Embodying excellence, living our mission

2017 Excellence in Professional Practice Awards and Bursaries

She was described as selfless and a “warrior“ for the most vulnerable with exceptional clinical practice and a “complete sense” of what it means to value empathy. Her name is Cathy Okolisan. 

Such sentiments of inspiration and examples of distinction in patient care were the overarching themes at St. Joseph’s Professional Practice Excellence Awards Ceremony on June 13. An expansion to St. Joseph’s previous Nursing Awards, the Excellence in Professional Practice Awards were established this year as a way to recognize both nursing and other allied health discipline staff who are at the heart of patient and resident care at St. Joseph’s. 

Recipients are nominated by their peers or their leaders for their efforts in demonstrating excellence in clinical practice, leadership, teaching and coaching or innovation and evidence based care. 

“Providing exceptional patient care is best achieved with an interprofessional team and so it is fitting that the new awards program acknowledges many health care disciplines and the excellence they bring to professional practice,” remarked Karen Perkin, St. Joseph’s Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive. “These recipients are being recognized for their passion of practice and for exemplifying the mission, vision and values of our organization.”

The ceremony also included 13 bursaries awarded to support professional practice staff in their studies, made possible through generous donations to St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. 

The glowing introduction of Cathy was made by Kendal Cushman, who nominated his nursing colleague. All recipients were similarly honoured and celebrated:


Suzie Hettinga, Registered Nurse, Urgent Care Centre

Excellence in Clinical Practice Award - Acute Ambulatory Care 

“Suzie has always exhibited what it means to be a caring and compassionate nurse. She is the embodiment of St. Joseph’s mission; to pursue excellence in care for the psychological, social and spiritual needs of our patients.” 
– Nominator, Suzanne Dubeau

Cathy OkolisanExcellence in Clinical Practice Award- Rehabilitation and Geriatrics

Cathy Okolisan, Registered Practical Nurse, Mount Hope

“Patient centred focus is Cathy’s concrete strength.” – Nominator, Kendal Cushman



Dr. Jason CarrExcellence in Clinical Practice Award- Complex Care, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics

Dr. Jason Carr, Psychologist, Veteran’s Care Program

“Jason provides excellent care to every patient and views them holistically…he works collaboratively with the team, accessing psychiatry, social work, nursing and spiritual care resources.” – Nominator,  Carolyn McKay-Salvador


Excellence in Clinical Practice Award- Mental Health

Tanya Goertz, Occupational Therapist, Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care

‘Through her knowledge, skill set and clinical judgment, Tanya assists the team in developing in-depth care plans, ending with stakeholder collaboration to ensure safe and successful patient discharge back into the community.” 

– Nominator, Lindsay Culford

Stephanie Cornell

Excellence in Leadership Award

Stephanie Cornell, Physiotherapist, Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program

“Stephanie encourages innovation, knowledge translation and collaboration every day to ensure evidence based practice…she is a role model for her colleagues and patients at Parkwood Institute and within the community.” 

– Nominator, Shannon Walters.

Shrikant Chinchalkar

Excellence in Teaching and Coaching Award

Shrikant Chinchalkar, Occupational Therapist, Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Clinic

“Shrikant has trained each and every member of our hand therapy team and, essentially, a generation of hand therapists, to provide the best evidence based care in the world to the patients we serve.” - Nominator, Joey Pipicelli




Excellence in Innovation and Evidence-Based Care Award

Christina Seely, Food and Nutrition Services

“Christina is a strong advocate, ensuring patients have the right nutrition to aid them in their recovery and ultimately, in their quest to live fully.”

 – Nominator, Doreen Dentrey



Bursary recipients back row from L; Kerry Dewatcher, Lisa Gingerich, David Ure, Tina Ranta. Front row: Mina Rashidy, Angelita Seneres, Shelby Bernard, Kristen Johnston, Evelyn Bealo

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