Dr. Sharon Walmsley, Dr. Gail Robinson, and Emmauelle Gattuso
(L to R): Dr. Sharon Walmsley, Emmauelle Gattuso​, and Dr. Gail Robinson were all named Members of the Order of Canada on the eve of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. (Photo: UHN)

Three members of the UHN community have received one of Canada's highest civilian honours.

Dr. Sharon Walmsley, Assistant Director of the Immunodeficiency Clinic, Dr. Gail Robinson, Director of the Women's Mental Health Program at UHN, and Ms. Emmanuelle Gattuso, longtime donor to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, were among 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada made by Governor General David Johnston.

They will receive their insignia at a ceremony in Ottawa later this year.

Dr. Walmsley, who was made a Member of the Order of Canada, was cited "for her advancement of HIV/AIDS research that has led to a broader understanding of the disease's effects on women as well as to improved treatment options."

Dr. Walmsley has made a profound difference in the care of people living with HIV. She has been part of more than 200 HIV clinical trials. Dr. Walmsley spearheaded the evaluation and introduction of new antiretroviral therapies for people living with HIV, helped shape national and international treatment guidelines for the earlier initiation of HIV antiretroviral therapy, and led in establishing treatment standards and protocols for women living with HIV.

Her current work focuses on co-infection between HIV and other viral infections including hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and herpes simplex virus.

Dr. Robinson, also named a Member of the Order of Canada, was recognized "for her pioneering contributions to women's mental and physical health, and to the advancement of professional regulation in health care."

As a practicing psychiatrist, an educator and an investigator, Dr. Robinson has focused on psychological aspects of women's reproductive life and the multiple issues behind violence against women.  She is author and co-author of over 100 articles and book chapters that have helped to explain our understanding of women's mental health over a broad and influential range of topics.

She has been recognized for her accomplishments with numerous awards including the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award; the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Award; and the Alexandra Symond's Award from the American Psychiatric Association. In 2013, she was awarded the Order of Ontario and The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Emmanuelle was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for her contributions to the advancement of women in communications and for her philanthropy in support of health care and children with cancer."

Emmanuelle and her husband, Allan Slaight, began their philanthropic support of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre with a donation of $1.5 million in 2001, which was used to create the first academic chair for breast surgical oncology in Canada. She and Allan later made the decision to donate $20 million to fund The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre at the Princess Margaret, which diagnoses and provides a treatment plan within one day for those suspected of having breast cancer. Before becoming a full-time philanthropist, Emmanuelle had a career in media and public relations.  

In 2012, Emmanuelle and Allan were named Philanthropists of the Year by the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and in April 2013, Emmanuelle was named a Woman of Action by the Israel Cancer Research Fund.

The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation; 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Order. Close to 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order since its creation in 1967.

A full list of the 99 new appointments can be viewed here.

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