Winners Of First Manitoba Health-Care Innovation Awards Improving Lives Of Manitobans: Oswald

Projects Focus on Improving Care, Promoting Healthy Living: Oswald, Irvin-Ross

Three innovative projects that are improving care and making a meaningful difference in the lives of Manitobans have been awarded the first annual health-care innovation awards, Health Minister Theresa Oswald and Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced at a ceremony today at the Legislative Building.“People put forward good ideas to improve health care and healthy living, and these awards help us recognize their hard work and encourage even more innovative ideas,” said Oswald. “Even a simple change can make a big difference, such as this year’s health-care innovation award winner who has made receiving radiation therapy less frightening for children and their families.”

Chad Harris, a medical devices technologist, and Richard Driedger, a nuclear electronics technologist, both from CancerCare Manitoba, will receive the first Enid Thompson Award for Health Care Innovation. They designed and installed a specially shielded DVD player, protected from the radiation, and an adjustable mobile stand to give children something else to focus on during their radiation therapy treatments. This simple act benefited these children dramatically, helping treatments go more smoothly by reducing anxiety, stress and the need for anesthesia during treatments, Oswald said. The project has since been expanded to the burn and nuclear medicine units at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg.

The Enid Thompson Award for Health Care Innovation is named in honour of a lifelong civil servant responsible for several innovative changes that have had lasting impacts in Manitoba including the introduction of the first comprehensive, universal home-care program in North America. The award recognizes an outstanding change that has had a positive effect on patient care in the publicly funded health-care system.

“The Mino Bimaadiziwin Innovation Award for Healthy Living recognizes initiatives that have enhanced healthy-living activities among Manitobans, and, this year, two exciting projects will be recognized,” said Irvin-Ross. “Innovative programs delivered by Eugennie and Reginald Mercredi in Cross Lake and Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) in Winnipeg made a genuine difference and encouraged people to include healthy living activities into their daily lives.”

The Mercredis operate an innovative tobacco-reduction program in Cross Lake called the Blue Light project. Since 2007, every non-smoking home in the community receives a blue light bulb to put outside their door to indicate they are smoke-free. The project has been a success in their community and other communities are interested in adopting the project.

RaY’s ‘wrap-around’ approach to supporting the physical, mental and spiritual health of at-risk youth was also recognized for its success. Programs include a food program to teach youth healthy and simple recipes, a mental-health and addictions services co-ordinator to advocate for youth and co-ordinate the services they need, and a health clinic with a nurse practitioner to meet the health-care needs of area youth.

Mino Bimaadiziwin is an Ojibway phrase meaning the good life. The award is named in honour of youth at Southeast Collegiate who have joined the Mino Binaadiziwin program, which seeks to promote a balance of spirit, body and mind. These youth represent many First Nations communities.

For more information on the health innovation awards, visit

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