Innovation and excellence in Ontario university nursing programs to be
celebrated in third-annual COUPN awards

TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ - The winners of this year's provincial nursing awards of excellence are making major contributions to health care in a wide range of areas, from assessing the side effects of antiretroviral drugs on women with HIV/AIDS, to conducting research on schizophrenia and introducing new technologies in the learning environments for nursing students. The awards will be presented to nursing faculty, students, staff and health program partners by the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing (COUPN) in a reception to be held in Toronto on April 22.

"Ontario universities boast nursing programs that are leading in nursing education, research and practice," says Dr. Catherine Tompkins, Chair of COUPN and Associate Dean of Health Sciences (Nursing) at McMaster University. "The demands for nurses with more skills, qualifications and experience are complex and growing, and the 2010 award winners are just a small sampling of the many dedicated individuals and organizations province-wide that are working collaboratively to meet this demand in Ontario."

Prof. Joyce McInerney at the University of Western Ontario's Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing receives the Excellence in Teaching Award, adding to her already long list of teaching awards garnered over 30 years, for her impassioned teaching that is supported by practical experience in midwifery, intensive care, acute care, general surgery and community nursing.

Winning the Teaching Innovation Award is Prof. Maureen Barry of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto for being a leader in introducing new technologies within the lab and classroom settings, developing curriculum, and transforming learning environments to enhance the learning outcomes of nursing students.

At York University's School of Nursing, assistant professor Judith MacDonnell has been named the recipient of the New Tenure Stream Faculty Contribution Award. The York professor has taught nursing at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University and has over two decades of public health nursing experience. In her community health classes, she links theoretical concepts to research on social justice issues (including race, gender and sexuality) and nursing practice.

A doctoral research project exploring the side effects of combining several antiretroviral drugs to treat women living with HIV/AIDS garners Dr. Marilou Gagnon of University of Ottawa's School of Nursing the 2010 Doctoral Dissertation Award; while Nina Cavey, who earned her MScN from McMaster University in 2009, receives this year's Master's Student Award of Excellence for her thesis paper on schizophrenia. At the undergraduate level, University of Western Ontario's Deivi Gaitan receives the Award for Excellence in Professional Nursing Practice at the Undergraduate Student Level for establishing the Latin American Nursing Student Initiative at Western to facilitate community development and promote global health education.

Two external partners are also cited for excellence. The Clinical Resources Committee, a standing committee of the Forum for Chief Nursing Executives from the Champlain LHIN region, receives the Award for Strategic Contribution to Nursing Education for its effective coordination of thousands of nursing students and placements annually in Ottawa; and Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children wins the Agency Recognition Award for its significant contributions to university nursing education and nursing scholarship in Ontario.

COUPN, an affiliate of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), works in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to deliver the highest quality nursing education to prepare students for practice and to support the province in meeting its human health resource needs.

SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information: For further information: Dr. Catherine Tompkins, Chair, COUPN, Associate Dean, Health Sciences (Nursing), McMaster University, (905) 525-9140,

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