Scholarships and Grants Winners

2021 Scholarships and Grants Winners

Emily Belita

NRIG RESEARCH GRANT (Novice Researcher)

Emily Belita

Emily Belita is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Nursing at McMaster University and the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Emily has experience working as a public health nurse (PHN) in the areas of chronic disease prevention and school health. Her research interests include evidence-informed decision-making and knowledge translation in the context of public health and exploring the critical roles and impact of PHNs as leaders in protecting and promoting the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and populations. Emily is currently leading a multiple-case study to explore the context, roles, and impact of PHNs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario to help inform strategic decision-making and planning for the public health system.

Andrea Rochon

NRIG Research Grant (PhD Student)

Andrea Rochon

Andrea is currently in her fourth year of the PhD in the School of Nursing at Queen’s University. Andrea has worked in various clinical settings in acute care, gerontology, and health systems capacity planning. She is passionate about teaching and has worked as a clinical instructor for over 10 years. Andrea has worked as a research assistant on numerous projects, most recently with Canadian Blood Services. Her research interests include care of the older person, frailty, polypharmacy, medication safety, patient safety, teamwork, interprofessional collaboration, burnout and compassion fatigue, and health services research.

Joyce Tsui

NRIG Graduate Scholarship Winner

Joyce Tsui

Joyce Tsui is a first-year Ph.D. student at York University with a research focus on Accessible Learning Accommodation in Nursing Education.  While furthering her studies, Joyce continues to work as a faculty member with the Collaborative BScN program at Centennial College.  Joyce values lifelong learning and the opportunity to support/mentor nursing students.  She would like to integrate her research findings to contribute to institutional policy and develop a research portfolio in accessible accommodation in nursing and nursing education.

Caroline Variath

NRIG Graduate Scholarship Winner

Caroline Variath

Caroline Variath is a PhD candidate at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. The challenges she encountered to provide a peaceful death in acute and critical care settings, especially to those with loss of decision-making capacity, made her passionate about improving end-of-life care. Her PhD thesis focuses on experiences with the loss of capacity to consent and access to medical assistance in dying in Canada. Through her work, she aims to normalize the concept of death and to improve end-of-life care planning and the experiences of the patients, their family members and healthcare providers with death.

Angel (He) Wang

NRIG Innovation Award

Angel (He) Wang

Angel Wang is a Clinical Resource Leader at a community hospital located in Toronto, Ontario. She is an advanced practice nurse with a Master’s degree in Nursing in the thesis stream from Ryerson University. She previously worked as a nursing supervisor and as a Registered Nurse in acute care. Angel’s research interests lie in three broad themes: dementia care; nursing leadership and work environments; and the use of novel approaches to enhance learner outcomes and learning in nursing education.

Lin Li


Lin Li

Lin Li is a PhD student in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She also works as an RN at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Her experiences working with children and youth with medical complexity has led her to pursue research aimed at improving health and quality of life for these children, youth, and their families. Her doctoral work focuses on supporting the transition to adulthood and transfer to adult services for youth with medical complexity and their families.

Genevieve Armstrong

New NRIG Members

Genevieve Armstrong

Genevieve Armstrong is a second-year PhD student, collaborative in nursing and global health, at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. She has worked in various roles in tuberculosis (TB) care in public health practice for over 10 years. Genevieve has contributed to TB care nationally and internationally working in the TB Program in Iqaluit, Nunavut as a Public Health Nurse and in Barcelona, Spain as the Principal Investigator for a TB Photovoice research study. Her PhD thesis focuses on the experiences of migrants who have a precarious immigration status and are affected by TB.

Paige Gehrke

New NRIG Members

Paige Gehrke

Paige Gehrke is registered nurse, and a Masters of Science (Thesis) student in the School of Nursing student at McMaster University. The majority of her clinical practice experience is situated in critical care, which has driven her interest to pursue research in this field. Her thesis research will explore ICU nurses’ responses to moral distress experienced in their professional practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, with aims of describing their desired organizational interventions to prevent or manage moral distress.

Tristen Brown

Undergraduate Award

Tristen J. Brown

Tristen J. Brown is a fourth year BScN student at Ryerson University. He is employed at Ryerson as a Research Assistant (RA), and at Mount Sinai Hospital as a Clinical Extern. Tristen is passionate about research. He is currently an RA for an Immigrant, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) funded project, as well as a mixed methods COVID-19 study on the experiences of nursing leaders. He is also currently researching the effectiveness of community health workers filling gaps of service in Canada’s primary health care system.

Nida Shamsi

Undergraduate Award

Nida Shamsi

Nida Shamsi is a BScN student entering her second year at the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson University. She holds a prior Honors Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. Nida is interested in oncology nursing research, with a focus in women’s health within the South-Asian community. Nida will utilize this award to help further her research pursuits in oncology nursing. Nida is excited to be joining Lakeridge Health this summer as a Clinical Extern.

Past Scholarships and Grants Winners


Summer Haddad - Research Grant 2020

NRIG Research Grant Recipient

Summer Haddad

Summer Haddad is a PhD student at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. As a registered nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), her clinical experience and research interests have focused on how to best support families of preterm infants during the NICU hospitalization and following discharge home. Her doctoral study will characterize sleep and factors affecting sleep for parents of preterm infants during hospitalization and following discharge, and make comparisons to parents of healthy, term infants. This multi-site, longitudinal study will be the first to examine sleep in parents of preterm infants in Canada.

Aric Rankin - Graduate Scholarship 1 - 2020

NRIG Graduate Scholarship Winner

Aric Rankin

Aric Rankin is a settler Canadian who lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosauonee peoples. Aric is a Nurse Practitioner who works at De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre and specializes in primary care and chronic disease management. Aric has a passion for working with marginalized populations, which has led him to work in isolated northern Ontario First Nation communities as well as volunteer with other communities around the world, including Fiji, Australia, Haiti and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Aric is an ally to Indigenous communities and an active member of the Nursing profession. Aric is a volunteer with the Canadian Medical Assistance Teams, past board member of the Register Nurses Association of Ontario and regular attendee of the International Council of Nurse quadrennial conferences. These experiences have driven Aric’s interest to continue his educational journey completing his Nurse Practitioner Primary Health Care certificate, Masters in Nursing and currently his PhD in Nursing with a focus on Indigenous health. Aric's doctoral research will help to bridge the health and social inequity gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Aric is married to an incredible supportive and beautiful wife and is a proud father of three (soon to be four) adorable children.

Yehudis Stokes - Graduate Scholarship 2 2020

NRIG Graduate Scholarship Winner

Yehudis Stokes

Yehudis is a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa with a research focus on implementing trauma-informed care in practice. While furthering her studies, Yehudis continues as RN at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, currently with the Child and Youth Protection team. Yehudis intends to continue her path in the future as a clinician scientist, integrating research and academia directly and indirectly with clinical practice. She also hopes to incorporate her art therapy education and experience with her nursing research and practice.

Lin Li

RNFOO NRIG Award Winner

Lin Li

Lin Li is a PhD student in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She also works as an RN at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Her experiences working with children and youth with medical complexity has led her to pursue research aimed at improving health and quality of life for these children, youth, and their families. Her doctoral work focuses on supporting the transition to adulthood and transfer to adult services for youth with medical complexity and their families.

Hilary Hwu - Conference Grant 2020

NRIG Conference Grant Recipient

Hilary Hwu

Hilary Hwu is a keen novice researcher who is currently entering her final year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Ryerson University. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at McGill University, she is keen to pursue further education and academic research experience to explore and help mitigate global health inequity. Her work on a research team who spent three months abroad in Brazil researching obstetric violence and the humanization of childbirth led her to represent the team at the NETNEP 8th International Nurse Education Conference in Spain for two submitted abstracts. Upon completing her BScN degree, Hilary plans to explore her interest in maternal-child nursing, pursue a Masters degree, and a career in nursing research.

Caroline Variath - New Member 1 - 2020

NRIG - New NRIG Member Award

Caroline Variath

Caroline Variath is a second-year PhD student, collaborative in nursing and bioethics, at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. She has worked clinically in acute and critical care settings for over 16 years and continues to practice. More recently, she joined a team that provides medical assistance in dying. The challenges she encounters in her practice, to provide a peaceful death, especially to those with loss of decision-making capacity, made her passionate about improving end-of-life care. Through her work, she aims to normalize the concept of death, and to improve end-of-life care planning and the experiences of the patients, their family members and healthcare providers with death. Her Ph thesis focuses on experiences with the loss of capacity to consent and access to medical assistance in dying in Canada.

Lauren Howorth - New Member 2 - 2020

NRIG - New NRIG Member Award

Lauren Howorth

Lauren Howorth is a first year Master of Nursing student at McMaster University. Lauren currently works as a Registered Nurse in the outpatient clinics at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre. In her clinical practice, she has witnessed some of the additional challenges faced by older adults receiving cancer care, particularly those with multiple chronic conditions or those who are caregivers. In her thesis work, supervised by Dr. Denise Bryant-Lukosius, Lauren will be exploring the experiences of self-management in older adults receiving outpatient cancer care. She hopes that this research will help inform nursing practices that will better support this population through their cancer journey.

Andrea Fulton - New Member 3 - 2020

NRIG - New NRIG Member Award

Andrea Fulton

Andrea is a NICU nurse at McMaster Children’s Hospital and is passionate about neonatal nursing and her work in the community setting with technology-dependent children. She is thrilled to be a member of the NRIG community and a recipient of this award. Currently, Andrea is completing a thesis-based Master’s of Nursing at McMaster University. While her thesis is in its early stages of development, it will focus on families with technology-dependent children and their experiences using the Family-Managed Care model. Andrea is determined to produce ethically sound and valid research relevant to the nursing field. She hopes to further her studies in the future and become a CNS, to contribute to defining the role of CNS’s in the practice setting and be the link between scholarly research and the application of such in the clinical setting.

Shirin Vellani - New Member 4 - 2020

NRIG - New NRIG Member Award

Shirin Vellani

Shirin Vellani is a Nurse Practitioner, who has experience working in a variety of specialized geriatric services programs. She is a third-year student in a collaborative PhD program in Nursing Science and Aging, Palliative, and Supportive Care at the University of Toronto. She is exploring the integration of a palliative approach in the care of older adults with dementia in primary care settings. Particularly, she plans to implement a tailored advance care planning intervention, called Voice Your Values, in persons with early stages of dementia. She is also working as a RA for her PhD supervisor, Dr. Kathy McGilton at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and as a TA at the Faculty of Nursing.

She is originally from Karachi, Pakistan where she did her Diploma in Nursing and Post RN BScN programs from the Aga Khan University Hospital. She moved to Canada in 2003 and enjoyed working in Critical Care Units at Mount Sinai and Sunny Brook Hospitals. She completed her master’s in nursing-Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Nursing in 2009 with a focus on care for older adults and has since been working in a variety of settings with older adults and thoroughly enjoys it.

Melianie Marques - Student 1

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Melanie Marques

Melanie Marques is in the process of obtaining her Registered Nurse Licensure through the 2nd Entry Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at York University.  She also holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology and Human Biology.  Melanie is interested in paediatric nursing with a focus in neonatal care.  From the start of her undergraduate nursing career, she has been able to acknowledge and understand the critical role nursing research plays in improving patient care.  She is committed to continuously using nursing research as the basis for improving clinical best practices that provide up-to-date, quality therapeutic care.  Melanie will utilize this award to help further her pursuit in using nursing research to sustain positive patient health outcomes for all.

Dhruvika Joshi - Student 2

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Dhruvika Joshi

Dhruvika Joshi is a fourth year student at Trent University, School of Nursing. Her research interests include women’s health, paediatrics, mental health, knowledge translation, nutrition, emergency preparedness, and the use of technology in nursing education. Recently, Dhruvika has completed a research project at her local hospital, which involved examining the healthcare journey of patients admitted to the inpatient mental health unit and understanding their experiences with staff and services

Sarah Mazzarello - Student 3

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Sasha Mazzarello

Sasha Mazzarello is a second-year student in the compressed BScN program at the University of Toronto. She completed her BSc in Biomedical Science (2013) at the University of Ottawa and was a Clinical Research Coordinator at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre for six years. In this role, Sasha coordinated a national multi-centre pragmatic clinical trials program and led numerous projects using systematic review methodology to improve health outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients. In 2018 she completed her MSc in Epidemiology (University of Ottawa) and her thesis examined risk factors for failure to rescue in myocardial infarction after non-cardiac surgery. As a Research Assistant at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, Sasha worked on exploring commercial determinants of health and their impact on the delivery of health services, health evidence, and consumer health information. Sasha is currently volunteering with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement at The Hospital for Sick Children to assess and evaluate challenges with disposable medical/surgical supplies that result in potentially harmful events for pediatric patients.

Ashwini Veerasuntharam - Student 4

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Ashwini Veerasuntharam

Ashwini Veerasuntharam is a third-year student in the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson University. Working as a research assistant during her second year in the program gave her the opportunity to explore a unique aspect of nursing. She hopes to incorporate nursing research into practice and find creative ways to educate nurses and nursing students on the pivotal role evidence-based research plays in healthcare. A few of Ashwini’s research interests include social stigma nurses face globally as well as health disparities in developing countries.

Adriana Congi - Student 5

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Adriana Congi

I am a fourth-year nursing student from the University of Windsor (collaboration program with St. Clair College), from Windsor, Ontario. I have a previous degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Ottawa. I am currently working as a Student Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Windsor Regional Hospital to help the hospital during the COVID19 pandemic. I am a nursing Peer Tutor assisting students with nursing theory courses and teaching key health assessment nursing skills. I am also a CPR and First Aid instructor in my community. My professional goals include training to work as a critical care nurse and earning a Master’s degree in Nursing.

Paula Utomi - Student 6

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Paula Utomi

Paula Utomi is a BScN student entering her second year at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. Paula cares about inter-professional collaboration, narrative- based healthcare, and mindfulness practices, and is pursuing the Health Arts & Humanities certificate program with the University of Toronto’s Centre for Interprofessional Education. Paula’s other interests include public health, the environmental determinants of health, and the application of evidence- based complementary therapies in nursing practice.

Lara Cooper-Cook - Student 7

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Lara Cooper-Cook

Lara Cooper is an undergraduate student at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. Combining her previous research experience in neuropsychology and career as a case manager, her primary interests have centered around improving the quality of life of older adults living in the community. Under the mentorship of Dr. Charlene Chu, she has focused her most recent work on assisting in the design of innovative technology that aims to improve the physical and cognitive function of older adults who are living in long term care residences. Her future goals are to pursue graduate work that will contribute to research in the field of nursing and gerontology. In her spare time, she enjoys surfing, hiking, and cooking with friends and family.

Jeffery Chow - Student 8

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Jeffrey Chow

Jeffrey is a full-time BScN student in the Scholar Practitioner Program at Nipissing University. He completed his MSc in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario and currently works as a clinical research project coordinator at the Hospital for Sick Children. As a new member of the Nursing Research Interest Group, he is excited to continue learning about how clinical care and research knowledge are integrated in the nursing discipline. His discussion paper explored the interwoven dichotomy of nursing research, which systematically inquires into how nursing care can best be provided to patients from both relational and scientific perspectives.

Ina Samson - Student 9

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Ina Samson

Ina Samson is a Bachelor of Nursing student entering her fourth year in the University of New Brunswick-Humber College Collaborative program. She has conducted research about caregiver burden in caregivers of older persons and adults with disabilities with a non-profit organization in Toronto. She aspires to pursue areas of nursing related to research and clinical education.

Celia Cassiani - Student 10

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Celia Cassiani

Celia is entering her second and final year in the University of Toronto’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University and an MSc in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto. From there she worked in the iOuch Pain lab under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Stinson where her work included coordinating studies focused on peer mentoring in the e-health context for children with cancer, sickle cell disease and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She also worked on a smartphone app for pain management for children with cancer. Celia was inspired by Dr. Stinson and decided to pursue nursing where she would like to connect both clinical work and research within the area of pediatrics and self-management in the future.

Sucy Kong - Student 11

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Sucy Kong

My name is Sucy Kong and I have recently graduated from Ryerson with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. My placement consolidation was at North York General Hospital in the year-long Nursing Capacity Initiative program, which is a nursing resource team for acute units such as the ICU, ER, and Cardiology.

As a new graduate nurse, I am always searching for and reading peer-reviewed articles relevant to my practice setting and applying research findings to my clinical practice. During my time in the ICU, I conducted a literature review to research common abnormalities in the ICU, how to detect them, and how to manage/treat them. I am also a research assistant at Toronto General Hospital with an osteoporosis clinical study. I would love to participate in other research opportunities in the future!

Lana Gagnon - Student 12

NRIG - Undergraduate Award

Lana Gagnon

I am an Honours Kinesiology alumni student from Western University and am currently in my last semester of the accelerated Honours Bachelor of Science in Nursing at York University. I am from a small town up north called Timmins, ON and have now lived in Toronto for the past 6 years. I enjoy keeping active, traveling the world, and spending time with friends and family. Being a fourth generation Aboriginal girl, my long-term goals include becoming successfully registered as a Registered Nurse and working within the healthcare system to help Aboriginal individuals in healing and regaining good health.


Orr Picture

NRIG Research Grant Recipient

Elizabeth Orr

Elizabeth Orr is a PhD student in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She has also worked with critically ill newborns and their families for over 10 years in the NICU at Sick Kids. Through her clinical work, Elizabeth developed a passion for seeking innovative ways that nursing care can be delivered to achieve the best possible outcomes for this special population. Her thesis research explores the transition-home experiences of young mothers with infants discharged from the NICU.



NRIG Research Grant Recipient

Jennifer Howard

Jennifer Howard is a third year PhD student at Western University, School of Nursing.  The population she is currently researching is women with MS. This was inspired by several years of working as an infusion nurse administering biological therapies for people with MS.  Her doctoral work is aiming to further our knowledge and understanding of the health and well-being for women with MS.  This approach aligns with the World Health Organization’s definition of health and helps ameliorate the historical gap in research for women’s health needs for various medical conditions.  Jennifer will be analyzing for trends with this population to help determine what makes this population healthy, or conversely unhealthy from their own perspective.  Jennifer is hoping to pursue a career in nursing research with a focus on neurodegenerative disorders with the inclusion of an arts-based lens.  In her spare time Jennifer is a semi-professional visual artist and her work has been featured and published throughout Southwestern Ontario in galleries, online and in advertisements.  She has also had her work featured with CBC Arts and has worked as an art director for a Canadian music festival.  Jennifer currently volunteers as the acting Chair for The Arts Collective, a federally registered non-profit organization she co-founded. The Arts Collective helps new, emerging and at-risk artists display their creative works free of charge.


Charlene Chu headshot

NRIG New Member Award

Charlene Chu

Dr. Charlene Chu is an Assistant Professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, and an Affiliate Scientist at KITE Toronto Rehab at the University Health Network. She is also cross-appointment (status only) with the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work’s Institute for Life Course & Aging at the University of Toronto.  As a Registered Nurse with 12 years of experience working with older adults across the health spectrum, Dr. Chu’s primary area of research is in designing interventions that support the mobility and daily function of older adults in post-acute care settings (e.g. long-term care, rehabilitation, community). The major focuses are:
person-centred interventions; co-designing and evaluating innovative technology that is translatable into practice; and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in patient care.

Her research to develop technology for older adults has been funded by the Canadian Nurses Foundation; Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Canadian Partnerships for Stroke Research, Centre for Brain + Health Innovation, and AGE-WELL Strategic Investment Program. She currently holds funding from Women’s College Hospital to design an exergaming system for older women living in long-term care. She has experience in health based technologies for clinicians, as well as developing technology for older adults in LTC to support their mobility and cognitive function.

As a steering committee member of The Consortium of Professional Nursing Practice in LTC and the Worldwide Elements To Harmonize Research In long-term care liVing Environments (WE-THRIVE) to support the use of common data elements in long-term care and support person-centred care globally. Notably, Dr. Chu has authored and co-authored 36 peer-reviewed full manuscripts focused on interventions for older adults, advancing gerontological nursing practice, or developing international clinical guidelines to support care

Jessica Pimienta Photo

NRIG New Member Award

Jessica Pimienta

Jessica Pimienta is a Registered Nurse in the Family Birthing Centre at Michael Garron Hospital. Currently she is pursuing her Master of Nursing at Ryerson University, specializing in the field of Leadership in Healthcare Policy and Education. Her thesis work ethnographically examines perinatal health care for recent immigrant women during the three-month OHIP waiting period, and has the potential to influence Ontario’s health policies. Jessica aspires to contribute to the growing body of literature related to the intersections of women’s health, immigration, and pregnancy.




NRIG New Member Award

Franklin Gorospe

I am currently a first year PhD student at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. I completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees in nursing. The focus of my doctoral research interest is on pain and associated factors in patients with liver disease. Direct patient care is a significant aspect of my professional and personal life. I have been working clinically on the surgical aspect of the liver disease continuum for over 12 years. My motivation to be in this area stems from the pain and associated symptoms that my brother experiences. My passion rests on helping patients like my brother live comfortable and meaningful lives. During my doctoral studies, I will investigate the pain and factors that contribute to that pain that patients with liver disease experience. The significance of these findings will help develop interventions to help patients cope with pain. I am hoping that this will allow me to contribute significantly to those who have pain and those who are at risk for developing pain who have liver disease.

Research Grant for Novice Researchers

Jacquline Crandall

PhD, University of Alberta, Nurse Practitioner, London Health Sciences Centre

Conference Grant Award

Adam Morse, PhD Student, Western University

Chi Wing (Lily) Yeung, PhD Student, University of Toronto



NRIG Research Grant Recipient

Linda Sheiban

Linda Sheiban Taucar, a Research Grant recipient, is a Registered Nurse and currently holds the position of Associate Research Chair at the Schlegel Centre for Advancing Seniors Care at Conestoga College. She began her research career by attaining a Masters degree in Health Studies and Gerontology at the University of Waterloo. Her thesis work explored the experiences of healthcare providers who care for those with dementia in primary care memory clinics. Linda now uses her joint clinical and research knowledge in her position as Associate Research Chair by coordinating and conducting gerontological research, focusing on evidence-based care in gerontology and gerontological curriculum development. Linda's current works aims to explore nursing faculty's experiences of integrating RNAO's Best Practice Guidelines into nursing curricula. This work will inform Conestoga College as they begin the journey of becoming a Best Practice Spotlight Organization.


NRIG Graduate Scholarship Winner

Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell is a fourth year PhD student at McMaster University, School of Nursing. Ms. Campbell's work has predominantly focused on supporting young mothers, with over 15 years of experience as a public health nurse. Her program of research is at the intersection of women's health and rural geography. Her dissertation examines the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a public health nursing intervention program for socially and economically disadvantaged mothers. Ms. Campbell will be determining the modifications and adaptations that are necessary for NFP to be successful in rural Canadian communities.


NRIG Graduate Scholarship Winner

Jessica Lachance

After beginning her nursing career in Cardiology and later Pediatrics, Jessica recently completed her Master of Science in Nursing degree from the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University in August. Her thesis was under the supervision of Dr. Richard Booth, entitled: Exploring unmet healthcare needs, healthcare access, and the use of complementary and alternative medicine by chronic pain sufferers: An analysis of the National Population Health Survey. She is currently enrolled in the first year of the Nursing PhD program at Western University and plans to research self-prescribed interventions university students use to cope with mental health issues for her dissertation work. She also works in the community as a Nurse Interventionist for the iHEAL Study, trialing an intervention to support the health and wellbeing of women who are in the process of leaving or have left abusive partners. She volunteers as the Communications ENO for the RNAO Middlesex-Elgin Chapter, on the STTI Governance committee, and with the Society of Nursing Graduate Students as VP Social at Western. In her spare time, she likes to travel and go for walks with her dog, Huxley. Jessica plans to pursue a career in nursing research and education with a focus on integrative health and self-management of chronic conditions.

Photo Tharshika Sugumaran copy

RNFOO Research Award Winner ($1000 - MN student)

Tharshika Sugumaran

As a paediatric nurse at McMaster Children’s Hospital Tharshika Sugumaran greatly enjoys working with children and their families, and advocating for their needs. She has continuously sought to further her knowledge and advance her nursing profession through various opportunities. Currently Tharshika is completing a thesis-based MN exploring the impact of diabetes coaching on community-based adults who have Type 2 diabetes. Upon completing her studies, she hopes to investigate new areas of nursing including research and clinical education.


heather hartley - cropped

NRIG Research Award ($1,000)

Heather Hartley

Heather completed her undergraduate nursing degree at McMaster University. In her clinical practice at Hamilton General Hospital, she was exposed to the destabilizing effects that unexpected patient deaths had on members of the interprofessional team. In response, she initiated a research project, developing a technical report designed to guide staff in situations of death and organ recovery. This research lead her to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Ottawa where she explored interdisciplinary narratives of caring for patients that died intraoperatively. Her work brings attention to this unexplored practice phenomenon and the experiences of clinicians living the death of their patients in perioperative culture. Heather now works with the surgical departments at Quinte Health Care as a Professional Practice Specialist, developing initiatives to support staff in enhancing and enriching their practice.

robin coatsworth-cropped

NRIG Graduate Scholarship ($1,500)

Robin Coatsworth-Puspoky

Robin Coatsworth-Puspoky is PhD student in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, a CNF Scholar, and teaches in the first year of the BScN program at Lambton College in Sarnia. Robin’s research interests include transitional care, family caregivers and older people with mental health challenges, knowledge translation, and nurse-client and peer support relationships. Robin’s PhD research project will focus on exploring the influence of the discharge plan on the readmission from home to the acute care settings from the experiences of older people with cognitive challenges and their families.

amy wright-cropped

NRIG Graduate Scholarship ($1,500)

Amy Wright

Amy Wright is an NP with a passion for health equity and social justice. Challenged by the health inequities experienced by Indigenous infants and their families in urban areas, she has focused her career to advocating for the unique needs of this population. Currently completing a PhD, her research seeks to understand how Indigenous mothers living in urban areas in Canada experience using health services to meet the health needs of their infants. She hopes the study will provide health services with meaningful and effective strategies to provide culturally appropriate care for Indigenous families, which may lead to better health outcomes.

charlotte lee-cropped

NRIG Research Grant ($2,000)

Charlotte Lee

Dr. Charlotte Lee is an assistant professor at the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University. Dr. Lee’s research focuses on health services evaluation and interprofessional teams. She is particularly interested in understanding how interpersonal relationships affect teamwork processes and outcomes in health care. Dr. Lee’s current work aims to identify the antecedents and teamwork outcomes associated with interpersonal relationships. As a certified oncology nurse, she is also involved in the study of health services issues associated with cancer care.


NRIG Research Grant ($2,000)

Gillian Strudwick

Dr. Gillian Strudwick is a Project Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. She is also an Assistant Professor (status only) at the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto where she teaches in the Master of Health Informatics program. Gillian is conducting a qualitative descriptive study to understand the role of the nurse manager in nurses’ use of electronic health records (EHRs), and to identify strategies that may be effective in supporting adoption of EHRs.


Carolyn Truskoski

NRIG Research Award ($1,000) – awarded through RNFOO

Carolyn Truskoski

Carolyn is a full-time Masters student at the University of Ottawa, School of Nursing and a research assistant for BORN Ontario. Carolyn has worked in a variety of roles as an RN, including research and clinical positions. She has presented her thesis methodology at the International Forum for Pediatric Pain in Halifax in 2015 and is scheduled to present her findings at an international webinar for the Pain in Child Health Strategic Training Program. Her research explores the experiences and contextual factors that influence nurses’ pediatric pain care practise in rural Northern Ontario. Carolyn looks forward to continuing to develop as a clinician and academic in nursing.

melissa northwood

NRIG Graduate Scholarship ($1,500)

Melissa Northwood

Melissa is a PhD Student at McMaster University’s School of Nursing. Melissa’s current research interests include using a mixed methods approach to identify community based nursing interventions to improve home care for older adults with diabetes and incontinence. Melissa’s clinical practice is as a nurse continence advisor with Saint Elizabeth.

sheila boamah

NRIG Graduate Scholarship ($1,500)

Sheila Boamah

Sheila is a doctoral candidate in Nursing at Western University, under the supervision of Dr. Heather Laschinger. Her research interests include leadership, healthcare quality, human resource management, and health policy. Sheila’s research focuses on understanding how healthcare leadership influences the nursing work environment in promoting efficiency of care delivery and the quality of work life of nurses.


kristine newman-cropped

NRIG New Investigator Research Grant ($2,000)

Kristine Newman, PhD

Kristine is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University in the Faculty of Community Services, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. In 2012, she completed her PhD in Nursing Science from the University of Toronto and in 2013 a Knowledge Translation Canada: Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship at McMaster University. She holds her Canadian Nurses Association Rehabilitation Nursing Certification (2007-2021).


sally baerg

NRIG Research Award ($1,000) – awarded through RNFOO

Sally Baerg - MScN/NP student, McMaster University

Sally is enrolled in the MScN/Diploma in Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program at York University. She has been working in the community with patients of all ages for 22 years and recently joined the Rapid Response Transition Team, providing patients with health assessment and teaching in Chronic Disease management. Her goals are to balance clinical practice along with continued research while working in the community as a Nurse Practitioner with patients who have difficulty in obtaining Primary Care.



NRIG Graduate Scholarship ($1,500)

Sinead Sheehan

Sinead is a second year MScN student at York University who is currently working on her thesis. Her research relates to how well hospital bedside nurses collaborate with one another, and how this collaboration affects their job satisfaction. In addition to her studies, Sinead is a Simulation Educator for the RPN program at Sheridan College, works casually for the Hospital for Sick Children and is one of two Policy and Political Action ENOs for the Peel Chapter of the RNAO.



NRIG Graduate Scholarship ($1,500)

Laura Teague

Laura is a 4th year part time PhD student at McMaster University, under the supervision of Dr. Gina Browne. She is also a Nurse Practitioner at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Laura's thesis project is a cohort study which will examine long term outcomes of persons with SCI and Stage IV pelvic pressure ulcers, who have undergone surgical repair. She will be examining predictors of sustained wound closure in this vulnerable population.



NRIG Graduate Scholarship ($1,500)

Christine Dennis

Christine is currently a doctoral student in nursing at McMaster University. In her thesis dissertation, she is exploring how parents engage in partnerships with members of the interprofessional health care team in the pediatric ICU. Christine teaches with Ryerson University in the post-diploma nursing program and is a proud executive member of NRIG as a member-at-large. She lives in Barrie and is also an executive member of the South Simcoe chapter of RNAO.



NRIG Early Investigator Research Grant ($3,000)

Sue Bookey-Bassett

Sue is a PhD student at McMaster University. She teaches at McMaster in the nursing and health sciences programs, and works closely with her supervisor on a variety of research projects in the Aging Community & Health Research Unit. Her dissertation research includes developing, implementing and evaluating the impact of an interprofessional education intervention on interprofessional collaboration for community-based stroke rehabilitation teams caring for older adults with multiple chronic conditions in home care settings.


NRIG Experienced Investigator Research Grant ($3,000)

Elaine Santa Mina

Elaine is Associate Director of the Post Diploma Degree Program and Associate Professor within the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson University. Elaine was the lead for the development panel for the RNAO Best Practice Guideline for Assessment and Interventions for Adults at Risk for Suicidal ideation and Behaviour (RNAO, 2008). Elaine has a keen interest in undergraduate education to prepare nurses to care for patients with mental health challenges. Elaine conducts research and publishes in the areas of self-harm, suicide, Best Practice Guidelines and Nursing Education.


Recipients of the Graduate Scholarships, each valued at $1,500:

  • Barbara Chyzzy, PhD student, University of Toronto
  • Nisha Sutherland, PhD student, Western University

Recipients of the Research Grants (Early Investigator category), each valued at $3,000:

  • Esther Coker, PhD student, McMaster University, "Oral Hygiene Care Practices of Nurses with Older Adults in Post-Acute Hospital Settings"
  • Salima Ladak, PhD student, University of Toronto, "Symptoms and Function in the Early Recovery Period Following Orthotopic Liver Transplantation Surgery"
  • Rola Moghabghab, PhD student, University of Toronto, "Constant Observation for Older Adults in Acute Care: A Mixed Methods Study"

Recipient of the RNFOO Research Grant valued at $1,500:

  • Noeman Mirza, PhD student, McMaster Univeristy, "Effects of Abductive Reasoning Training on Hypothesis Generation Abilities of Level One and Level Two BScN Students"


Recipients of the Graduate Scholarships, each valued at $1,500:

  • Jennifer Jackson, MN student at Athabasca University
  • Leigh Chapman, PhD student, University of Toronto

Recipients of the Research Grants (Early Investigator category), each valued at $3,000:

  • Carolyn Plummer, Senior Manager Collaborative Academic Practice UHN for her study " The Effect of Nurse Discharge Navigator Role on Re-hospitalization outcomes of Surgical Oncology Patients: A Retrospective Review."
  • Prisco Salvador, PhD Student, Lawrence S. Bloomberg, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto for his study "The Effect of Oral Cryotherapy plus Mouth Rinsing on Oral Mucositis Severity in Breast Cancer Patients Undergroing Chemotherapy.:


Recipients of the Graduate Scholarships:

  • Kristine Newman - her doctoral work is exploring nurses’ perception of their problem solving abilities affects how they seek new information or apply accumulated knowledge.
  • Sheila O'Keefe- McCarthy – her doctoral work is exploring cardiac pain and related anxiety for rural ACS patients.

Recipient of the Research Grants (Early Investigator category):

  • Winnie Sun – her doctoral work is a mixed methods study identifying causal relationships between therapeutic self-care and adverse events for home care clients.


Recipient of the NRIG Research Grant:

  • Jamie Crawley - PhD, RN. Jaime’s research project is entitled "Hidden No More: Health Needs Assessment of Services Used by the Hidden Homeless"

2010 - TBA

2009 - TBA

2008 - TBA


Recipient of the NRIG Research Grant ($1,000):

  • Susan Jack (Assistant Professor, McMaster University). Study on ‘Moral and safety issues around anonymity of abused women’.

Recipients of the NRIG Graduate Scholarships ($2000 each):

  • Don Wildfong (MN, Faculty of Nursing, McMaster University). Thesis: Role of RNAO Best Practice Champions in promoting clinical practice change within healthcare organizations across the province.
  • Veronique Boscart (PhD, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto).Thesis: ‘Humanistic nurse-patient relationships in chronic care’.