Faculty of Health honours six outstanding faculty members

Left to right: Dean Harvey Skinner, Maggie Toplak, Tamara Daly, Michael Rotondi, Alison Macpherson, Karen Fergus, Monica Gola and Associate Dean Research Maz Fallah (image: Kamyar Mirzaei)
Left to right: Dean Harvey Skinner, Maggie Toplak, Tamara Daly, Michael Rotondi, Alison Macpherson, Karen Fergus, Monica Gola and Associate Dean Research Maz Fallah (image: Kamyar Mirzaei)

On Nov. 4, six faculty members from the Faculty of Health were recognized with awards for outstanding contributions in the areas of research, teaching and service.

Maggie Toplak, Tamara Daly, Michael Rotondi, Alison Macpherson, Karen Fergus and Monica Gola were this year’s recipients of the faculty awards.

“Congratulations to Tamara, Michael, Monica, Maggie, Karen and Alison, who exemplify our Faculty’s commitment to excellence and leadership,” said Faculty of Health Dean Harvey Skinner. “Through their work, they are leading the transformation in health and human science, as well as inspiring our students to become agents of change for health.”

Maggie Toplak, Department of Psychology
Service Award – Established Career
Nominator: Jim Bebko, Department of Psychology

Maggie Toplak is an associate professor who is involved with several committees at York University. Specifically, she served as the Director of Clinical Training (2011 to 2014), where she undertook the task of completing the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Self-Study for re-accreditation of the graduate program, which is critical for attracting the best students.

In that role, she also put into practice new program developments and brought an extraordinary amount of leadership and dedication.

Toplak has also made important service contributions to undergraduate programs, including serving as a core executive member of the LaMarsh Centre.

In the community, she is well-known for her contributions to the Ontario Psychological Association as well as chairing an annual conference for school psychologists.

“Dr. Toplak is highly deserving of this award for her persistent and outstanding commitment to the University and for her leadership and forward-thinking vision that have advanced the psychology profession and have seriously impacted the research community at the local and national levels,” says nominator Jim Bebko.

Tamara Daly, School of Health Policy & Management
Research Award – Established Career
Nominator: Ellen Schraa, Health & Policy Management

Tamara Daly is an associate professor and CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work & Health. She was nominated for this award by Ellen Schraa for being an “innovative health policy researcher committed to advancing equity in care and care work.”

Daly is the recipient of numerous research awards, including two York University Special Recognition for Research Leadership medals (2013, 2014) and McMaster’s 19th Labelle Lectureship in Health Economics Policy (2010).

She currently holds $6.5 million in tri-council funding.  She is part of a team of researchers (Pat Armstrong is the principal investigator or PI) exploring promising practices and healthy active aging in residential care and work organization in these settings across six countries and four Canadian provinces. Other collaborative studies explore equity of access to cardiovascular care, particularly for the South Asian population and to meet women’s and men’s needs.

She is also the founding member of York’s Centre for Aging Research & Education and a member of the Council of Ontario Universities Ontario Interdisciplinary Council for Aging & Health.

“Her overall approach to scholarship, which exemplifies research excellence and commitment to linking scholarship to training, policy and practice, makes her an excellent candidate for recognition from York University’s Faculty of Health,” said Schraa in her nomination.

Michael Rotondi, School of Kinesiology & Health Science
Research Award – Early Career
Nominator: Christopher Perry, School of Kinesiology & Health Science

Michael Rotondi, associate professor, was appointed in 2011 to create an independent and innovative research program focused on developing new statistical techniques to problems in kinesiology, the health sciences and epidemiology – a unique position in the school and Faculty.

His research is supported by a highly competitive CIHR operating grant to pioneer, develop and apply a novel method of statistical analyses to assessing aboriginal health.

According to nominator Christopher Perry, Rotondi has not only achieved excellence in his role at York, but also in his role on three municipal and provincial health-care panels where his research and expertise are applied to various research programs and health-care procedures.

“Clearly, Dr. Rotondi is already widely recognized as a leader and innovator in biostatistical development and application to health sciences,” said Perry in his nomination.

Alison Macpherson, School of Kinesiology & Health Science
Teaching Award – Established Career
Nominator: Veronica Jamnik, School of Kinesiology & Health Science

Alison Macpherson is an associate professor with a lengthy career at York University as a faculty member in epidemiology and biostatistics, where she has focused on teaching multivariate statistics at the graduate level.

She designed the course and has taught it since she was hired in 2003. It brings an innovative approach to the classroom because students are expected to analyze data from their own field. Many students and faculty have published the results of their data analysis from this course in peer-reviewed journals. The course has received positive reviews from graduate students.

Macpherson, in partnership with Hala Tamim, also developed and taught a basic epidemiology course for graduate students, which has also received positive reviews.

“Alison is an outstanding educator and supervisor who contributes substantially to the graduate program in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences,” says nominator Veronica Jamnik.

Karen Fergus, Department of Psychology
Teaching Award – Early Career
Nominator: Joel Goldberg, Department of Psychology

Karen Fergus is an associate professor who was nominated for this award for being an exceptional teacher.

She is noted as having a true commitment to teaching, which is marked by the depth of her individual student evaluative appraisals.

Nominator Joel Goldberg describes Fergus as a role model who contributes not only to individual clinical and research training, but also enriches the University departmental heritage on internationally recognized expertise in qualitative research methods through her classroom instruction.

Fergus is a national authority in online psychoeducational instruction in psychosocial aspects for breast cancer patients and their families.

“She is a deeply perceptive and sensitive clinical mentor, an innovative and nationally recognized curriculum developer and has superlative specialized teaching expertise in a methodology that places our University on an internationally recognized map,” says Goldberg.

Monica Gola, School of Nursing
Service Award – Early Career
Nominator: Grace Ross, School of Nursing

Monica Gola is the undergraduate program director of the Collaborative Nursing program at York U. She has also taken a leadership role on the joint York-College partners Policy & Curriculum Committee, which is developing a new four-year on-site collaborative program.

She also serves on many other committees and practicum-related areas, including: School of Nursing Culture Design Team, faculty advisor to Nursing Students Association at York, Practicum Committee co-chair, Program Evaluation Committee chair and more.

She also serves the school through regional representation on the UPD Provincial Group.

“It is important to note that while engaged in these pursuits, Monica also continues to teach at the school,” says nominator Grace Ross.