Healthcare professionals and volunteers recognized for improving the patient experience through remarkable and compassionate care

Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network present ninth annual Human Touch Awards

TORONTO, April 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Today Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network present the ninth annual Human Touch Awards (HTA) honouring deserving front-line cancer and kidney healthcare professionals, providers and volunteers from across the province for their dedication to providing exceptional and compassionate patient care.

The Awards showcase the incredible work happening throughout the province, while highlighting a few of the many compelling stories that represent the experiences of so many Ontarians whose lives have been touched by cancer and chronic kidney disease. To assist patients during this time, healthcare professionals not only treat the physical symptoms of the disease but also the emotional ones. This year's HTA winners make evident the power of compassion and the human touch through their remarkable efforts to make meaningful differences for patients and their families. They truly impact and enhance the patient experience every day.

This year, the following winners have been selected from both the kidney and cancer care systems:

Cancer care system:

  • Marjorie Brewster, Volunteer, Paediatric Oncology Clinic, Southlake Regional Health Centre
  • Jennifer Lounsbury, Acute Nurse Adult Nurse Practitioner Outpatient Oncology, Grand River Regional Cancer Centre
  • Karen Biggs, Registered Dietician, Juravinski Cancer Centre
  • Screen for Life Mobile Cancer Screening Coach Team, Juravinski Cancer Centre: Carrie Claxton, Elisabeth Silverthorne, Joanna Hakenberg, Leslea Boyle, Anne Hixon, Emma Catacchio, Karen Todd, Georgina Martin, Brenda Lumsden-Johanson, Cathy Chaput, Elizabeth Vandesompele and Allysa Higginson

Kidney care system:

  • Michael McCormick, Volunteer, Chronic Kidney Disease Program - St. Michael's Hospital, The Kidney Foundation of Canada - Ontario Branch and the Ontario Renal Network
  • Randall Russell, Volunteer, Chronic Kidney Disease Program and Nephrology Patient Family Advisory Committee - The Ottawa Hospital
  • Connie Twolan, Clinical Director - Regional Nephrology Program and Regional Director - Champlain LHIN
  • Julie Ann Lawrence, Nurse Practitioner, Kidney Care Centre – London Health Sciences Centre
  • Shirley Pulkkinen, Renal Program Social Worker, Algoma Regional Renal Program -Sault Area Hospital

This year, the awards coincide with Patient Experience Week (April 27 to May 1), an annual awareness event to celebrate the accomplishments, energize the efforts and honour the people who impact the patient experience every day.  Research shows that good patient experience is associated with patients being more engaged in their care which leads to improved patient outcomes.

The partnership between CCO, ORN, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and other organizations, health professionals, front-line care providers and volunteers that make up the Regional Cancer Programs and Regional Renal Programs are essential to providing and maintaining high quality health care in the province.

Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network acknowledge the generous support of the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division and the RBC Foundation, co-sponsors of the ninth annual Human Touch Awards.


"So many people in Ontario are touched by cancer and kidney disease. While the ordeal these patients and their families face is never easy, the sincere and empathetic patient care that today's award recipients provide can help to ease the journey and make a positive difference in the lives of patients and their families."
- Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

"Compassion is an integral component of care that today's award recipients provide to patients every day.  They not only exemplify and inspire excellence in patient-centred care; they also enrich the patient and family experience through their incredible commitment, untiring dedication and sincere emotional support."
- Michael Sherar, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario.

"Today's Human Touch Awards recipients are an inspiration for all those who value and want to improve the patient experience. We at the Canadian Cancer Society are proud to sponsor the Human Touch Awards and acknowledge the inspiring patient care of these dedicated frontline workers and volunteers."
- Martin Kabat, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division

"We are tremendously proud of the passionate volunteers and dedicated renal professionals who every day provide ongoing support and understanding to kidney patients. It is inspirational for everyone in the kidney community to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of those who make such a positive difference in the lives of those impacted by kidney disease." 
- Jim O'Brien, Executive Director, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Ontario Branch.

For more information about our winners visit and and join the conversation on Twitter with #HumanTouchAwards.

Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), an Ontario government agency, drives quality and continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience, for cancer and chronic kidney disease patients. Known for its innovation and result-driven approaches, CCO leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer and chronic kidney disease care.

The ORN, a division of CCO and an agency of the provincial government, manages the delivery of chronic kidney disease services. Our decisions and advice are based on the best evidence available, enabling us to provide effective planning, programs and funding to support a continuously improving kidney care system in Ontario.

SOURCE Cancer Care Ontario

Image with caption: "The ninth annual Human Touch Awards took place on April 23, 2015, honouring front-line cancer and renal care healthcare professionals, providers and volunteers from across the province. (CNW Group/Cancer Care Ontario)". Image available at:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Jayani Perera, Senior Public Relations Advisor, Phone: 1-855-460-2646, Email:


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