Catherine White Holman
2010 Pride Hero Vancouver
Catherine White Holman was a pioneer and social worker and advocate who brought health services to the most marginalized people in Vancouver. She was a loving and devoted wife to artist SD Holman and friend and an active participant in the Canadian Queer communities.
Catherine White Holman died in a plane crash off Saturna Island November 29 2009; the whole community mourns the loss of this beloved and innovative Community Counselor. Hundreds of people attended her Wake and her memorial website overflows with messages from friends, colleagues and clients.
Catherine was the Community Counselor at Three Bridges Community Health Centre In Vancouver since 1995. Her role was inner city social work and counseling within an interdisciplinary care model. The reason Vancouver has queer health programs like Boys R Us, Pride Health Services, Transgender Health Program, and the Positive Women’s Network support group is because of Catherine’s work to create services for the GLBTI communities. She made space for us. She wrote the book, literally, on best practices in the care of GLBT patients, when she co-penned two articles in Guidelines for Transgender Care —Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Issues in the Care of Transgender Adolescents, and Social and Medical Advocacy with Transgender People and Loved Ones, both published in Guidelines for Transgender Care, Haworth Medical Press, Binghamton, NY, which describe standards and practices for care used by medical professionals all over the world.
Catherine was a founding staff member at the Three Bridges clinic and worked on the frontlines of the HIV epidemic. She was a constant advocate with literally thousands of people on her client roster. She saved a lot of lives and she saved them with love. She believed that the marginalized were not loved enough by society, by family, by the world; that is how she approached her work. She saved lives because she listened and acted with compassion and love. She was a proud tutor for the DPAS UBC Program (Doctor, Patient and Society), and a contributor to the Research Project Accessibility to Health Services for Gay Men at Three Bridges Community Health Centre and the Vancouver AIDS Memorial. Catherine was a member of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH).
“Catherine was a remarkable person,” said Trevor Corneil, a physician at Three Bridges where Catherine was part an interdisciplinary team providing free primary health care to marginalized populations. “I have worked with Catherine for 15 years, since I started out as a resident, and I have seen her help thousands of people.”
Catherine was involved in the innovative program development of Pride Health Services – a partnership program with The Centre, AIDS Vancouver, and the Transgender Health Program, in addition to Boys R Us; Positive Women’s Network support group; complementary health programs (massage and art therapy, Reiki, anger management); infant, children & youth in primary care; youth pregnancy program; and integrated addiction care.
Catherine was a member of the Safe Choices Advisory Committee, and Three Bridges CHC Quality Improvement Committee.
Catherine presented at the Canadian Pediatric Science Conference – Growing up Transgendered, and the Vancouver AIDS Conference.
Catherine’s previous work included being a consultant of program review for the BC Coalition of Persons With AIDS, a co-ordinator of volunteers at the Downtown Eastside Womens’ Centre, the agency co-coordinator and case worker at the Multi-Service Network, and a case worker for Lookout Emergency Shelter.