REGINA — A Saskatchewan senator and a clinical psychologist are this year’s recipients of the Campion College Alumni of Distinction Award. Senator Denise Batters, a strong advocate for mental health, and Dr. Katherine Owens, director of Clinical Psychology Training for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, each received the award at a gala held in October at the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina.
Batters received a BA through Campion College at the University of Regina and her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. She was in private practice until 2007 when she became chief of staff to the then Minister of Justice Don Morgan for five years then moved to the Crown Investments Corporation as director of Regulatory Affairs until she received an appointment to the Senate in 2013.
Her late husband, member of Parliament David Batters, lost his battle with depression in 2009 and since then, Batters has become a strong advocate for mental health. She organizes an annual fundraising golf tournament which has raised almost $200,000 to support advocacy for mental health. She was the recipient of the 2015 Champion of Mental Health in the parliamentarian category in recognition of her efforts. She organized opposition to the inclusion of psychological suffering in the physician-assisted suicide legislation and was successful in having it removed.
“The most vulnerable in our society now have some protection,” she said in accepting the Alumni of Distinction Award.
Owens received a BA Honours through Campion College, University of Regina and an MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Regina. Besides her work with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, she is chief psychologist at the Mental Health Clinic, an adjunct professor at the University of Regina and a clinical lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan.
She volunteers at the Regina Food Bank, the United Nations Safer Cities Project in Tanzania, and Gruppo per Relazionil Transculturali (GRT) a Somalian inpatient unit. She spent time in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, helping citizens cope with the disaster.
Owens was the first psychologist to the Canadian-based volunteer organization Humanity First, which helps regions in the world where people struggle getting the basic necessities of life. “I’ve had a 26-year relationship with Campion,” said Owens in her acceptance remarks. She remembered how much spiritual and basic support she received from Campion.
Batters and Owens, in a September ceremony, had been inducted as alumni members of Alpha Sigma Nu, an international honour society or Jesuit Institutions of higher learning. Students, alumni and associates of Jesuit institutions who distinguish themselves through scholarship, leadership, loyalty and service to the institutions and community are inducted into the society.