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OSMH nurse and educator wins Diabetes Educator of the Year award

11/24/2010 12:00:00 AM

(Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - Orillia, ON) – Years of helping children understand and cope with diabetes has earned national honours for Whitney Gowanlock, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH). 


Gowanlock was presented with the 2010 Diabetes Educator of Year award at the Canadian Diabetes Association’s annual conference in Edmonton, AB. The award is presented annually to a Diabetes Educator who has demonstrated outstanding effort and achievement in the role of diabetes education.


“I’m very honoured to have been chosen to receive this prestigious award,” said Gowanlock.  “There are many others who do tremendous work everyday to lessen the burden of diabetes on children and I’m happy to contribute in any way that I can.” 


Gowanlock started working in adult diabetes education in 1994 before joining the paediatric diabetes program when it began at OSMH in 1998. 


“I just love working with kids,” said Gowanlock.  “We have some patients who’ve been with us since the program started 12 years ago and it’s almost like they’ve become part of the family.”


Her role as a diabetes educator involves teaching and supporting children and their families in a paediatric inpatient unit and outpatient diabetes education centre. As a certified pump trainer, Whitney trains children, teens and their families to use pump therapy.  


Whitney’s commitment to diabetes also involves managing a First Nations Screening and Treatment Program for the past several years. Her work in this area has recently been recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with a funding grant to further explore the model.  Whitney’s areas of interest are children struggling with diabetes management and coping skills, training and pump education, and standardizing teaching materials across Canada.   


"Whitney is an outstanding paediatric diabetes educator and has been pivotal in building the Regional Paediatric Diabetes Education Centre (RPDEC) into one of the foremost programs in Canada,” said Dr. Gary Smith, Medical Director of the RPDEC at OSMH. “Her ability to manage the intricacies of diabetes in patients ranging from 3 months to 18 years is unequalled.  Whitney has dedicated her life to assisting families and children live a normal life with this chronic disease. She is a strong leader of our multidisciplinary team and has made a huge difference to the lives of many children. This national award is well deserved." 


The Diabetes Educator of the Year Award was presented on October 21 at the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA)/ Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (CSEM) Professional Conference and Annual Meetings in Edmonton.


“It is truly an honour for the Canadian Diabetes Association to present this award for outstanding involvement in diabetes education,” said Aileen Knip, Chair, Diabetes Educator Section, Canadian Diabetes Association. “Helping children and their families make sense of living with diabetes requires a knowledgeable and committed healthcare team including a compassionate, creative and inclusive educator – all qualities of Whitney Gowanlock.”


About the Canadian Diabetes Association
Today, more than nine million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes.  Across the country, the Canadian Diabetes Association is leading the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while we work to find a cure.  Our community-based network of supporters help us provide education and services to people living with diabetes, advocate for our cause, break ground towards a cure and translate research into practical applications.  For more information, please visit diabetes.ca


About Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital  

Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) is located in Orillia, Ontario (just 114 kilometers north of Toronto) and serves more than 440,000 residents in North Simcoe Muskoka. OSMH provides a comprehensive range of programs and services, including medical, surgical and emergency care, dialysis, obstetrical and paediatric care, oncology, complex continuing care, mental health and rehabilitation services. For more information please visit our website at www.osmh.on.ca.


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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:


Terry Dyni, Director, Community Relations

T: (705) 327-9179

E: tadyni@osmh.on.ca  

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