Awards of Excellence Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Awards of Excellence who were honored on May 11 during a special ceremony at the P.K. Subban Atrium.
- BMO Professional Staff Award of Excellence: Donna Drury
- Gustav Levinschi Nursing Award of Excellence: Hélène Caron
- National Bank Community Leadership and Volunteer Award of Excellence: Paul Normandin
- Pfizer Research Award of Excellence: Dr. Annette Majnemer
- Sub-Zero and Wolf Medical Award of Excellence: Dr. Stephen Liben
- TD Nicolas W. Matossian Junior Community Award of Excellence: Léa-Marie Filion
- TFI International Administrative and Clinical Support Staff Award of Excellence: Rose Giunti
- MCHF Teamwork Award of Excellence: The Daily Patient Flow Managers team
Some of those who work with her have said of Donna Drury that she is the model that all health professionals should aspire to. While she also teaches and does research, Donna’s first love is clinical work. She thrives on her daily contact with patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and in the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Clinic. “You’re invited into people’s lives at a time when they’re struggling with something that is probably the most painful thing they’ll ever have to deal with.”
As clinical nutritionist, Donna calculates and prescribes intravenous and tube-feeding regimens for very sick children in the PICU and helps improve the quality of life of patients living with Cystic Fibrosis through improved nutrition. Donna says she feels exhilaration at being allowed to help all these families. “Patients must have someone who is competent and up-to-date. But they also must have someone who is kind and who can hear what they need.”
Hélène Caron, nurse clinician, has been working with North American natives for more than 35 years. She started as a nurse in health dispensaries in Cree villages spread over great stretches of taiga and boreal forest, where doctors were available only a few days each month. The rest of the time, while a doctor could always be reached by phone, nurses like Hélène personally tended to patients.
Now working in the Northern and Native Child Health Program at the Montreal Children’s Hospital for the last 14 years, she is the liaison, the lifeline, for the children of the North and their families who travel to Montreal to find acute or complex medical care. “I’m very sensitive to the children of the North. Their needs are so complex. I want them to have all the health services they need.”
Paul Normandin first got involved with the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation a little over 20 years ago, using his professional acumen as a real estate broker to secure some badly-needed, affordable office space for the Foundation. Paul had long wanted to give back to the hospital, having witnessed the wonderful treatment his son had received some years earlier.
In 1999, he took over leadership of Pedal for Kids and guided it through almost 20 years of fundraising. The annual event, now in its 26th year, has raised $11.9 million. “There’s no reason to think we can’t get to $20 million,” says Paul, who stepped down as the event’s chairman in 2009 but continues to raise funds for the Children’s and sit on the MCH Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Annette Majnemer has an impressive résumé: she is an occupational therapist with doctoral training in the neurosciences, a full Professor at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, and the inaugural Vice Dean of Education for the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. She is also a senior scientist in the Child Health and Human Development Program at the Research Institute of the MUHC and she has been continuously funded as a Principal Investigator for the last 27 years.
Thanks to a five-year grant under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), Dr. Majnemer is leading a nationwide collaborative research project called CHILD-BRIGHT. It is a network dedicated to improving life outcomes for children with brain based developmental disabilities, with the aim of providing a better future for those children. “In this case, it’s about bringing children and their parents into the research from the get-go,” she says. “They help prioritize what research areas we should be looking at.”
Dr. Stephen Liben works as an attending physician on the inpatient medical wards of the Montreal Children’s Hospital and in pediatric palliative care, focusing on providing young patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and physical stress of a terminal diagnosis. When he took over the Palliative Care program at the Children’s some 20 years ago, there were few other pediatric palliative care programs in North America. “I kind of had to learn on my own,” he recalls.
Co-editor of the very first textbook on pediatric palliative care, he helped advance this specific field to the recognized specialty it has become in Canada. “Ultimately, being able to do this kind of work — waking up in the morning and being able to say ‘today I’m going to try to reduce suffering’ — just to have that opportunity to try is really a privilege,” says Dr. Liben.
A year and a half ago, Léa-Marie was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia — a rare and dangerous condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells. It leaves the patient feeling very tired and with a higher risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding. Léa-Marie was forced to drop many of the things she loves like cross-country skiing, cycling, and even school.
Léa-Marie underwent drug therapy to keep her immune system from turning on itself, and then had a bone-marrow transplantation. While in hospital one day, Léa-Marie wrote an e-mail to Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation president Marie-Josée Gariépy. “I want to help,” she told her. Marie-Josée quickly responded and, very soon, a fund in Léa-Marie’s name — Fonds LMF — was rolling. About $13,000 later, the fund has already brought support to two families with non-cancerous blood illnesses. “And that’s without our first big fundraising event,” says Léa-Marie. “Imagine when we really get going!”
Rose Giunti’s title is a little deceptive: “administrative agent”. True, she does administrative work in the Volunteer Services office at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. That and so much more: Rose helps recruit, screen, train and orient hundreds of volunteers at the Children’s, ensuring that each goes where they are needed and is able to perform the tasks that will best support our patients, families and staff. She sees to it that our volunteers get all the support they need as well.
And when things get tough, as they so easily can in a hospital that regularly deals with some of the most serious and complex medical issues in pediatric health care, volunteers know they can turn to Rose for guidance, sympathy and encouragement. “I’m blessed that through my work, I am able to make a positive difference in the lives of our patients and families.”
Front row, left to right:
Cindy McCartney, Kelly-Ann Goudreau, Lucy Caron, Dr. Tanya Di Genova, Francine Fortin.
Back row from left to right:
Eric Johnston, Sophie Brisebois, Johanne L'Écuyer, Karina Olivo, Michèle Paquette, Josie Revuelta, Lyne St-Martin, Margaret Ruddy, Leonard Johnston, Lynn Lauzon.
Absent: Christina Duperreault and Stephanie Mann.
Every morning, just after 8:00, Nursing Coordinator Lucy Caron and Patient Flow Medical Director Dr. Tanya Di Genova gather the Daily Patient Flow team members from each of the Children’s eight units and its OR, along with Medical Imaging, Housekeeping and Admitting services. Once assembled, they hold a “bed huddle”. Everyone comes to the huddle with a report from their unit — how many beds they have, how many beds each unit anticipates being available, what lists say about how many patients need to be admitted, what the demands are from the Emergency Department. They have to look at the whole system, because each part impacts all the others. The ultimate goal is, as always, patient safety.
“This is such an awesome team,” says Lucy. “Each member believes in the process. I think that’s the key, believing in it gives everyone an immediate interest in making sure that the process works every time. All these people, behind the scenes – they’re the unsung heroes.”