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Congratulations to winners of the 2016 President’s Awards
7 minute read

Congratulations to winners of the 2016 President’s Awards


This year, there were 21 nominations for the President's Award with nominations coming from areas across SickKids, including clinical, administration, research and learning. Four individuals and one team received this year's awards!

The President's Award was introduced at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) five years ago to recognize staff who demonstrate superior leadership and collaboration resulting in major contributions to the organization. These include excellence in innovation, design, delivery and operation of key strategic initiatives, programs or services across the organization.

Winners of the 2016 President's Awards (from left to right): Jeanine Tuitt, Yoon Park, Dr. Jennifer Crosbie, Laura Nash, David Willis (behind), Karen Sappleton, Rodolfo De Guia, Janet Ahier and Dr. Lisa Pell with Mike Apkon, President and CEO.

The President's Award evolved last year to integrate the Humanitarian Awards, which were initiated by the SickKids Foundation in 1991. Since 2015, the President's Awards have recognized SickKids staff, teams, students and/or volunteers at all levels of the organization who have made an outstanding contribution to the hospital.

Recipients of the award are nominated by their colleagues. This year, there were 21 nominations for the President's Award with nominations coming from areas across SickKids, including clinical, administration, research and learning. Four individuals and one team received this year's awards!

The recipients were presented with their awards by Dr. Michael Apkon, President and CEO, at the annual Celebration of Excellence on Dec. 15.

Award recipients

Dr. Lisa Pell

Dr. Lisa Pell, Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Global Child Health, is being recognized under the category Innovating to Drive Impact for her work both locally and globally. Pell has been recognized for her leadership in both research and education, specifically saving lives of newborns in remote areas and training the next generation of Global Health professionals.

Pell played a leading role in trialing an innovative, evidence based newborn survival kit and worked tirelessly to deliver the kit to women during pregnancy in remote locations in Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh. She also co-developed data collection systems to scientifically evaluate the impact of the intervention. She is always first to volunteer for an international trip, despite the risks and sometimes difficult conditions they involve.

Pell has also demonstrated a commitment to innovation in her role as Program Director for the Centre for Global Child Health Fellowship. Under her guidance and direction, this fellowship program has developed new approaches to education including training a diverse range of students from medicine, nursing, and health related sciences and bringing an evidence based approach to evaluation and growth of the program. Pell's colleagues admire her passion, drive and commitment to excellence.

Mental Health Access Program (MHAP)

Members of the MHAP team, including Dr. Jennifer Crosbie, David Willis, Jeanine Tuitt, Yoon Park and Laura Nash are recognized for the implementation of the Mental Health Access Program in the category of Improving Quality and Safety.

The program, launched in January 2015, has significantly improved access, accountability, transparency and effectiveness in Psychiatry. With the creation of MHAP, all services in Psychiatry are now accessed through one point of contact. While the service appears simple, the development, implementation and monitoring of this process is incredibly intricate and complex. The team achieved exceptional results in its first year, processing over 1800 referrals. The team has demonstrated a measurable improvement on wait times with a reduction from up to 12 months wait time to as low as four to six weeks, with an average of three months overall.

The success and impact of MHAP, specifically its incorporation of RedCAP, has been noted by other mental health institutions, such as The Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. In its relatively short time in existence, MHAP has clearly and consistently demonstrated improvements in equitable, timely access and as such, has advanced service excellence. Patients, families, trainees and staff, have been very responsive and appreciative of the seamlessness, knowledge, proficiency, professionalism and compassion demonstrated by the MHAP team.

Janet Ahier

Janet Ahier, NP, Orthopaedics has been awarded under the category Improving Quality and Safety. Ahier has been a nurse at SickKids since 1987 and during that time has both led and contributed to many quality improvement projects, safety initiatives and developments in child and family-centred care.

Ahier is congratulated for her work developing a clinical pathway to improve care and reduce length of stay for spine patients by streamlining the process and associated education. As a recognized expert in orthopaedic nursing, she has been invited to present internationally, deliver guest lectures and co-author a book chapter on her specialty. Ahier also assisted in authoring the AboutKidsHealth scoliosis resources.

Ahier is the founder and Chair of the Orthopaedic Quality Management Committee, helped to develop and teach the Orthopaedic curriculum for SickKids International's project in Qatar and is currently assisting with the creation of a new Nurse Practitioner role at Holland Bloorview, representing SickKids. Ahier's commitment to her specialty and drive to continue making improvements is an inspiration to her colleagues.

Rodolfo De Guia

Nominated by his nursing colleagues under the category Commitment to Compassion, Rodolfo De Guia, Patient Service Aide, is honoured for his daily contributions to the hospital and the selflessness with which he approaches his role.

De Guia has been an invaluable member of the Housekeeping team for many years. He goes out of his way to greet everyone he sees on the unit, welcome new faces and support other staff, especially through periods of high turnover.

De Guia's commitment to child and family centred care is seen in the way he manages his time so patients can get more rest with fewer interruptions, the urgency he displays when cleaning a room for a new patient and by providing his colleagues with the tools they need to do their jobs. His positive attitude is inspiring to others as he goes above and beyond each and every day.

Karen Sappleton

Karen Sappleton, Senior Manager of Child and Family-Centred Care & Health Equity in the Centre for Innovation & Excellence in Child and Family-Centred Care, is awarded under the category of Empowering People.

Sappleton has worked diligently with the Interpreter Services team to promote the utilization of their services for families with limited English proficiency and has established processes and relationships with the Toronto District School Board and teachers at SickKids to ensure children who are hospitalized continue to receive quality education. Sappleton has been able to drive these types of organizational changes because of the strength she has built in her teams and the way in which she empowers people. She is a role model for staff and has an authentic leadership style that has a positive impact on staff, peers, patients and families alike. Sappleton is tireless in her efforts to recruit and onboard Family Advisors and empowering them to feel comfortable participating in committees, expressing their opinions and leading initiatives focusing on the advancement of child and family-centred care.

Although Sappleton manages three completely different areas with an inter-professional team representing a variety of disciplines with a diversity of competencies and backgrounds, she does this with skill and grace. Under her leadership, this diverse group shifted from working in silos - each department with a different goal - to being part of a larger force, a community of champions with unique strengths working in sync to create lasting organizational change.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 President’s Awards!

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