Recipients of the President’s Awards shine in advancing St. Joseph’s

Collaborative, dedicated, phenomenal, positive, transparent, respectful, motivating and fabulous. These are just some of the gracious accolades heard throughout the President’s Awards ceremony, which honoured inspiring individuals, a team and a community partner for their efforts in advancing St. Joseph’s roles and values. 

The President’s Awards include the Aspiring Leader Award, Kathy Burrill Leadership in Mission Award, Sandra Letton Quality Award, and the Community Partner of Distinction Award. Meet the 2017 recipients:

The Aspiring Leader Award recognizes an individual who shows significant skill development, demonstrates leadership qualities and has recently risen to a leadership challenge. This year’s recipient is Erin Watson, Coordinator of Specialized Geriatric Services (SGS) at Parkwood Institute. 

Erin Watson

Pictured right: Erin Watson: Winner of the Aspiring Leader Award, Erin Watson, Coordinator of Specialized Geriatric Services at Parkwood Institute.

Erin was identified as an informal leader early in her career, often helping colleagues learn new skills and implementing quality improvement strategies. When provided with leadership opportunities, Erin always jumped in. As the SGS health care undergoing optimization champion, for example, Erin spent endless hours coaching, supporting and leading staff and physicians through the transition. 

Leaders clearly remember Erin’s interview for her role as SGS Coordinator. At the end of the interview, she thanked the panel members but in a unique twist, she handed them a thank you note and read a poem from her very first patient. 

“I thought it would either land me the job, or have me quickly escorted out the door,” said Erin.

Land her the job it did. 

Erin’s team describes her as a hands-on leader who leads by example. She is always “living and breathing our vision of earning complete confidence in our patients, families and staff every day – from her quiet recognition of a staff member’s success, to rounding with patients and families, and her delight in learning from them on how we can do better.”

The Kathy Burrill Leadership in Mission Award celebrates efforts to exemplify and advance St. Joseph’s roles and values as a Catholic, academic and community-oriented health care provider. Recipients are effective change agents and forward-thinkers – the type of leader others want to follow or work in partnership with. This year’s award goes to Julie Gagliardi, Coordinator of Regional Rehabilitation and the Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation Centre. 

Julie Gagliardi

Pictured: Julie Gagliardi: Winner of the Kathy Burrill Leadership in Mission Award, Julie Gagliardi, Coordinator of Regional Rehabilitation and the Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation Centre.

In all she does, Julie upholds the essence of the St. Joseph’s mission. The examples are many, such as Julie’s propensity to motivate her team members with personal and inspirational notes of recognition. She recently initiated a Wordle™ word cloud project so that staff could describe positive aspects they recognize in each other. 

With a leadership style characterized as open, creative, respectful and transparent, Julie encourages her staff to think outside the box and models and encourages continuous learning. Outside the hospital, she has “an unflagging passion for making a difference in the lives of the people we serve – patients, families, colleagues, and the community,” says clinical nurse Jean Sommerdyk. 

In her free time, Julie regularly leads and participates in fundraising activities, including rallying more than 50 colleagues and their loved ones to run in an international event in Niagara Falls to raise funds for spinal cord injury research. She has participated in the Big Bike for Heart and Stroke for more than a decade, led a team in Bust-a-Move for Breast Health, participates in 7 am Saturday yard sale fundraisers, and always contributes to bake sales to raise money for patients’ needs. 

“Julie is a remarkable leader who truly personifies the qualities of the individual for which the Kathy Burrill Leadership in Mission Award was created,” says Jean. 

The Sandra Letton Quality Award recognizes a St. Joseph’s team who has made an outstanding contribution toward improvement in quality patient care. The recipient raises the level of awareness and shares examples of their excellent work within our organization and far beyond. Most importantly, this award recipient contributes to an overall culture of quality at St. Joseph’s. This year’s recipient is the Primary Care Diabetes Support Program.

Staff members of the Primary Care Diabetes Support Program

Pictured above: Primary Care Diabetes Support Program staff smile with their Sandra Letton Quality Award in front of St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre.

In an effort to reduce diabetes-related amputations caused by foot ulcers, the Primary Care Diabetes Support Program (PCDSP) team has developed a standardized screening, assessment and referral tool called the “Harmonized Diabetic Foot Ulcer Risk Stratification and Referral Algorithm.” The tool is fast, simple and reliable. It allows clinicians to quickly look for red flags before foot ulcers develop so that referrals can be made for preventative care, education can be provided to the patient, and close monitoring can be initiated. 

It is now being used by the PCDSP, located at St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre (FMDC), where it has led to 50 per cent more patients being screened and a 10 per cent increase in patients being identified with diabetic foot complications who would have otherwise been missed. The goal is to introduce the tool to family physicians at the FMDC and across the city and provide training on its use.

The Community Partner of Distinction Award honours a group or organization that makes a significant contribution to the health and well-being of individuals and our community as a whole. They have stepped up to collaborate with us – and we with them – an effort to improve patient care outcomes and the overall patient care experience. This year’s recipient is St. Leonard’s Community Services, London and Region (SLCS). 

St. Leonard's Community Services, London and Region

Above: Staff at St. Leonard’s Community Services, London and Region pose together with their Community Partner of Distinction Award.

 At SLCS, extraordinary efforts reach far.  The organization was selected by St. Joseph’s as the Community Partner of Distinction for their mutual purpose in promoting positive change for individuals who have been in conflict with the law. 

“The SLCS team’s knowledge and experience working within the justice system, their trained staff and their compassion and sensitivity to the challenging life trajectories of our patients have and continues to feed the success of this collaboration,” says Janice Vandervooren, Director of Forensic Psychiatry Program at Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care.

Patients who would have traditionally remained in hospital for much longer are now able to transition to community living sooner. This partnership has been presented nationally to share learning and successes. 

“Our program is evidence that a small group of people that believe can make a difference in other’s lives,” said Heather Lumley, Executive Director, SLCS.

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