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. She is certified in vascular access from the Canadian Vascular Access Association. Shelly is also actively involved in community organizations. She is a member of the Community Advisory Committee for EpLink, the Epilepsy program of the Ontario Brain Institute. She is also a board member for Epilepsy Ontario, and acts as a data review committee member for the Ontario Brain Institute. Shelly is the executive director and founder of the Ontario Black Nurses’ Network (OBNN). This not-for-profit organization has been instrumental in strengthening the voices of Black nurses and nursing students in various health-care forums.  

The Award of Merit goes to an RN or NP who has made outstanding contributions to RNAO and the nursing profession in Ontario. This resourceful individual is a change-maker, advocating for, promoting and initiating changes to improve healthy public policy through RNAO initiatives. This person serves as a resource and mentor contributing to and enhancing the role of the RN/NP in Ontario.