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Healthcare Change Makers

Jul 26, 2021

For this special series, Voices Lifting the Community, HIROC is partnering with the Alliance for Healthier Communities to highlight the work of several of the presenters at their online primary healthcare conference in June.

Today we’re talking with Kate Vsetula, Director of Community and Organizational Development at the Guelph CHC. One of the many programs Kate works on is ACEs which stands for adverse childhood experiences. Research has shown that those experiences are common and universal and can increase the potential for negative health outcomes later in life.

Together with her many community partners, Kate takes an upstream approach to ACEs that focusses on building resilience within individuals, the family and the community. It starts with how you pose the question – not by saying “What’s wrong with you?” but “What happened to you?”

Kate has been recognized with a Woman of Distinction Award, the University of Guelph Emilie Hayes Community Partnership Award, and The Alliance for Healthier Communities Health Equity Award.



“ACEs are experiences in childhood that can shape who we are and set the stage for who we will become.” – KV

“ACEs do not predict your future, they just raise the risk of potential lower health outcomes. How we can adjust for that is by building community and family resiliency.” – KV

“I have experience with ACEs in my life and I have lots of people around me who have had those experiences and I see that ensuring protective factors and building communities that can support people through this is a really great long game.” - KV

“What we know is in our community, according to a local study we did as a coalition is that 81% of adults in the Guelph-Wellington area have experienced one ACE and that 31% of people have experienced four or more.” - KV

“I believe in the quote that every system is perfectly designed to receive the results it gets – we need to backsolve on our systems that don’t actually work to support those most marginalized.” - KV

“The passion in your voice Kate truly epitomizes what this series is called, ‘Voices Lifting the Community,’ and not only your voice but the voices of your colleagues and the coalition.” - PDS

“I feel so fortunate to work at the Guelph CHC because my work actually feeds my soul and keeps my passion going.” - KV


Mentioned in this Episode:

Guelph CHC

Kingston CHC

Toward Common Ground

ACEs Coalition in Guelph and Wellington County

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Alliance for Healthier Communities


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