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One for the team

DBExcellence should be recognized and celebrated. Cancer Care Nova Scotia (CCNS) established its Excellence Awards in 2009 for this very reason: to acknowledge the excellent work and commitment of the many people who help the organization further cancer prevention, treatment and care for Nova Scotia cancer patients and families. On June 7th, Dr. Dorothy Barnard was presented with the 2010 CCNS Leadership Excellence Award. It is an honour, she insists, that does not belong to her alone.

“The award is not really for me as a person. It’s for pediatric oncology. It is for our team,” says Dr. Barnard.

Dr. Dorothy Barnard, Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist and Professor (retired)
Dr. Barnard has been a member of that team since she joined the IWK Health Centre in 1978 as a hematologist/oncologist. She went on to become clinical head and then division head. She is now enjoying retirement. During her 30 years at the IWK, Dr. Barnard saw patients, taught medical students, and conducted research. She also changed the face of pediatric oncology in Atlantic Canada.

Her vision and leadership were fundamental in establishing the Atlantic Provinces Pediatric Hematology Oncology Network, or APPHON. “Through the creation of APPHON, children and families who used to have to travel to and stay in Halifax for weeks of treatment at the children’s hospital can now access care at their home hospital and be confident that the standard and quality of care is consistent with that offered by the IWK,” says Ms. Barb Stonehouse, Director of Children's Medical Care at the IWK Health Centre.

Dr. Barnard helped to co-found the Network more than 15 years ago. Today it still unites health professionals from across the region in a shared purpose: seamless care of the highest quality.

“We wanted to provide treatment that was consistent and based on best evidence,” says Dr. Barnard. “We knew that children in Atlantic Canada could have the best care in the world.”

    Cancer Care Nova Scotia presented Excellence Awards in leadership, innovation and patient care at its Celebrating Excellence event on June 7, 2010.
     Dr. Dorothy Barnard, pediatric hematologist/oncologist and professor (retired) was presented with the Leadership Excellence Award. The Capital Health Head and Neck Cancer Site Team was presented with the Innovation Excellence Award and Dr. Robert Rutledge, radiation oncologist, Capital Health Cancer Care Program was presented with the Excellence in Patient Care Award.
      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.

Providing that best care meant collaboration, she adds. “We knew it was critical to work together. Because there were so few children who had cancer compared with the adult world, the pediatric community learned early on that we had to join forces.”

Specialists in children’s cancer also come together to conduct research. Significant studies, and guidance, come from the Children’s Oncology Group. The Group, the largest childhood cancer research network in North America,was formed in 2000 with an over-arching mission: to study childhood cancers. Recently, for example, the group released a new version of its Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancers.

Dr. Barnard served as the IWK’s principal investigator in the Children’s Oncology Group studies. “This is a role that is essential to the advancement of pediatric oncology care in general,” says Dr. Mark Bernstein, Head of the Division of Hematology Oncology at the IWK.

“More specifically,” he adds, “it allowed access by the children of the Maritimes
to therapies at the forefront of research, application of up-to-date clinical findings, and connections that are crucial in fostering excellence in pediatric cancer care across Canada.”

Dr. Barnard is still fostering excellence today. Much of her work now, she says with a laugh, occurs in her garden. “I’m retired. I do weeding.”

She is also completing an
interdisciplinary PhD in health services research at Dalhousie. “It seemed like a challenge,” she says.

One of many that Dr. Dorothy Barnard has successfully mastered.


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