Lakehead University Researcher Recognized Nationally for Improving the Quality of Palliative Care: Dr. Mary Lou Kelley receives Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association 2011 Award of Excellence

L-R: Laurie Anne O'Brien, CHPCA Board Member and Chair, Awards Nomination Committee, presents Dr. Mary Lou Kelley with the Award of Excellence

(September 12, 2011 – Thunder Bay, ON) The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) announced at its annual conference last Friday evening in St. John’s Newfoundland, that Dr. Mary Lou Kelley is the recipient of the 2011 Award of Excellence in Hospice Palliative Care. Dr. Kelley is a pioneering and dedicated professor of social work at Lakehead University and an internationally recognized palliative care researcher.

Developing high quality hospice palliative care services and education is the focus of Dr. Kelley’s work at Lakehead University. She and her research teams work in many care settings to better understand the complex issues surrounding care for the dying, as well as for their families. “I am honoured to be the recipient of this year’s award,” says Dr. Kelley. “The success of my work is due in large part to the strong commitment and participation of health care organizations, numerous researchers, front-line care providers, and patients across the country. It is gratifying to have the Canadian palliative care community recognize our work and the contribution it makes to improving health care.”

This is the first time that someone from Thunder Bay or Northwestern Ontario has received the CHPCA Award of Excellence, which recognizes the outstanding national contribution of a CHPCA member who exemplifies professional and personal commitment and achievement in the field of hospice palliative care in Canada. Dr. Kelley is the first university based researcher/educator, rather than a clinician, who has received the award.

“I am enormously proud of the work that our faculty accomplish,” says Dr. Brian Stevenson. “This honour for Dr. Kelley recognizes that research and education improve the quality of direct care delivery in our community, our region and around the world. This award reflects the high calibre of research conducted at Lakehead University.”

“Dr. Kelley is unwavering in her quest to advance quality palliative care and has worked tirelessly to improve end-of-life care across diverse settings and populations including long-term care homes and among seniors,” says Katherine Campbell, chair of the Northwestern Ontario End-of-Life Care Network. She nominated Dr. Kelley for the award because “Dr. Kelley’s leadership, commitment, and achievements have pioneered new ideas and services that have significantly improved access to quality palliative care, especially for seniors and people living in rural, remote, and First Nations communities in Canada.”

Another nominator, Dr. Denise Marshall, assistant dean, Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University added, “Consistently, Dr. Kelley’s passionate contribution to quality end-of-life care is making a difference at the bedside of dying Canadians. Dr. Kelley is regarded, and justly so, as a tireless advocate for patient centred care, learners of all levels, and sensible, efficient care.”

“We congratulate Dr. Kelley on her award and appreciate the strong contribution her work makes to our vision to have Lakehead University recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally as a research-intensive university and a world leader in selected preeminent areas of research” says Dr. Rui Wang, vice-president (research, economic development, and innovation).

Dr. Kelley’s palliative care research projects are hosted at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH) at Lakehead University. CERAH's mission is to advance health and social care for an aging population and promote the health and well-being of people aging across the life span. Given the significantly aging population in our city and region, CERAH’s work is particularly pertinent to Northwestern Ontario, as well as nationally, and globally.

For more information about the award and past recipients please visit the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association website:

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Media: Dr. Mary Lou Kelley is available for interview. To schedule an interview or for more information please contact Janine Chiasson, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. Over 8,280 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

Last updated September 13, 2011

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