On this page: Award categories | 2022 winners | Previous year's winners

The RNAO Recognition Awards are presented annually to recognize individuals and groups that make significant contributions to RNAO's mandate of speaking out for nursing and speaking out for health. To honour these individuals and groups, consider nominating a colleague, yourself or your organization for one of RNAO's prestigious Recognition Awards.

Status:  Open 
Application due: Feb. 16 , 2023 at 4:30 p.m. ET
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Category Awards
Leadership Leadership in BPG Implementation

Lifetime Achievement

Nursing Administration

Nursing Education (Academic)

Nursing Research

Political Action

President’s Award in Clinical Nursing Practice

Education/mentorship Nursing Education (Staff Development)

Student Mentorship

Award of Merit

HUB Fellowship (an opportunity to shadow RNAO's CEO Doris Grinspun)

Group

Chapter of the Year

Interest Group of the Year

Student Undergrad

Student of Distinction

Member of the Public

Friend of Nursing

Award Nomination and Eligibility

  • Both the nominator and nominee must be RNAO members in good standing at the time of submission, and must have held RNAO membership for at least the last two membership years. With the exception of the Honoured Friend of Nursing Award where only the nominator is required to be a RNAO member.
  • Members of the RNAO board of directors, as well as anyone living with board members, are not eligible to be nominated.
  • RNAO employees, as well as anyone living with RNAO employees, are not eligible to be nominated or to nominate others.

What past winners say

"Finding a voice has to do with patient advocacy...standing up for what's right for the patient."

Brenda Orazietti

Leadership Award in Nursing Education

"I feel like I've grown up with RNAO. It is an awesome responsibility to teach others about what this grand profession is about."

Paula Manuel

Award of Merit 

"I think the primary goal of implementing a Best Practice Guideline is to really influence practice change and improve client outcomes." 

Lisa Prowd 

Leadership Award in BPG Implementation

Education/Mentorship
Award of Merit
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Shelley
Shelly Philip LaForest
Executive director and founder, Ontario Black Nurses’ Network

Shelly Philip LaForest has been a registered nurse for 23 years and a long-standing RNAO member. She has maintained a commitment to life-long learning, and is currently working on a PhD degree in Interdisciplinary Social Research at Trent University in Peterborough. As a bedside nurse, Shelly has worked on various surgical in-patient units and has an extensive background in education, pediatrics and leadership.

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HUB Fellowship
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Amanda Ottley
Amanda Ottley
The Pamoja Institute for Community Engagement and Action

Amanda Ottley founded The Pamoja Institute for Community Engagement and Action in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was tightening its deadly grip on Black communities.

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Leadership Award in Student Mentorship
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Angela Cooper Brathwaite RNAO president
Angela Cooper-Brathwaite
RN, BN, MN, PhD
Past-President, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite is an associate graduate faculty member at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa. As a mentor, she coaches, role models, fosters student engagement and stimulates students’ cognitive abilities by questioning and challenging them to excel to their full potential. Angela is also the co-chair of RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force (BNTF).

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Group
Chapter of the Year
Middlesex-Elgin Chapter

Members of the Middlesex Elgin Chapter executive – including Janet Hunt, Lauren Rogers, Chantal Singh, Nicole Forster and Marie Davis – are very honoured and excited to accept this Chapter of the Year Award in recognition of the work done within the chapter over the

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Interest Group of the Year
Nursing Research Interest Group

The Nursing Research Interest Group (NRIG) became an RNAO interest group in 1986.

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Leadership
Leadership Award in BPG Implementation
Hôpital Montfort

Hôpital Montfort is Ontario’s Francophone academic hospital, offering exemplary person-centred care. Affiliated with the University of Ottawa, the hospital serves more than 1.2 million people in eastern Ontario, in both official languages. The daily actions of the Hôpital Montfort team are guided

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Leadership Award in Nursing Administration
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Jennifer Yoon
Jennifer Yoon
Humber River Hospital

Jennifer Yoon obtained her nursing degree from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) in 2008. She completed her Masters of Sciences in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety from the University of Toronto in 2014. Jennifer began her PhD studies at Queen’s University in the fall of 2021.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic)
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Victoria Smye
Dr. Victoria Smye
Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University

Dr. Victoria Smye, RN, PhD, FCAN, is an associate professor and director of the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at London’s Western University (2017-present).

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Leadership Award in Nursing Research
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Charlene Chu
Dr. Charlene Chu
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

Dr. Charlene Chu is an assistant professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto (2019), and an affiliate scientist at KITE Toronto Rehab at the University Health Network.

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Leadership Award in Political Action
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Ameek Singh
Ameek Singh
Policy and political action ENO, Peel Chapter

Ameek Singh is an RN working for Peel Public Health and also for Unity Health in Toronto. He works with various non-profit organizations to address concerns of health-care access and primary care provision for the homeless populations of Peel. Ameek is a firm believer in culturally competent care. He feels that a person is more than just a diagnosis.

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Lifetime Achievement
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Angela Cooper Brathwaite RNAO president
Dr. Angela Cooper-Brathwaite
RN, BN, MN, PhD
Past-President, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite is an associate graduate faculty member at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa. She is also the co-chair of RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force (BNTF). In these positions, she is a leader, policy advocate, researcher and teacher. Her research is focused on preventing Type 2 diabetes among minority groups.

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Hilda Swirsky
Hilda Swirsky

Hilda Swirsky began her career with a diploma in nursing from York Regional School of Nursing. Enthralled with life-long learning, she went on to receive her baccalaureate degree from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and her Masters of Education from the University of Toronto. Hilda is a respected role-model and mentor, unwaverin

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Student (Undergrad)
Student of Distinction
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Carleigh Higgins
Carleigh Higgins
Queen's University

Carleigh Higgins is a nursing student at Queen’s University in Kingston. She is entering her fourth year of study.

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Education/Mentorship
Award of Merit
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Daniela Acosta
Daniela Acosta
The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre

Daniela Acosta, RN, GNC(C), is a practice leader at The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre, an innovative senior’s village in Ottawa. Driven by her belief that there is opportunity for growth and success everywhere, Daniela is dedicated to mentoring and building capacity in others.

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HUB Fellowship
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Daria Adèle Juüdi-Hope
Daria Adèle Juüdi-Hope
Outpost Nursing, Ontario & Manitoba

Daria Adèle Juüdi-Hope knew she had a calling when, as a young child in eastern DR Congo, she witnessed an aunt die from what she understood, even then, as something from which no one should die. The dedication of relief workers she witnessed in refugee camps made her vow to pay forward the compassion she received.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Staff Development)
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Claire Lynn Joseph
Claire Lynn Joseph
Nurse on Board Inc.

Currently in independent practice, Claire Lynn Joseph works as a certified neuroscience advanced practice nurse (APN) with Nurse on Board Inc., in Ottawa. She supports complex clients and families to overcome barriers to care through advocacy, navigation and care management.

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Leadership Award in Student Mentorship
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Dr. Louela Manankil-Rankin
Dr. Louela Manankil-Rankin
Nipissing University

Dr. Louela Manankil-Rankin is an assistant professor with the Nipissing University School of Nursing’s Second-Degree Entry Accelerated Scholar Practitioner Program (SPP), located in Toronto. Louela co-led the Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO)-Academic designation team that achieved BPSO designation in early 2021. She highlights the work of her students as partners in propelling the learning related to best practice guideline (BPG) uptake in nursing students of the SPP.

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Group
Chapter of the Year Award
Algoma Chapter

The Algoma Chapter executive includes Karen Belanger, Lorena Bressan, Adrienne Kappes, Jessica Dugas, Lyndsay Suurna, Irene Amadu-Azomani, Olivia Babic and J’aime-Rose Ferris. Liliana Bressan is the Region 11 board representative involved in the work of the chapter.

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Interest Group of the Year Award
Ontario Nurses for the Environment Interest Group (ONEIG)

Ontario Nurses for the Environment Interest Group (ONEIG) proudly drives political action on key environmental health issues, including: water protection, environmental justice and climate action. <

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Leadership
Leadership Award in BPG Implementation
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Comella Levers
Comella Levers
Registered nurse , Humber River Hospital

Comella Levers has been a registered nurse for 27 years. She holds a bachelor of science in nursing as well as master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in health-care administration and specialization in gerontology. Comella works at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital as the Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) clinical lead. She completed an RNAO Advanced Clinical Practice Fellowship (ACPF) and has mentored other fellows for the program.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Administration
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Tania Paolini
Tania Paolini
Registered nurse , Perley Health

Tania Paolini is a registered nurse and the manager of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) at The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre (Perley Rideau), the largest long-term care facility in Ottawa.  Tania has always been passionate about working with the frail elderly and quickly jumped at the opportunity to manage the Infection and Prevention and Control program at Perley Rideau in 2016.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic)
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Tammie McParland
Tammie McParland
Nipissing University

Tammie McParland always wanted to teach. Since 2008, she has been an assistant professor in nursing at Nipissing University in North Bay, teaching across all years and several courses in the undergraduate program. She graduated from a hospital diploma program in 1980. In 1994, she completed a BScN, then a master’s degree in nursing with a teaching focus in 2006. She achieved her PhD in education, with specialization in nursing education, in 2015.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Research
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Martine Puts
Martine Puts
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

Martine Puts is an associate professor in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. She loves working with older adults and their families. “I learn so much from working with them,” she says.

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Leadership Award in Political Action
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Mahoganie Hines
Mahoganie Hines
Hospice Niagara

Mahoganie Hines is a palliative pain and symptom management consultant for Hospice Niagara. She is an active member in her community. Currently, she volunteers her time acting as RNAO’s policy and political action executive network officer (ENO) for both the Niagara Chapter and Palliative Care Nurses Interest Group (PCNIG). She also sits on the newly formed national Canadian Palliative Care Nursing Association (CPCNA) as secretary/treasurer.

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Lifetime Achievement Award
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Susan Lepine
Susan Lepine
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Susan Lepine always wanted to be either a nurse or a teacher. Happily, she has been able to combine both. She started her career as a diploma nurse and subsequently obtained a BScN and master’s degree in education. For 47 years, Susan has worked in the NICU setting.

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President’s Award in Clinical Nursing Practice
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Shanna Anness
Shanna Anness
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Care Group

Shanna Anness knew at a very young age that she wanted to make a difference. During her time at Lakehead University, it became apparent that she wanted to devote her life to bettering others’ health through nursing. Shanna currently works for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay. She recently accepted a position as the occupational health coordinator at St. Joseph’s Care Group.

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Lisa De Panfilis
Lisa De Panfilis
Registered nurse , St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Lisa De Panfilis is a master’s prepared registered nurse who works in an outpatient psychiatry clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. She is the vice president of RNAO’s Hamilton Chapter. In this role, she recruits
and mentors nursing students, organizes events and supports government advocacy work.

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Member of the public
Honoured Friend of Nursing Award
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Greta Meekis
Greta Meekis

Booshoo! From Sandy Lake First Nation BPSO (Indigenous Focused). Our team consists of me, Greta Meekis (Team Lead – Child Wellness), Lyndsey Kakepetum (Prenatal Nutrition), and Carmel Meekis (Indigenous doula – Maternal Child Health). 

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Catherine Joan Rae
Catherine Joan Rae

My name is Catherine Joan Rae and I am the health director for Sandy Lake First Nation.  I have worked in the health field for many years.  My goal has been for my home community to have access to the best health care and to lead happy, active and healthy lives. 

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Student (Undergrad)
Student of Distinction
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Huda Mohamed
Huda Mohamed
Western University

As a student who began in a science program at Western University six years ago, Huda Mohamed never thought she would transition into nursing. However, the leap of faith that she took in pursuing this profession has been “one of the best decisions in my life,” she says.

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Education/Mentorship
Award of Merit
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Una Ferguson
Una Ferguson
Royal Ottawa Hospital

Una Ferguson is a veteran RN with more than 52 years of experience. She is also a grandmother of four who enjoys technology, which has led to a loving nickname from her colleagues on the Staff Nurse Interest Group and from her night co-workers: Techno Granny. Ferguson graduated in 1968 from the Ontario Hospital School of Nursing in Kingston. Her long career has taken her overseas, including moves to Europe and India while her husband was in the army.

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HUB Fellowship
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Lhamo Dolkar
Lhamo Dolkar
RN in a post-surgical unit, Unity Health, St. Michael’s Hospital

Lhamo Dolkar has always had a passion for health care. She worked as a homeopathic practitioner and educator in India before coming to Canada in 2009. When she arrived, she enrolled at Toronto’s Ryerson University to become an RN. She says it was good to go back to school because it allowed her to learn about the Canadian system and make life-long connections.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Staff Development)
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Alicia Moonesar
Alicia Moonesar
Nurse Practitioner, Humber River Hospital

Alicia Moonesar says it is thanks to mentors and role models she looked up to as a novice nurse that she was inspired to work in staff development. She currently works as an NP at Humber River Hospital. She also works with staff to make sure they are using evidence-based practice to inform their decision making.

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Leadership Award in Student Mentorship
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Suzanne Fredericks
Suzanne Fredericks
Faculty member

Suzanne Fredericks has been teaching nursing students since 2003. After receiving her BScN from Ryerson University, she immediately started working on her master’s degree at the University of Toronto, followed by her PhD studies. During her first year of the PhD program, she was hired as a tenure track faculty member at Ryerson University.

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Group
Chapter of the Year
Sudbury Chapter

With the largest membership base in its region, and an active executive, RNAO’s Sudbury Chapter owes a lot of its success to persistence and listening to its members.

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Interest Group of the Year
Community Health Nurses’ Initiatives Group (CHNIG)

The Community Health Nurses’ Initiatives Group (CHNIG) prides itself on collaboration, a skill that community health nurses use in their day-to-day practice. The group, which includes over 850 members, has had a busy year with a variety of unique events.

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Promotion of a Nursing Program
Trent/Fleming School of Nursing

An essential goal for Peterborough’s Trent/Fleming School of Nursing is to always prepare nursing students for real-world nursing through evidence-based practice.

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Leadership
Leadership Award in BPG Implementation
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Arlene Masaba
Arlene Masaba
Co-ordinator at the Clinical Simulation Centre, University of Calgary

Arlene Masaba has seen first-hand the way that nursing is a truly global profession. She currently works for the University of Calgary, and is based in Doha, State of Qatar. In her role as co-ordinator at the Clinical Simulation Centre, she helps to train the next generation of nurses by using RNAO’s best practice guidelines (BPG).

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Leadership Award in Nursing Administration
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Esther Moghadam
Esther Moghadam
Chief nursing officer and director of health promotion, Ottawa Public Health

As the chief nursing officer and director of health promotion at Ottawa Public Health, Esther Moghadam sees herself as a change agent who can impact others. “Every leader has to be able to expect and manage change.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic)
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Louela Manankil-Rankin
Louela Manankil-Rankin
Assistant professor , Nipissing University

Louela Manankil-Rankin is a dedicated educator who has worked in nursing education for 20 years. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 1986 and achieved her PhD at McMaster University in 2015.

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Leadership Award in Nursing Research
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Karey McCullough
Karey McCullough
Associate professor

For Karey McCullough, nursing was a calling. After graduating from the University of Ottawa in 1999, she returned to northern Ontario (she is originally from Barry’s Bay) and began working in the emergency department at McKellar Hospital (now Thunder Bay Regional Hospital). Getting hands-on experience, she says, opened her eyes to what nursing is all about.

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Leadership Award in Political Action
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Sepelene Deonarine
Sepelene Deonarine
Outreach diabetes educator

If you have attended RNAO’s Queen’s Park Day or Queen’s Park on the Road (QPOR), you have probably met Sepelene Deonarine, political executive network officer (ENO) for the Durham Northumberland Chapter and the International Nurses Interest Group.

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Lifetime Achievement Award
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Una Ferguson
Una Ferguson
Royal Ottawa Hospital

Una Ferguson is a veteran RN with more than 52 years of experience. She is also a grandmother of four who enjoys technology, which has led to a loving nickname from her colleagues on the Staff Nurse Interest Group and from her night co-workers: Techno Granny. Ferguson graduated in 1968 from the Ontario Hospital School of Nursing in Kingston. Her long career has taken her overseas, including moves to Europe and India while her husband was in the army.

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Vicki McKenna
Vicki McKenna
President, Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA)

For more than 20 years, RN Vicki McKenna has been an activist for nurses, living by the words of her father, who “…would have this mantra…pay attention to what’s happening and help those around you,” she recalls. As the president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) since 2018, and a member of RNAO since 2006, McKenna has done just that.

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President's Award for Leadership in Clinical Nursing Practice
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Salima Ladik
Salima S.J. Ladak
Nurse practitioner, Toronto General Hospital

Salima S.J. Ladak, a nurse practitioner for more than 15 years, believes effective leaders are those who can recognize leadership in others and influence change in a positive way. “True leadership recognizes that everyone has input and…their ideas count,” she says. Ladak, who works as an NP for Toronto General Hospital, provides direct clinical care to patients with complex acute and persistent pain.

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Aric Rankin
Aric Rankin
Primary care NP, De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre

Primary care NP Aric Rankin has always had a passion for working with Indigenous communities. Since traveling to work in isolated northern First Nation communities early in his career, and then working with urban Indigenous communities in Southwestern Ontario as an NP, he has always felt a strong connection to this work. Rankin is pursuing a PhD in nursing with a focus on bridging the gap of health inequity in Canada.

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Student (Undergrad)
Student of Distinction
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Mitchell Martel
Mitchell Martel
Patient care assistant, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care

Mitchell Martel has always had a strong belief that nurses can make a huge difference with their voices. “I’ve come to learn nurses have a strong evidence-based voice that has the power to affect real positive change and help transform the lives of all Canadians and people around the world,” he says. Now a graduate of nursing from Toronto’s York University, Martel has gone out of his way to advocate for issues he feels passionate about.

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