By Amanda Boundris
June 21, 2012
University of Ottawa Professor Nancy Edwards, right, with Jennifer Skelly, assistant dean, Nursing Graduate Program at McMaster. Edwards received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from McMaster at a convocation ceremony June 15.
Nancy Edwards, a professor with the University of Ottawa's School of Nursing and Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from McMaster University on June 15.
The award was conferred on Edwards during the convocation ceremony for McMaster's School of Nursing (SON) and Medical Radiation Sciences Program. She is director of the Community Health Research Unit, and scientific director of the Institute of Population and Public Health in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Edwards is also a McMaster alumna, having earned her Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 1982. She has taught with the McMaster SON as well.
At a June 14 luncheon held in her honour, Jennifer Skelly, assistant dean of McMaster’s Nursing Graduate Program, said Edwards is a "terrific mentor" who is "extremely generous with her time and helping others."
Describing her as an "amazing conceptual thinker," Skelly added: "We’re extremely fortunate to have her in nursing and as a terrific example of what nursing leadership can do in this country."
At the June 15 ceremony, McMaster President Patrick Deane said Edwards has "certainly given our university reason to be proud," and that she has "shaped and continues to shape our approaches to public health."
Saying she was "humbled by the award," Edwards noted that she couldn’t attend convocation for her master’s, "so exactly 30 years later, I am delighted to attend the convocation I missed."
In her convocation address, Edwards spoke of how mentors taught her about the importance of inquiry. "Without inquiry, we stop learning about how to make things better for all people," she said, adding that the new graduates have certainly gained skills in this area from McMaster.
She also told the graduating class: "You all have something very important to contribute to the lives of those we serve."
Nancy Edwards is a past recipient of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing National Award for Excellence in Nursing Research; the YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award; and the Elizabeth McWilliams Miller Award for Research Excellence from Sigma Theta Tau International, among other honours. She has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, primarily on health promotion.
The mayor of Ottawa even declared May 10, 2006 "Nancy Edwards Day" in Ottawa.