2016 CAPO Award Winners

15 Aug 2018 2:22 PM | Anonymous

Life Time Achievement Award

This annual award honours a CAPO/ACOP member who, in the opinion of the Awards Committee and the Board of Directors of the association, has made exceptional and enduring career contributions to psychosocial oncology. Prior to 2010 this award was called the CAPO Award of Excellence.

2016 Recipient: Gina MacKenzie, MSW

Gina MacKenzie has been a Social Worker for the past 40 years – almost 35 years in oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. She has been in a Clinical Coordinator/Practice Leader role since 1988 and in 2011 accepted the Provincial Director and Practice Leader position for Psychosocial Oncology. She led the development of the Patient and Family Counselling program at the Fraser Valley Centre and was involved in the planning and design of the new cancer centres in Abbotsford and Prince George, including Patient and Family Counselling at those locations.

She has been passionate about improving access to counselling services and care. This led to the development of the first interpreter program for people with cancer at the Agency, which is now available province wide. She has also led the development of web based programs for people with cancer, their families and health care professionals including the coping with cancer section on the Agency website, the Cancerinmyfamily.ca website for children when a family member is diagnosed with cancer and more recently Facts4Teens. She provided administrative support for CancerChatCanada when it was hosted and operated by the Agency and currently is involved with colleagues to develop courses online for new staff and community Social Workers. This passion also led to participating in the development of CAPO’s “Start the Talk”.

In the late 1990s, she became interested in distress screening and led the first pilot of a psychosocial screening program at the BC Cancer Agency. This pilot led to the development of a screening instrument which is part of the new patient consultation process provincially and currently is working with a team to use an electronic format.

Gina values ongoing learning and has been involved with CAPO conferences in Vancouver numerous times, either as a member of the planning committee or Chair. She was a member of the CAPO Education committee and a Board Member. She led the program in developing a Psychosocial Oncology Graduate level course which clinicians in the program co-taught at the UBC School of Social Work prior to the availability of IPODE courses.

In the past two years, she has increased the number of Psychiatrists and recruited the BC Cancer Agency’s first Provincial Professional Practice Leader for Psychiatry. She feels most fortunate to work with clinicians and practice leaders who are highly motivated to provide excellent care and open to possibilities for innovative practice.


Award for Clinical Excellence

This award is made to recognize individuals who, in the opinion of the Awards Committee and the Board of Directors of the association, have made significant contributions to clinical excellence in the field of psychosocial oncology in Canada.

2016 Recipient: Sarah Sample, MSW

Sarah Sample has worked as a clinical oncology social worker for over 23 years, and has been Professional Practice Leader for Patient and Family Counseling at the Vancouver site of the BC Cancer Agency since 2011. She chairs the BCCA Lymphoid Cancer Education Planning Committee and her work has been recognized by a Lymphoma Foundation of Canada Appreciation of Clinical Contribution to Lymphoma Patients and Families Award. She is also the treasurer of the BC Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction Society and developed the BCCA Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction course over 15 years ago.

Sarah is passionate about helping patients and is known to put aside her impressive titles to cover on-call duties or even the reception desk if that’s what’s needed to best serve BCCA patients on a particular day. She is also able to think outside-the-box to champion the needs of underserved patient groups. For example, she created the first Lesbian Cancer Support Group at a Canadian cancer centre.

Fortunately, some of Sarah’s skills have been passed on to many as she has been a clinical supervisor for the UBC School of Social Work and Family Studies for over 15 years and also supervises and teaches junior counselors. She has presented at CAPO and other conferences on topics including death anxiety, therapeutic touch, lesbian families affected by cancer, mindfulness, and young adults with cancer, and currently chairs the local organizing committee for CAPO 2017.

Sarah Sample is an outstanding model of innovative clinical leadership who is creating a growing legacy of clinical excellence in Psychosocial Oncology at the BCCA.


CAPO Innovation Award

The CAPO Innovation Award honours the development of quality improvement and innovative clinical, educational, or organizational initiatives aimed at enhancing the performance of psychosocial cancer care or cancer prevention. Award submissions will be rated based on originality and scope, impact of initiative on processes, impact of initiative on stakeholders, meaningfulness, value for money and sustainability.

2016 Recipient: Dr. Carole Mayer, RSW, PhD

Dr. Carole Mayer is the Director of Research and Regional Psychosocial Oncology Lead of the Supportive Care Program at the Northeast Cancer Centre (NECC), Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury, Ontario. She is also the Regional Lead for the Ontario Cancer Symptom Management Collaborative.

A social worker by discipline, she brings 30 years of health care experience with 27 years specializing in oncology.

Some of her achievements are leading: the implementation of Screening for Distress, 6th Vital Sign, for symptom management in 14 community chemotherapy clinics; new Models of Care for Breast and Colorectal Survivorship; the development of the Aboriginal Navigators’ roles in the cancer centre and hospital; Bridges to Better Breast Health, a breast health promotion campaign reaching over one million residents through multi-media. Establishing the need and developing one of the first Breast Diagnostic Clinics in Ontario. A founding member and advisor to the Circle of Strength, Sudbury Beast Cancer Support Group. Working collaboratively to develop and evaluate the use of the Ontario Telemedicine Network. Fostering and sustaining psychosocial/supportive care oncology programming.

Dr. Mayer says: “It has been more than a career; it is a commitment and passion for developing unique programming that best meets the needs of people affected by cancer living in urban, rural and remote communities across North- East Ontario. Of course I could not do this work without the wonderful team I work with”.


Early Career Investigator Award

The CAPO Early Career Investigator Award honours a new investigator for outstanding contributions to research in the field of psychosocial oncology. Candidates must be within seven years of completing their postgraduate, fellowship or equivalent specialist training (defined as a PhD or MD or equivalent). Recipients are distinguished by the level and quality of research output at this early career stage.

2016 Recipient: Dr. Jennifer Brunet, PhD

Jennifer Brunet (PhD) is an Assistant Professor at the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, a Research Member at the Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort, and an Affiliate Researcher at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Recognizing that physical activity is a key component for successful cancer prevention and treatment, her research goal is to reduce the growing burden of cancer in Canada through physical activity by producing findings of high scientific and applied merit.

She has conducted a series of projects to identify correlates and antecedents of physical activity behavior among people with cancer, as well as identify the mechanisms and processes by which these correlates and antecedents affect physical activity behavior (e.g., mediation and moderation effects) in order to enhance understanding and advanced knowledge of how to increase physical activity behavior. Consequently, she has used this knowledge to inform and design interventions aimed at changing physical activity behavior to enhance the quality of life of people with cancer and lessen the likelihood of them dying from cancer. She has also been involved in a number of projects aimed at testing the effectiveness of physical activity for people with cancer and developing evidence-based materials and guidelines to share knowledge that supports people in making healthy choices that will help them recover from cancer. For example, as a member of a working group facilitated by Cancer Care Ontario’s Program in Evidence-Based Care, she recently helped develop exercise guidelines for people with cancer to help bridge the gap between research and practice. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Charles Polanyi Prize in Medicine for her collective work in physical activity and cancer.

Jennifer is also dedicated to building capacity and expertise in the area of physical activity and cancer. Thus, she co-founded and co-directs the Psychosocial Oncology Group with Dr. Sophie Lebel at the University of Ottawa. The goal of the group is to create an active, knowledge-sharing, dynamic, and collaborative environment that inspires novel and practical research. Further, it is a place where researchers, health care providers, and trainees can engage in research-related activities and discussions focused on psychosocial oncology.


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