HCP Grant Recipients

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is dedicated to supporting Canadian Health Care Professionals (HCPs) who work in the area of neuro-oncology or neuroscience to help people affected by a brain tumour.

The Health Care Professional (HCP) - Professional Development Grants (launched in 2016) provide funding to health care professionals who would like to attend a medical, scientific or professional development conference / workshop. In their words, here’s what this opportunity means to them.

2018 HCP - Professional Development Grant Recipients

Catriona Leckie, RN MN NP CNN(c), Neuro-Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Calgary, Alberta

Catriona Leckie, HCP PD Grant RecipientI would like to thank Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for the HCP Professional Development Grant that will be used towards my attendance at the 23rd Annual Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Scientific Meeting and Education Day. I have been working as a Nurse Practitioner in Neuro-Oncology for the last 10 years and currently follow most of our Neuro-Oncology patients and their families in a Nurse Practitioner led, early supportive care clinic. This clinic provides patients and their families with ongoing opportunities to discuss their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options, symptom management, potential rehabilitation needs, community resources available to them and discussions around advance care planning and goals of care. Patients and their families are seen in this clinic on a regular basis throughout their illness trajectory in order to facilitate these conversations. In the past, the SNO conference has provided attendees with a thorough and updated understanding of the principles of clinical Neuro-Oncology, clinical trials, symptom management, palliative care and survivorship. The information gained from attending this conference will improve my ability to provide best supportive care to individuals who have been affected by the diagnosis of a brain tumour, as I will be more informed to educate and support them through their illness trajectory. I look forward to sharing the information I obtain from attending this conference with other members of our team to further improve the quality care and supportive programs we provide. I also look forward to networking with other healthcare professionals specifically interested in the needs of the Neuro-Oncology population to facilitate discussions around ongoing improvements to care and future research ideas. Thank you again, for this opportunity.  

Emily Drake, BScH, MA, PhD (Student), Health Promotion Consultant, Dartmouth, NS

Emily Drake, 2018 HCP Professional Development Grant RecipientAs the former Director of CancerFightClub, I returned to Dalhousie University to pursue a PhD in Health and study the needs of young adults living with metastatic/advanced cancer. Many of these young adults have a primary cancer diagnosis of the CNS or have a cancer that has metastasized to their brain. There are very few resources nationally and internationally for this population, which is why CancerCon is an important event. CancerCon is Stupid Cancer’s annual international conference. It brings together patients, supporters and healthcare professionals to talk about relative issues to the young adult cancer movement. I have been honoured to be an invited speaker in the past and this coming year. The sessions I have been asked to lead are on social media and for those living with a chronic/metastatic/advanced cancer diagnosis. I am grateful to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for providing me with financial support that will allow me to contribute to this conference and provide important sessions. It will also allow me an opportunity to further my education on relevant issues for young adults living with cancer, contributing back to the PhD and advocacy work that I do. 

Update: Thanks to the generous support I received from Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada I was able to attend CancerCon in April of 2018. This patient focused event had nearly 650 delegates from around the world. While the primary audience was young people living with cancer, other attendees included caregivers, healthcare professionals, non-profit employees and advocates. I had the pleasure of speaking on a social media panel that provided a question and answer period for a packed room of delegates on topics concerning use of social media in the young adult cancer movement. On the second day of the event, I co-led a session focused on connecting patients living with metastatic/advanced cancer with each other and important resources. Other highlights of the event included a session on survivorship in communities of colour and a keynote by Dan Shapiro, Ph.D, Vice Dean, Penn State College of Medicine. Young adults are a marginalized cancer population and programming concerning their unique needs, like CancerCon, is vital to pushing the young adult cancer movement forward.

2017 HCP - Professional Development Grant Recipients

Jonathan Russell, Physiotherapist, IRDP, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver, BC

Jonathan Russell, HCP Grant AwardeeI would like to thank Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for the HCP Professional Development Grant, which will support my continuing education to improve my care for patients with brain tumours. I am working as a physiotherapist on an Intensive Rehab Day Program at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre primarily with clients who have acquired brain injuries. I plan to use the HCP grant to attend a Basic Bobath course to improve my treatment of individuals with neurological conditions including individuals with brain tumours. The Basic Bobath course includes theoretical foundations and practical sessions to develop handling and clinical reasoning skills. Bobath therapy uses a problem solving approach that helps the client to work towards personal goals considering their clinical presentation. Often clients with brain tumours that attend the Intensive Rehab Day Program have physical impairments that limit their ability to complete daily activities of living and to take part in recreational or vocational activities. Bobath trained clinicians assist clients to improve their postural control, perform selective coordinated movement, and integrate sensory input into their motor control so that the client can better participate in activities with family, friends, and on their own. 

Kelly Boileau RN, BN, IWK, Halifax, NS

Kelly Boileau, HCP Grant Awardee 2017I have worked as a registered nurse in the field of oncology for over 20 years. I have recently taken on the role of the Brain Tumour Nurse Coordinator at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had worked with brain tumours in the past so I thought I knew the population, but boy was I wrong. I realize I had only touched on the tip of the iceberg. I am so excited to work with this population and broaden my knowledge regarding current treatments and outcomes .The impact of a brain tumour diagnosis on the patient and their family is devastating. It is the lifelong challenging post-treatment side-effects that I have been most surprised about. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Professional Development Grant will assist me in attending the second Join the Movement to End Brain Tumours National Conference in Toronto. I see this as an invaluable opportunity for me to navigate within this patient population. I am excited to network with people who share the same goal – to improve the lives of those diagnosed with a brain tumour. I want to thank Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for this opportunity. 

Update: I would like to thank Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for the Health Care Professional (HCP) Development Grant that I received. I used this grant to attend the 2nd annual Join the Movement to End Brain Tumours National Conference in Toronto. This was my first opportunity to witness in person what an amazing Foundation this is.  The conference was full of many wonderful speakers and presentations. I am excited to continue my professional relationship with this passionate group. The members are devoted to caring for those whose lives are affected by brain tumours. This group reminds me of a huge extended family. Since working in this field, I had always been confident in referring patients to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s website but now I cannot sing their praises enough. The level of professionalism and knowledge is amazing. What an amazing resource for anyone across Canada to have available to them. 

2016 HCP - Professional Development Grant Recipients

Caitlin Gillan MRT(T) BSc MEd FCAMRT

Caitlin GillanI am currently a radiation therapist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, working primarily with adults and children with brain tumours as the Central Nervous System (CNS) Radiation Therapy site leader. This grant will support me in attending a unique conference in September in the United Kingdom that is focused on novel advanced practice roles, and how radiation therapists can best prepare and position themselves for specialized clinical roles. Knowledge gained through engagement in such a conference, and networking with people from around the world exploring such roles, would allow me to inform the evolution of a potential CNS Advanced Practice role, better aligning expertise and service delivery to optimize care for this patient population. Ontario has been exploring advanced practice for radiation therapists for the past 10 years, and a process for national certification is in development – so the framework and precedent exist - but there is currently no one in an advanced CNS radiation therapy position. While I am at this conference, I will also be giving a presentation about Canada’s approach to certification for advanced practice roles, based on my engagement in the national certification initiative.  

Update: In September 2016, thanks to a professional development grant from Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, I travelled to Sheffield, United Kingdom, to participate in the Leading the Way: International Radiographer Advanced Practice Conference. I am a radiation therapist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, where I collaborate with an incredible interprofessional team in providing radiation therapy to adults and children with brain tumours.  I am also involved in a national initiative with the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, investigating the value and feasibility of advanced practice roles for radiation therapists, given the pressures currently facing the healthcare system. Radiation therapists are ideally positioned to take on additional knowledge, skills, and judgement to optimize patient-centred care in an increasingly complex cancer care model. 

At the conference in the UK, I gave a podium presentation highlighting the innovative approach to certifying advanced practitioners in Canada through intensive virtual oral examinations. I was able to attend valuable sessions that addressed role development, the value of research in advancing evidence-based practice, and various successes and barriers experienced around the world in exploring advanced practice. There were ample opportunities to network with peers from the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, many of whom I remain in contact with through Twitter. It is my hope that the knowledge gained through this experience will put me in good stead as I work to inform further development of advanced practice opportunities, especially in the context of helping those with brain tumours navigate their care journeys. 

Thanks to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for this invaluable experience!

Laura Daly

Laura DalyBrain Tumour Foundation of Canada's professional development grant will assist me in attending the 21st Annual Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day. The information and skills gained by attending this event will undoubtedly enrich my clinical work with patients, as well as my research in the area of pain and symptom management. I truly appreciate the opportunity provided by this development grant to expand my expertise and knowledge to better serve those affected by brain cancer. I look forward to sharing what I learn at the SNO meeting with the rest of my department team at BC Cancer Agency, contributing to the agency's ability to better assist patient and support members affected by brain cancer.

Update: I was so pleased to be able to attend the Society for NeuroOncology Annual Conference in Scottsdale Arizona in November. The event drew people from around the world, including over 100 Canadians. The event had many wonderful speakers presenting exciting new research and inspiring stories that aided my growth and learning with regard to neurooncology. Highlights included Dr. David Cachia’s presentation on “Interventions for fatigue and cognitive dysfunction in people with gliomas”, as well as the many presentations that aimed to translate research into improved quality of care for patients. The conference was abundant with interesting research related to ethics, palliative care, and quality of life that created wonderful intersections between cutting-edge science and the human experience. I will carry the knowledge and inspiration gained from the many wonderful minds collected at the meeting forward with me, as it will surely assist me in my future work with patients. I want to thank Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for supporting me in participating in this invaluable experience.

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