RBC Financial Group Chair will Further Critical Area of Research

Toronto (Oct. 28, 2004) - Dr. Mary Ferguson-Paré, Vice President, Professional Affairs and Chief Nurse Executive, University Health Network, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Doris Howell, RN, PhD, to hold the RBC Financial Group Chair in Oncology Nursing Research. This chair is also supported through partnerships with Cancer Care Ontario, Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division) and the University of Toronto Faculty of Nursing.

"We are thrilled to be able to join with our partners to make this chair an immediate reality," said Dr. Ferguson-Paré. " Dr. Howell's work is already contributing to new knowledge in patient and family-centered care and to innovations in how to help cancer patients manage their own health situations. In partnership with the Faculty of Nursing, Dr. Howell will be instrumental in training advanced practice oncology nurses for healthcare of the future."

Dr. Howell is a leader in oncology nursing with over 25 years experience in cancer and palliative care in both hospital and home settings. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and has held various positions in the clinical nursing field. Dr. Howell was awarded a Canadian Health Service Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and worked with the St. Josephs Health System Research Network through McMaster University's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatics. Dr. Howell is currently investigating how advanced practice oncology nurses make use of research evidence in clinical practice; evaluating how effective nursing interventions are in reducing the severity of symptoms and distress; exploring how they improve end-of-life care by using best practices and interpersonal skills, and studying how to integrate this continuity of care into the whole spectrum of cancer health services.

Dr. Howell's goals as Chairholder include:

  • Leading the development and implementation of a specialty stream for oncology in the Masters of Nursing Program at the University of Toronto, including the development of a virtual clinical teaching unit for educating advance practice oncology nurses throughout Ontario.
  • Enhancing cancer-nursing research by evaluating the implementation of evidence based approaches to care, supporting novice nurse researchers, and by developing a patient-centered outcomes research agenda which informs nursing practice. Working in collaboration with colleagues from nursing and across different disciplines will help achieve both these goals.
  • Improving the patient and family experience by evaluating the implementation of innovative holistic models of care that combine nursing knowledge guided by practical experience and practice artistry, that focuses on each individual patient's needs.

RBC Financial Group committed $2.5 million to establish two endowed chairs in nursing research at University Health Network. The Oncology Nursing Research Chair is the first to be filled. A search is currently underway for the holder of the RBC Financial Group Chair in Cardiovascular Nursing Research.

The Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division) and Cancer Care Ontario have partnered with the University of Toronto and University Health Network to provide three years of funding to support the early establishment of the chair as fundraising continues to complete the endowment. University Health Network is a major landmark in Canada's healthcare system, and a teaching partner of the University of Toronto. Building on the strengths and reputation of each of our three remarkable hospitals, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, UHN brings together the talent and resources needed to achieve global impact and provide exemplary patient care, research and education.

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