University of Alberta Alumni Awards

Alumni are one of the greatest assets of the University of Alberta. Their many diverse contributions to the community uphold the University's tradition of excellence and promise of "uplifting the whole people."

The University of Alberta Alumni Awards recognize these acts and celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni in seven categories. Alumni from the School of Public Health have been the recipients of awards from four of these categories.

Alumni Award of Excellence

The Alumni Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding, recent accomplishments of University of Alberta graduates.

  • Suzanne Carol Tough (PhD '96); awarded 2008

    Suzanne Carol Tough, '96 PhD, is an award-winning researcher and teacher whose work is changing the landscape of maternal and child health care in Alberta by contributing to policy development and practice changes. She is an associate professor at the University of Calgary and the scientific director of the Alberta Centre for Child, Family, and Community Research-Canada's leading provincial research funder for policy relevant research. Widely published, she continues to mentor graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. In 2008, as the co-director of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Interdisciplinary Pre-term Birth and Health Outcomes Team, she received the largest AHRMR award ever-a $5-million grant to combat pre-term birth.

Alumni Centenary Award for Volunteer Service

The Alumni Centenary Award for Volunteer Service recognizes alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication and service to the University of Alberta.

  • Penny Lightfoot (MHSA '83); awarded 2013

    Penny Lightfoot has made an extraordinary gift of time and energy to the U of A through her involvement in the School of Public Health. An executive director with Alberta Health Services, Lightfoot has shared her expertise generously with her alma mater to help the university improve its educational and research programs in public health to meet the needs of students, the practice community and the community at-large.

    Lightfoot has been involved with the School of Public Health on an ongoing basis for more than a decade. As the external representative to the school's faculty evaluation committee since its inception in 2007, she has never missed a meeting. She is also a member of the school's external advisory council and its professional degree committee. In addition, she is a regular guest lecturer and helped create the School of Public Health Alumni Chapter, which she has chaired since its founding in 2011.

Alumni Honour Award

The Alumni Honour Award recognizes the significant contributions made over a number of years by University of Alberta alumni in their local communities and beyond.

  • Margaret Johnson (MHSA '80); awarded 2008
    Margaret Johnson is highly regarded for her outstanding leadership in the municipal, provincial, and national health care community. As president and CEO of Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospitals, she was the first woman appointed to lead a teaching hospital in Western Canada.
  • Jeanne F. Besner (MHSA '85); awarded 2007
    Jeanne F. Besner is one of Canada's leaders in articulating nurses' role in advancing primary health care. In the past, this Order of Canada recipient has served as the director of the Health Systems and Workforce Research Unit with the Calgary Health Region, the chair of the Health Council of Canada, and the president of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. She is currently a director of JFB Workforce Consulting.
  • Kenneth J. Fyke (MHSA '71); awarded 2007

    Kenneth J. Fyke has contributed significantly to Canada as an innovative leader in the fields of health policy and administration. He was the first president and CEO of the Greater Victoria Hospital Society, one of Canada's first amalgamated hospital systems, the first CEO of the Capital Health Region in Victoria, and the founding board chair of the Canadian Blood Services. A former deputy minister of health in two provinces, he authored Caring for Medicare - Sustaining a Quality System, the Report of the Commission on Medicare in 2001. A Member of the Order of Canada, he remains active in overcoming challenges facing our health care system.

  • Donald P. Schurman (MHSA '79); awarded 2006

    Donald P. Schurman has made outstanding contributions to the field of health services in Canada. He served as president and CEO of the University of Alberta Hospital, QE II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, and the Alberta Mental Health Board. He was also the founding CEO of both the Institute of Pharmaco-Economics and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. One of the co-founders of TkMC, which is now part of Sierra Systems Consultants, he is an associate partner with the Edmonton office of Sierra Systems. In addition to serving on the boards of two publicly listed companies and one private, he also serves on many health care and community boards.

  • Jeffrey C. Lozon (MHSA '78); awarded 2005

    Jeffrey C. Lozon is a quintessential health care leader. As president and CEO of Canada's sixth largest hospital, St. Michael's in Toronto, he eliminated a $63-million debt and turned the facility into a model of fiscal responsibility. A strong advocate for the rights of the underprivileged, Lozon spearheaded the hospital's internationally respected Inner City Health Program. He also successfully lobbied for increased federal investment in health research and established Canada's first endowed chair in Inner City Health.

    An associate professor in the department of health policy, management and evaluation at the University of Toronto, Lozon served one year as Ontario's deputy minister of health.

  • Janet Davidson (MHSA '84); awarded 2004

    Janet Davidson is chief operating officer with Vancouver Coastal Health. She was recently elected vice-chair of the Standing Commission of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, its highest deliberative body. She served for six years as a vice-president of the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent. One of Canada's most respected health care executives, she is past-president of the Toronto East General Hospital. Renowned for her visionary leadership, she was called upon by the Ontario government to chair a leadership group of hospitals in the Toronto area during the 2003 SARS crisis.

  • Janet L. Storch (MHSA '77); awarded 2004
    Janet L. Storch is a distinguished nursing scholar and professor. She is a past director and dean of nursing at both the University of Victoria and the University of Calgary and a past director of the University of Alberta's MHSA program. As one of Canada's top nurse ethicists, she was appointed Ethics Scholar in Residence by the Canadian Nurses Association. She has served as president of the Canadian Bioethics Society and the National Council on Ethics in Human Research.
  • Karen Mills (MHSA '79); awarded 2003
    Karen Mills fostered innovative public health nursing programming in Edmonton while gaining a national and global reputation for her expertise. She was appointed to the Canadian Delegation to the World Health Assembly of the WHO in Geneva on four occasions, and co-chaired the landmark First International Conference on Community Health Nursing Research. Among her many awards is the Defries Medal, the highest honour granted by the Canadian Public Health Association for her achievements in public health.

Alumni Horizon Award

The Alumni Horizon Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of University of Alberta alumni early in their careers.

  • Elaine Hyshka (PhD '16); awarded 2019

    Substance use is a health issue that has long been treated largely as a criminal problem. Elaine Hyshka is changing that story by advocating for evidence-based health services and policies that improve outcomes for some of society's most vulnerable citizens. An assistant professor at the U of A School of Public Health, Hyshka is a force to be reckoned with outside university walls, demonstrating how the combination of public health research and clinical care can change thinking and help save lives.

    Her efforts were key in the creation of Edmonton's four supervised consumption sites, which include North America's first acute care hospital-based site. In 2017, she was appointed co-chair of the provincial Minister's Opioid Emergency Response Commission. She is also scientific director of the Royal Alexandra Hospital's Inner City Health and Wellness Program.

  • Kathryn Dong (MSc '07); awarded 2014

    Kathryn Dong an associate clinical professor of emergency medicine at the University of Alberta, has distinguished herself as a champion of initiatives addressing the health needs of inner-city residents. As co-director of the Edmonton Inner City Health Research and Education Network, she recognized that emergency rooms faced a "revolving door" challenge, seeing many of the same patients repeatedly. In 2013, with support from the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, Dong helped launch the Inner City Health and Wellness Program, which sees willing patients referred to an interdisciplinary health-care team that gives them in-depth care and helps link them to primary and community-based care. Dong, who also took a leading role in developing an inner-city health elective for U of A students, wants to see hospitals provide compassionate and holistic care for inner-city residents, not only dealing with their acute issues but also helping to improve the social determinants of health, such as housing and social supports.