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Dr. Doris Grinspun

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

As a compelling health-care visionary, a powerful champion for the health of Ontarians, and a passionate advocate for the role of health as a fundamental human right within the province and internationally, we are delighted to celebrate Dr. Grinspun’s extraordinary leadership within the nursing profession. 

Dr. Grinspun is credited for having transformed nursing and healthcare policy and practice within the province and beyond to support a stable and effective approach to health human resource planning. During a period of unprecedented upheaval within the healthcare sector, Dr. Grinspun was able to successfully advocate for improved patient outcomes, enhanced organizational commitment, system-wide cost effectiveness, and sustainability within the nursing profession. Her efforts continue to generate strong support from the government and institutions to invest in full-time employment for all nurses with remarkably positive results.

Dr. Grinspun also transformed nursing and health-care practice at the bedside with the introduction of best practice guidelines, which are now considered across the globe as the model for bringing evidenced-based research to the point of care. With the development of the unique line of healthy work environment guidelines, on topics ranging from client-centred care, teamwork and collaborative practice, embracing cultural diversity, to sustaining nursing leadership to prevent violence in the workplace, Dr. Grinspun again has forged new territory. With ongoing funding from the Province, she has led in the development of over forty clinical practice and healthy workplace guidelines, now available in several languages.      

In 1996, Dr. Grinspun became the Executive Director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). Her passion for advocating for the health of Ontarians and more broadly, global health, is central to all that she does. Her capacity for keen insight into current and emerging healthcare and healthcare system issues, such as poverty reduction and environmental issues, is widely recognized. Her tireless dedication to ensure that Ontario continues to have a sustainable, publicly funded not for profit healthcare system that is accessible to all has won her high praise across the province and the country. Under her leadership, the RNAO has played an important role in interdisciplinary primary healthcare reform since 2002 and for elder health and elder care reform since 2001. 

Dr. Grinspun is also a forceful advocate of the Canadian healthcare system internationally. She has worked on numerous projects in Latin and Central America, China and India, and has published and spoken extensively about nursing, health care restructuring and rehabilitation. The recipient of many prestigious awards for her outstanding contributions and achievements, in 2003 she was invested as a Member of the Order of Ontario in recognition of her outstanding contribution to enriching the lives of others and her achievement of excellence in her field. In 2010, the Organization of American States named Dr. Grinspun one of ten most influential Hispanic Canadians.

A native of Chile, Dr. Grinspun received her undergraduate degree and nursing certification in Israel and her Master’s degree at the University of Michigan. Dr. Grinspun holds a PhD in Sociology from York University, and is a teacher and researcher in Nursing at the University of Toronto, York University, and the University of Ottawa. Dr. Grinspun also holds a number of provincial, national and international appointments including member of the International Advisory Council of the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health, and the Board of Directors for the Canadian Nurses Association.