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2019 Human Touch Awards Recipients

There are many unsung heroes on the front lines of the cancer and kidney care systems. Every day, these wonderful caregivers exhibit extraordinary and compassionate patient care. The Human Touch Awards are one opportunity to recognize their work, and we are honoured to celebrate the recipients of this year’s awards.

Staff Awards

Barb Lather, Program Manager, Thamesview Family Health Team

Picture of Barb Lather

This award is presented posthumously, as Barb Lather passed away in 2018.

As program manager at the Thamesview Family Health Team, Barb Lather was passionate about improving the health of everyone she met.

She led several initiatives to improve the lives of people with cancer. She was the co-creator of a unique Sharing & Caring support group for people living with cancer. She also volunteered as co-facilitator of a group called Master Your Health, which supports people with chronic diseases.

Barb’s dedication to helping others continued even during her own bouts with cancer. During her ongoing battle with cancer, she decided to make a video about her experience to help others as they go through their treatments. Barb’s spirit and commitment to making a difference were strong even as her health worsened.

Her truly inspirational legacy lives on through the Chatham Kent Health Alliance Oncology Gift Basket program, which she co-created with her friend Karen Brodie (who also passed away from cancer). Upon learning of the program, the community began to donate to the initiative and gift baskets are still being delivered to the oncology department today.

Champlain Indigenous Cancer Program, The Ottawa Hospital

Picture of the Champlain Team

The Indigenous Cancer Program at The Ottawa Hospital is a leader in driving system-level change to improve the patient experience of First Nation, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous people living with cancer in the Champlain region.

The team has implemented several initiatives to increase the cultural safety of Indigenous people with cancer. For example, they:

  • developed a navigational video for people from Nunavut receiving cancer care in Ottawa
  • offer ongoing staff education and cultural sensitivity training
  • developed a smudging policy so people with cancer and their family members can practice traditional ceremonies
  • established an Indigenous-specific space within The Ottawa Hospital’s general campus (Windocage Community Room)

The Champlain Indigenous Cancer Program is committed to a person-centred approach that focuses on allowing patients and their families to communicate their needs, priorities and values. The team recognizes the impacts historical and contemporary trauma has had on these communities, and supports traditional Indigenous approaches and methods.


Marsha Butler, Social Worker, Freeman Centre for the Advancement of Palliative Care, North York General Hospital

Picture of Marsha Butler

Marsha Butler has provided exemplary patient- and family-centred care rooted in compassion, kindness and emotional support at North York General Hospital’s (NYGH) Freeman Centre for the Advancement of Palliative Care for many years. She consistently places the needs of patients and families first and takes the time to get to know them and their unique situations. Marsha works with the inpatient inter-professional team and community partners to ensure patients and families are equipped with the knowledge and support needed to make informed choices about their care.

She recently played a pivotal role in developing a unique pilot project at NYGH that helps integrate 4 specially trained volunteers to spend time with and support critically ill patients and their families.

As NYGH serves a diverse patient population, Marsha consistently makes sure the cultural and religious needs of patients and their loved ones are considered. She responds to the diverse emotional and spiritual care needs of patients and families. She also spends considerable time helping to guide patients and families through community supports and resources so they are well equipped during this difficult time.

Volunteer Award

Dr. Michelle Prince, Volunteer, Windsor Regional Hospital Foundations

Picture of Dr. Michelle Prince

This award is presented posthumously, as Michelle Prince passed away in 2018.

Michelle Prince was a dedicated community champion, a well-known chiropractor, a relentless patient advocate, and an active volunteer and mentor.

After Michelle was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2014, she decided to live her journey publicly and selflessly for 5 years, despite enduring over 80 chemotherapy cycles and 3 major surgeries. Michelle’s quest was to instill positivity and have an impact on people by educating and inspiring those around her.

She started a radio talk show called “Taking Charge of your Health” and invited the community to call in with their thoughts and questions.

She also started the Michelle Prince Education and Inspiration Facebook page, and even streamed one of her treatments through Facebook Live. Her goal was to make the experience a little easier for others.

She helped start a program (recently renamed the Dr. Michelle Prince Comfort Care Tote) to welcome patients to the systemic suite with a care package.

Michelle had a light that was so bright and an attitude so positive. Her impact is real and it is lasting. Her legacy remains in the lives she touched and the many she inspired.

Nancy McMillan, Chair of Executive Committee, BRIGHT Run

Picture of Nancy McMillan

Breast cancer survivor Nancy McMillan is chair of the BRIGHT Run, an annual volunteer-operated event that has raised more than $3.5 million for breast cancer research in Hamilton since its inception 11 years ago. BRIGHT Run funds have supported 16 research projects at the Juravinski Hospital Cancer Centre (JHCC), paid for an ultrasound machine at the CIBC Breast Assessment Centre, and will be supporting an Endowed Research Chair. Nancy’s exceptional leadership drives the BRIGHT Run to become better each year. Her enthusiasm and unbounded energy have inspired many volunteers to get involved with this event.

As a prominent member of the breast cancer community, Nancy often acts as a resource at JHCC by explaining the patient experience to medical staff and students. She has facilitated focus groups, bringing together people with breast cancer for research projects.

Nancy was a founding member of the JHCC Patient and Family Advisory Council. As an advisor, Nancy provided the patient perspective on proposed changes to treatment and care, and on other matters of importance to people with cancer and their families.

Staff Awards

Bridget Turner, Satellite Lead Nurse, Health Sciences North

Picture of Bridget Turner

Bridget is a natural leader, team player, teacher and skilled nurse. In her role with the Nephrology Satellite Program at Health Sciences North, she works with the team to arrange all aspects of each person’s dialysis care, including scheduling, transportation and pre-transplant work-ups. She is also responsible for arranging all transient satellite hemodialysis, making sure all units have the appropriate staffing resources.

Staff rely on Bridget’s calm, reasonable and sensible judgment. She confronts issues and challenges with patience, kindness and gentleness.

Thanks to Bridget’s exemplary critical thinking and communication skills, she is an effective liaison between the satellite nurses and the nephrologists. Her clear and concise way of providing information makes the satellite program run smoothly.

Bridget goes well above and beyond the call of duty to make sure her patients in remote areas are not marginalized based on their location or the services they receive. When planning for services, she makes sure that patients receive same-day tests and interventions to prevent unnecessary travel.

Her commitment and spirit lead to better patient outcomes and quality of care.

Dr. Seychelle Yohanna, Transplant Nephrologist, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

Picture of Dr. Seychelle Yohanna

Person-centred care is at the core of everything Dr. Seychelle Yohanna does.

Over the past few years, Seychelle has focused her efforts on improving the experience of living kidney donors at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH).

She worked with a team to improve the living donor program’s website. The website now features a link to by adding a questionnaire that is easy for interested donor candidates to complete. The easier process improved the return-rate by 10% in 1 year and reduced the number of days to screen donor candidates by 50%.

Seychelle also worked with a multidisciplinary team (including diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine and the urology department) to develop a “One-Day Donor Clinic.” Through this program, 4 donors were able to complete their evaluations in one visit rather than the usual 8 to 10 hospital visits.

When Seychelle walks into the room, the mood lightens. Her passion and zest for her work are evident in the way she addresses the nurses and administrative staff. She is always open to feedback as she looks for new and better ways to improve the patient experience throughout the transplant process.

Janice McCallum, Director, Southwest Regional Renal Program, London Health Sciences Centre

Picture of Janice McCallum

Janice McCallum is a key contributor to the Ontario Renal Network. As Regional Director of the Southwest Regional Renal Program and the Director of the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) Renal Program, she has been influential in developing and implementing the Ontario Renal Plan within the Southwest region and promoting person-centred care across the province.

Janice is a strong proponent of person-centred care and truly believes in involving patients in the direction of their own care. She advocates for person-centred care within the LHSC Renal Program for change in healthcare system. She was influential in engaging patients through the development of a Patient and Family Advisory Council. She involved patients in initiatives to improve renal transplantation and home modality options, continuous quality improvement workgroups, hiring panels for recruitment and Program decision-making committees. She is often heard asking “Have you sought the patient’s perspective on that?”

Janice played a key role in putting several renal initiatives into action. These include launching Your Symptoms Matter; integrating the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre into the local practice; creating a new dialysis centre for individuals receiving rehabilitation services; and expanding satellite hemodialysis centres to ensure make sure people get dialysis close to home.

Volunteer Award

Sarah Aly

Picture of Sarah Aly

Sarah Aly goes above and beyond the expectations and responsibilities of a volunteer at The Ottawa Hospital. The people who come to the centre for treatment are Sarah’s number one priority. She is a supportive part of their journey and her presence makes the stress of going through dialysis a little easier. Sarah takes the time to get to know each person’s story and works to accommodate his or her needs. In doing so, Sarah has developed strong relationships with many of these people over the last 2 years.

Sarah also provides translation services to people who speak Arabic. Offering this service helps to better support them to get the services they need.

She trains other volunteers, providing them with her insight and knowledge as they start engaging with people receiving treatment. She also shows enthusiasm and care in her work with people as they receive dialysis treatment. She does more than provide them with warm blankets and drinks – she supports them throughout their stay at the dialysis unit.