Harm Reduction Approaches

Example frontpage image Presenting complex topics like cannabis and youth requires a high level of coordination among content experts, writers and editors. In these articles, managed by Tom Axtell, the harm reduction approach to substance use and addictions is explicit in the health promotion messaging. A story on problem gambling was produced for the CHN with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at a time when the link between suicide and problem gambling was becoming apparent.

Easy to Read Web pages

Example frontpage imageCan prescription drugs be harmful? (voice)

Why is "sniffing" harmful? (character and voice)

What can I do if my parent drinks too much?
(three characters, and child intervention)

As more Canadians with low literacy skills reach for help through the Internet, they should be able to find resources that are written at an appropriate reading level. With the collaboration of the Centre for Addictions Research for British Columbia (CAR-BC), three Web resources were created to test a number of low cost multi-media solutions. Literacy learners liked the addition of audio and certain “characters” and they found some voices more appealing than others. The prototypes were developed by Axtell Health Communications in 2003, and are available by permission from CAR-BC.

Canadian Health Network

Example frontpage imageTom Axtell was hired to manage the the Substance Use/Addictions and Tobacco Affiliate of the Canadian Health Network during four years (CHN no longer exists). The centre maintained a large collection of online health promotion resources for the Canadian public. The Affiliate was a partnership of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Canada's National addictions agency, and three provincial partners; the Association des intervenants en toxicomanie du Québec inc.; Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and the Centre for Addictions Research for British Columbia.

Atii Training Inc. The Inuit Management Development Training Program

Between 1990 and 1993 Atii Training Inc. was the vehicle created by HRDC to enable Inuit to manage their own training. Tom coordinated, with Arctic College, over 60 Inuit management training workshops for 400 participants in the lead up to Nunavut land claim and government. He directed research to secure Article 23 of the land claim agreement, to establish the Nunavut Training Trust Fund and the set-up of the Nunavut Implementation Training Committee (NITC). While at Atii, he also organized a national pilot in which three courses were delivered across 4,000 km linking students in 10 remote classrooms from Nain to Inuvik using live interactive television. Regional Aboriginal management boards, NITC and Nunavut Arctic College are part of the Atii legacy.


Aboriginal Broadcasting

In 1979 Tom Axtell was invited by Bill Edmunds of the Labrador Inuit Association to research the communication needs of the Inuit and Settler communities of coastal Labrador. Visiting every household he documented peoples concerns about language and cultural since the arrival of Southern television. A year later Tom was the TV production trainer in Baker Lake, NWT, the headquarters of the Inukshuk Project, and the roots of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. Tom returned to Northern Labrador in 1982 to facilitate training projects and the start-up of the OkaliKatiget Society. With CBC broadcasters, he pioneered a journalism training program for small villages that has become a model in developing countries. He then managed tv and radio training for Wawatay in Sioux Lookout. Tom's first trip North was in 1974 as quartermaster aboard the m.v. Ludger Simard, an oil tanker, supplying Igloolik, Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord and Eureka. He owes his decades in the North and this stage of his career to his teacher/mentor Gail Valiskakis whose passion for Inuit communications self-governance impacted so many.

Web Design and Webmaster

recent projects:
The European Boutique Spa (2007-)
Axtell's Camp Comfort Cottage/Spa (2005-)
Tobacco Education Dependence