New IEN of the Year Award named in honour of Dr. Joan Lesmond

CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses Names
New IEN of the Year Award in Honour of Dr. Joan Lesmond

For Immediate Release
Toronto, August 11, 2011

CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) is dedicating its newly established annual nursing award to one of the profession’s most outstanding leaders. CARE Centre’s Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award will honour an outstanding CARE Centre member nurse who has attained their Ontario nursing credentials and excelled in their profession, emulating the late Dr. Lesmond’s widely recognized achievements.

“Dr. Lesmond came to Canada as an IEN and her inspiring career certainly represents the highest professional levels to which nurses can aspire,” said CARE Centre Executive Director Zubeida Ramji. “We couldn’t be more pleased that before she passed away she graciously accepted our request to honour her. It’s truly an honour to dedicate the award to her memory so the nursing community can celebrate and remember one of its most outstanding leaders.”

Dr. Joan Lesmond, who passed away on August 5, worked in the community health care field for over 30 years, most recently as the Executive Director of Community Engagement at Saint Elizabeth Health Care, a not-for-profit charitable organization, and Executive Director of the Saint Elizabeth Health Care Foundation, a leading Canadian charity. She was presented the YWCA Woman of Distinction Health Leadership Award in the spring of 2011. Dr. Lesmond’s association with CARE Centre goes back to the beginnings of the organization in 2001, when she served on the advisory committee through the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

“I worked with Joan during the early days of CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses where she acted as an important advisor,” said founding CARE Centre Executive Director Dawn Sheppard, now a Senior Policy Analyst with the Public Health Agency of Canada.”During the inevitable challenges in a new project start-up, Joan was always full of encouraging words, steady support, and productive suggestions. I remember her warm smile and celebrate her many contributions to building a diverse nursing workforce in Ontario.”

As a nursing and community health leader, Dr. Lesmond set new standards in HIV/AIDS treatment as Chief Nursing Executive and Director of Professional Practice at Casey House Hospice in Toronto. She also worked with Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Clinic, was a director of Women’s College Hospital, chair of the Ontario Caregiver Coalition, president of the Association of Ontario Health Centres, president of Regent Park Community Health Centre, and chair and director of the Hospice Association of Ontario.

“Not only has the nursing community lost a leader in Joan’s death, all equity seeking communities are mourning the loss of a strong and committed advocate,” said Amy Go, Chair, CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses and Executive Director of Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in Markham. “Joan’s passion for social justice had driven her to work for racialized and marginalized communities where few had chosen to do. It was an honour for CARE to have worked with Joan. Her support and dedicated efforts in knocking down barriers has opened doors for many internationally educated nurses.”

In order to be eligible for the CARE Centre’s Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award, the nominee must be currently registered as a nurse in Ontario (RN or RPN); be working in a nursing practice environment for at least one year; and be a member of CARE Centre. Main selection criteria include: consistently demonstrates professionalism and an excellent quality of presence and caring that assists people in the holistic healing process, a fundamental value of nursing practice; exemplary professional knowledge and practice; and consistently promotes an atmosphere of team-work. The deadline for entries has been extended to Monday, August 22, 2011 at 5 p.m.

The full nomination kit with detailed eligibility criteria and information for submitting forms is available on the CARE Centre website. CARE Centre will mark its tenth anniversary year with a fundraising dinner November 17th from 7 p.m. at Arcadian Court in Toronto, where the inaugural CARE Centre’s Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award will be presented.

CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses is a not-for-profit professional organization funded by the Government of Ontario. Ontario receives support for some skills training programs from the Government of Canada. CARE Centre recognizes the unique skills and experience of internationally educated nurses and assists them in updating their credentials to meet Ontario standards for Registered Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses, obtain employment, advance in their careers, and contribute to health care excellence in Ontario. CARE Centre achieves these goals through case management support, nursing-specific language education, exam preparation, mentoring and networking. CARE Centre is a registered charity (charitable number 84420 5948 RR0001).

For all media inquiries please contact:

Tina Novotny
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses
45 Sheppard Ave East, Suite 512
Toronto, Ontario M2N 5W9
416-226-2800 ext 240

Funded by:

Ontario receives support for some skills training programs from the Government of Canada