A clinician with expertise in palliative care at the bedside and at the policy level, a leader in psychosocial oncology education for students and health providers, and a team of oncology nurses dedicated to ensuring children with cancer enjoy a safe and fun camp experience were the recipients of the Excellence Awards today, June 6. The annual awards in leadership, innovation, and patient care were awarded by Cancer Care Nova Scotia. “It’s encouraging to see so many Nova Scotians dedicated to understanding and defeating cancer,” said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. “I’m very proud of all of this year’s nominees and winners. They’re making life better for all Nova Scotians, and their families, who have been touched by this deadly disease. Congratulations, and keep up the hard work.” The awards were introduced in 2009 to mark the 10th anniversary of Cancer Care Nova Scotia. They acknowledge the work and commitment of people who have helped the organization further cancer prevention, treatment, and care for Nova Scotia cancer patients and their families. “Each year the challenge of choosing just one individual or team in each award category becomes more difficult,” said Archie MacEachern, Cancer Care Nova Scotia advisory board member and chair of the Excellence Awards selection committee. “Of the 37 nominations we had to review, all were more than deserving of recognition. In the end, however, with the help of a committee of volunteers and a good evaluation tool, we were able to make thoughtful decisions.” The award recipients are Dr. David Henderson, medical director, palliative care, Colchester East Hants Health Authority; Dr. Deborah McLeod, clinician scientist, psychosocial oncology team, Capital Health Cancer Care Program; and Camp Goodtime Medical Team, a project supported through the Canadian Cancer Society. Dr. Henderson is the recipient of the Leadership Excellence Award. He served as president of the Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association and continues to make significant contributions in advancing palliative care services in his district as well as on a provincial level. Dr. Henderson is highly respected for his work in palliative care nationally with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Palliative Care Physicians Association. Dr. McLeod, an innovative clinician scientist and a renowned psychosocial oncology education leader was presented with the Innovation Excellence Award. Her clinical specialty is working with individuals and couples on sexuality concerns as a result of cancer. She led the development of a national distance education program to address gaps in psychosocial oncology education of health professionals using web-based learning. She has shared her knowledge and expertise with national organizations including the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology. The Excellence in Patient Care Award was presented to the Camp Goodtime Medical Team, a team of six oncology nurses from the IWK Health Centre who volunteer their time to ensure children with cancer enjoy a fun-filled week at camp. The team looks after the children’s medical needs and provides health education and health promotion information to campers and counselors. They model what they teach through healthy meal choices, practicing sun safety and being active. “The CCNS Excellence Awards shine a spotlight on the many talented and dedicated health professionals who make up our cancer system,” said Theresa Marie Underhill, chief operating officer, Cancer Care Nova Scotia. “Each and every day they give their all to ensure Nova Scotia cancer patients and families receive the best care possible. “Congratulations to the award recipients and nominees for providing quality cancer care to Nova Scotia cancer patients and their families.” Dr. Carman Giacomantonio, chief medical director, Cancer Care Nova Scotia, said each day in communities and districts across the province, health professionals work tirelessly to support and care for patients. “Patients are at the centre of why we do what we do,” said Dr. Giacomantonio. “Our goal is to provide our patients with high quality care based on the most current evidence, while helping to make their cancer journey as easy as possible. “Nova Scotia has an incredible team of health professionals who are dedicated to their patients and I count myself fortunate to be part of this team.” Cancer Care Nova Scotia is a provincial program of the Department of Health and Wellness, which facilitates quality cancer prevention and care for Nova Scotians.
Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, visited the country from 24 May to 2 June to assess efforts to enhance the enjoyment of cultural rights by all people.Expressing concern about the administrative obstacles posed by the division of Cyprus, she condemned unjustified restrictions on access to cultural heritage for religious ceremonies, including those that were announced by the Turkish Cypriot authorities during her visit.“The attempt to increase restrictions has been harmful,” Ms. Bennoune said, calling for any unfounded restrictions to be lifted and urging the Cyprus government to abstain from any retaliatory measure. “Cultural rights, including the right to enjoy and access cultural heritage shall not be considered as a bargaining chip,” the independent expert stressed.The Special Rapporteur stressed that there are issues of access to cultural sites in the south of the country, although there is a tendency to consider that such issues only happen in the north.“The Government should make every effort to end de facto limitations on accessing cultural sites, including through clarifying opening hours, simplifying processes for accessing particular sites, and providing for essential facilities such as water and washrooms at some sites,” she said.“Cyprus is making a great deal of efforts to ensure that cultural heritage, which is at the centre of great tensions and could potentially undermine reconciliation, contributes to the solution”, the expert highlighted.Thanks to the opening of the crossings, the expert noted, people visited their old villages and neighbourhoods, their old churches, mosques and cemeteries. “They started talking to each other again, to recognize and re-humanize each other,” she added. “In this way, cultural heritage can promote human rights.”The Special Rapporteur regretted that an application to include the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque on the UNESCO World Heritage List was made “without involving the people having a particular link with the site, when such project may carry significant implications for them in terms of access and maintenance of the site.”The expert noted that Cyprus’s society currently includes not only Greek and Turkish Cypriots, but also a mosaic of historic minorities and more newly arrived persons, people of mixed identities, and those who chose to identify in some other fashion altogether.“Each person should have a right to self-identify,” she underscored. She noted that different people may have diverse historic relationships with the island of Cyprus, which must be acknowledged and respected, but all must enjoy their cultural rights without discrimination.The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on her visit to Cyprus to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.