In 2003, Doris Grinspun’s name became synonymous with nurses working on the frontline during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis in Ontario. As executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, she pushed relentlessly to ensure the safety of the nurses and other health care professionals working in hospitals coping with the SARS outbreak. Grinspun has fostered partnerships with government, health care, professional organizations and other civil society groups to strengthen Medicare. Grinspun, a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology in York University’s Faculty of Arts, has worked to represent the interests of nursing professionals and to advance health public policy in Ontario since joining the organization in 1996.
Right: Doris Grinspun
On March 31, the government of Ontario acknowledged Grinspun’s tireless efforts on behalf of nurses and the Ontario public by awarding her the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest award for excellence in any field of endeavour. Grinspun was one of 25 residents of Ontario to receive the award, bestowed by Lt. Gov. James Bartleman in an investiture ceremony that took place in the lobby of the Ontario Legislature.
“These outstanding Ontarians come from all walks of life, and represent almost every major field of endeavour,” said Bartleman. “Each has had a significant impact on the community here in Ontario and, in many cases, around the world.”
Premier Dalton McGuinty also paid tribute to the new members of the Order at the investiture. “In your lives and in your work, you remind us that what is important is not what you have but what you give,” he said. “I urge all Ontarians to follow the example you have set, to work hard on behalf of their communities and this province.”
A native of Chile, Grinspun has an RN from Hadassah School of Nursing in Jerusalem, Israel; a baccalaureate degree from Tel Aviv University in Israel and a masters in nursing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Grinspun is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, an associate member of the Centre for Health Promotion at the University of Toronto, an affiliate member of the Centre for Health Studies at York and an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CERLAC) at York.
From 1996 to 1999, she was the Chair of the Acquired Brain Injury Network of Metropolitan Toronto, a network representing all publicly funded agencies. Since 1992, Grinspun has worked on many international projects funded by the World Health Organization in Latin and Central America.
Grinspun has published and spoken extensively both in Canada and abroad. Her research interests are in the areas of the nurse-patient relationship, health services restructuring, professional practice and rehabilitation.
About the Order of Ontario
The Order of Ontario is the province’s most prestigious official honour. The award was created in 1986 by the government of Ontario to recognize the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field. The men and women invested in the Order are representative of the best of Ontario’s caring and diverse society. Their lives have benefited society in Ontario and elsewhere.
The insignia of the Order is a stylized trillium, in white and green enamel, edged in gold. In the centre of the trillium is the shield of arms of the province, surmounted by the crown. The ribbons of the Order are red (the colour of the Ontario ensign), white, green and gold.