DR. SHEELA BASRUR

Origin: The Dr. Sheela Basrur and GE Oncology Nursing Education Scholarship was organized through the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and funded by General Electric Canada through their Community Investment Fund.  The award was announced in April 2007, when RNAO awarded Dr. Basrur with an Honourary Membership.
 
Honoree background:
A native of East York, Sheela Basrur received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1979. She continued her studies, receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto in 1982.

After working as a general practitioner, Dr. Basrur travelled to India and Nepal, where she became interested in public health. Upon returning to Canada, she obtained a Master of Health Science degree from the University of Toronto in 1987, specializing in community medicine. She was also an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto.
In 2003, Sheela Basrur, then Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, was front-and-centre during the SARS outbreaks that killed 44 people and put the province’s health-care system – and those who work in it – under tremendous stress. Her leadership earned her the respect of public health authorities around the world.
Dr. Sheela Basrur was appointed Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Health in February 2004. She developed effective health promotion strategies and programs to deliver measurable results, including ground-breaking Smoke- Free Ontario legislation, the creation of Ontario’s first public health agency, and a major report on childhood obesity.
Basrur has spoken out on the role nurses play in improving lives, and has advocated for supports for women, children and new immigrants so they have access to health care. Late last year, personal health concerns forced Basrur to step down from her position as Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, where her leadership in health promotion and public health will leave a lasting impression on the province for years to come.
Dr. Basrur received many accolades and awards for her commitment and achievements, including the Order of Ontario; the Amethyst Award, the highest award granted to a member of the Ontario Public Service; honourary Doctorates from Ryerson University, York University and the University of Toronto; and honourary Diploma of Nursing from George Brown College; and the Woman of the Year distinction from the Greater Toronto YWCA. Sadly, she succumbed to cancer on June 2, 2008 at the age of 51.

Award Description: The Dr. Sheela Basrur and GE Oncology Nursing Education Scholarship will be awarded to residents of Ontario enrolled in or accepted for enrolment into a university graduate program with a focus on oncology. Winners must intend to practice in Ontario after graduation.