine will have to be free of any COVID-19 symptoms, and screening will be conducted at the vaccination sites before each appointment. Appointments can be booked online at https://surreynorthdeltaflushot.secureform.ca, where patients will also be able to select the time and location of their appointment.

Spots are expected to fill quickly, so organizers recommend booking as soon as possible.

About the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice

Established in 2010, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice is comprised of nearly 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 Medical Office Assistants from across Surrey and North Delta.

The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice brings together family doctors to enhance the delivery of health care services in the community. It is a member-driven non-profit society, created by and for doctors, who understand the needs and realities of serving a community as large and diverse as Surrey and North Delta. The Division is funded by the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.

More information about the SNDFP can be found here: https://www.divisionsbc.ca/surrey-north-delta

About Fraser Health

Fraser Health is responsible for the delivery of hospital and community-based health services to over 1.8 million people in 20 diverse communities from Burnaby to Fraser Canyon on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.

Their team of nearly 40,000 staff, medical staff and volunteers is dedicated to serving patients, families and communities to deliver on our vision: Better health, best in health care.

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Community Board

Surrey social enterprise leader Harsh Thakkar is an RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant of 2020

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Multiculturalism is one of the things Harsh Thakkar loves most about Canada. But it comes with its share of challenges, like language barriers, which can keep newcomers feeling left out. That might explain why Thakkar, head of DIVERSEcity Interpretation and Translation Services in Surrey, B.C., is so passionate about communication across cultures. “Language should never be an obstacle for anyone in a country as diverse as Canada,” says Thakkar, who is one of this year’s RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners.

Thakkar oversees a team of more than 300 interpreters and translators who help clients communicate, especially in the health care and court systems, in more than 88 languages. Under his leadership, he has grown the business to include rare languages, Indigenous languages and even American Sign Language (ASL). “We are proud to be a designated provider for provincial and municipal government interpretation and translation needs,” he says.

And the kicker is that it’s all for a good cause. DIVERSEcity Interpretation and Translation Services is a social enterprise, certified by Buy Social Canada. That means its profits go toward the good works done by its parent charitable organization, DIVERSEcity Community Resource Society, which helps immigrants, refugees and vulnerable populations.

Knowing his work is helping immigrants is poignant for Thakkar, who came to Canada from India as an international student in 2001. He faced his own challenges, juggling his business studies with being a peer mentor, while trying to gain work experience, even though international students were then limited in their ability to work off campus.

“This also made it more difficult to secure work experience points to later qualify under the skilled immigration category,” he says. “This motivated me to run for campus student representative. After winning the election, I went to the Parliament of Canada to speak about allowing international students to work off campus.”

Thakkar, who’s thrilled the rules have improved since then, says, “It’s important to stay positive in the face of challenges. The most important attribute that helped me achieve my goals is my personal drive and ‘can-do’ attitude and maintain enthusiasm even when things get tough.”

The same lessons apply in business. Professionally, Thakkar has developed a reputation as a charismatic, optimistic leader with organizations like the Vancouver International Marathon Society before coming to DIVERSEcity.

Thakkar, who also manages DIVERSEcity’s CELPIP Language Testing Centre, says he wants to continue to grow in his current role and take every opportunity to support newcomers to Canada, including mentoring international students in his personal time.

“As immigrants, we are surrounded by a lot of challenges, but don’t let those stop you from moving forward,” he advises. “A positive mindset is what’s going to allow you to succeed in your goals in Canada,” he says. “Honestly, we are so blessed to be in a country where people care about each other, so all you have to do is go out there and talk with people.”

And if they speak a different language, Thakkar can help you with that!

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Community Board

Shakti Film Festival 2020

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Shakti Society is a nonprofit society committed to empowering women, families, and children through community forums, Shakti Awards, annual wellness days, and other activities. Our mandate is to support all members of society, especially women, in finding their power and voice to become strong leaders and advocates for themselves and the community. We have introduced various initiatives that help ‘awaken the power within’ and create dialogue around feminism and gender equality. The Shakti Film Festival is our latest undertaking in our mission to increase and acknowledge women’s contribution to our society and their representation in film.

Shakti Society has addressed the influence of media and films on violence against women and we will be focussing and promoting films that showcase women in strong roles as well as filmmakers who are often marginalized due to various barriers, like race, color, finances, language, disability, sexual orientation and various health issues including mental health.

Due to the current pandemic, we will be hosting our inaugural film festival in a digital format where films will be screened over two days, October 10th and 11th, in honor of the International Day of the Girl Child. We will be inviting film and media personalities as well as community leaders to engage in action-oriented discussions about the role that media plays in shaping society and how we as consumers of media also play a big part in creating our culture.

This year’s program is set for October 10-11, 2020, and will consist of films that will include:

  • 1 Feature Film: 60 mins or longer
  • 1 Documentary Film: 45 min or longer
  • 1 Short Film: up to 20 mins
  • 1 Student Film: up to 8 mins

People of all genders are welcome to submit their films as long as a woman holds one of the following positions within the filmmaking team: Director, Writer, Cinematographer or Producer.

Films must fall within one of the following themes:

  • Violence Against Women
  • Political Participation of Women
  • Women and Environmental Challenges
  • Race, Gender, Identity
  • Men and Boys as Allies

The Submission Deadline is September 30th, 2020.

Awards & Prizes

  • Best Film – $100
  • Best Student Film – $100
  • Best Documentary Film – $100
  • Best Short Film – $100

Films can be submitted at https://filmfreeway.com/ShaktiFilmFestival-1

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