Vivian Dixon: Responding to the need for more workforce diversity "spoke volumes"

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 4:13pm

Vivian Dixon’s high school yearbook reflected her life-long aspiration – to go to Dalhousie and become a social worker. More than 20 years, two children and many community volunteer and work experiences later, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream.

On Sept. 17, Dixon was one of eight Dalhousie students to receive a $1,000 diversity bursary from Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Central Zone (formerly Capital Health). The organization introduced the bursaries in 2015 as one way to help diversify its workforce; a 2010 survey showed the staff population to be under-represented by African Nova Scotians, Aboriginals, new immigrants and people with disabilities.

“It’s amazing,” said Dixon of the bursary. “The fact that Capital Health (Nova Scotia Health Authority) responded to the need for more diversity – that spoke volumes.” She says that as a mother with one child in University, the added financial support also helps to remove a level of stress that allows her to focus on her studies.

Finally pursuing a Bachelor and then Masters of Social Work were a natural step for Dixon, who was raised with the expectation that she would give back to her community, and worked for more than two decades in the field of social services for non-profit and government agencies. 

Dixon’s first social work field placement was within Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Addictions and Mental Health Program. “I can see myself working here,” she said. Dixon also has a passion for working with women and youth, particularly in the area of forensics. Wherever her passions and experience ultimately take her after her Fall 2016 graduation, Dixon looks forward to fulfilling her dream of being a social worker.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity. I hope I’m an inspiration for others who have thought about going back.”