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Human Touch Awards 2019: Tips for writing a successful nomination

jan 10, 2019

CCO Blog Team

Human Touch Awards 2019

Every year, we receive dozens of nominations for the Human Touch Awards, which recognize healthcare professionals and volunteers who go the extra mile to provide compassionate care in Ontario's cancer and kidney care systems.

The Human Touch Awards selection committee then has the difficult but rewarding task of reviewing all of the nominations to select up to 10 recipients.

So, what sets apart the nominations that are ultimately chosen? 

We spoke to Janice Stewart, who has served on the committee for four years, to get her perspective.

Stewart, the operations director at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences cancer program and the Cancer Care Ontario regional director for Toronto Central (North), says highlighting the pattern in a nominee's practice of care is key.

Human Touch Award recipients show exceptional care not just in one instance, but because “they have decided that is the way they are going to practise all the time," she says.

What to include in your nomination

There are three things you can do with your nomination to help spotlight this character, Stewart says.

  1. Include patient or family testimonials, as these stories really highlight the human touch component of an individual’s work. "Colleague and supervisor testimonials are also great and always welcome," she adds. "However, for a nomination to really stand out, hearing from patients and family is key." Having multiple testimonials helps to establish a pattern of care.
  2. Try to articulate exactly how the nominee does more than what would normally be expected of their role. "One of the big things that we always stress is to find someone who is doing something above and beyond what we expect them to be doing in their  role– something that is truly unique," Stewart says.
  3. Review the criteria (found in this nomination guide) closely and include all of the most relevant information possible to support why the nominee makes a great award candidate. 

Other things to consider

While Stewart emphasizes that a lack of "polish" doesn't disqualify a nomination, she says it is important that the package clearly shows how the nominee meets the award criteria. Being too brief may not give the committee enough information to make their assessment.

When preparing the nomination, however, it is also good to consider the amount of time it will take the committee to review it. The time to read through each nomination should be no more than 10-15 minutes.

Ideally, any testimonials should give concrete examples of the care provided or the individual’s way of interacting with patients. If you are a patient or family member submitting a nomination, it may be helpful to connect with the nominee’s healthcare colleagues to see if they can provide support in finding and collecting testimonials.

Best of luck with the nomination. Remember, the application deadline is March 12, so be sure to submit yours soon!

For more information, visit our Human Touch Awards page. If you need additional support in putting together your nomination, please contact

Questions about this blog post? Email us at