Each year a $3000 scholarship is available to persons currently enrolled full time in an occupational and or public health and safety related program at a Southwest or Central-West Ontario college or university. This may include occupational safety/health/hygiene, occupational/physical therapy, nursing, medicine, emergency services or other related fields.
The scholarship is in memory of Tim Hickman, a part-time City of London arena employee who lost his life on the job in 1996. The scholarship is sponsored by the City of London along with CUPE Locals 107 and 101, with the support of Tim’s family and friends. The scholarship represents the importance of raising awareness of occupational health and safety.
Review the application below and contact Amanda Swartman at firstname.lastname@example.org should you require assistance.
A Profile of Tim
Tim was an energetic boy. Tim and his brother Michael always had skates on their feet and a stick in their hands. For hours they played hockey in the house, backyard and on the streets of the neighbourhood. At a young age, Tim knew he wanted to play goal, a dream he realized while attending Laurier Secondary School. He was a team player and he was noted for his sportsmanship. When Tim won any award for any of his talents, he was very aware that he was but one member of the team. Friends and family were important to him and it would be infrequent that he was ever alone.
Tim shared his family with many foster children, including several with medical or physical disabilities. As part of this extended family, Tim developed a special gift for assisting people with special needs to do their best and reach their potential.
Tim's passion for playing hockey led him to his part-time job with the City of London at Silverwoods Arena. This part-time job gave Tim the chance to combine his love of sports with his interest in working with people, while allowing him to pay for his college tuition, car loan on his new jeep and his interests with sports and his friends.
On March 23, 1996, Tim was working alone as the ice-resurfacing machine operator. Tim was filling the wash water tank of the gas powered ice resurfacing machine with hot water. He left the room and returned to find the room filled with steam and vapours. Gasoline in the tank on the ice resurfacing machine located next to the wash water tank overheated and vapours made a path to the nearby natural gas hot water heaters, where they ignited. Tim was caught in an explosion. He was engulfed in flames. The explosion caused the doors of the room to blow onto the ice along with flames and smoke. He ran to alert players and to clear the arena.
The coaches and players on the ice discovered the challenges associated with evacuating the ice in an emergency. Because of the darkness and the smoke, exits from the ice were difficult to distinguish from the rest of the panels surrounding the ice.
A coroner's inquest was held following this incident with 25 recommendations to improve the safety of arenas and equipment for employees and the public.
Like any tragedy there are many links in the chain that must come together to prevent it. Remove one of these links and this tragedy could have been avoided. Links like safety training, properly installed equipment and review of equipment design which had a bearing on this tragedy.
As part of Tim's legacy his family is working tirelessly to promote occupational health and safety to workers, employers and the public. They share Tim's story with students and health and safety consultants to support that education. His friends gather for a golf tournament each year to remember the good times they shared with a good friend. The community hosts a hockey tournament to remember Tim and the lessons learned and to support awareness for arena safety.
During one interview for an awareness campaign, his brother Michael was asked what he would miss most. He replied "What I miss most is what I won't have. Those 50 years that I was suppose to spend with Tim, doing simple things like sitting on a deck and relaxing with him or going to some graduation down the road. I'll miss things like that because someone just couldn't take the time."
Tim's family and his friends are very supportive that the Corporation of the City of London, and CUPE Locals 107 and 101 are sponsoring this significant scholarship. The Tim Hickman Memorial Scholarship represents the importance of raising awareness of occupational health and safety. Your commitment to workplace health and safety demonstrates how one person can make a difference. By raising awareness and developing and supporting health and safety policies, your career path will lead to a solution to the serious issue of workplace tragedies. That solution is prevention.
Shelby Delagardeaux - 2022
Shelby Delagardeauxhas been named as the 2022 recipient of the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship. This annual $3,000 award for students in an occupational or public health and safety related program was established in 2006 by the City of London and CUPE Locals 101 and 107 as a tribute to employee Tim Hickman who died in service to the community at age 21. The Tim Hickman Memorial Scholarship represents the importance of raising awareness of occupational health and safety. As a future paramedic and her vision of making AED devices available in outdoor settings makes her an excellent recipient of this scholarship. A sincere thank you to the Hickman family for continuing not only Tim’s legacy but their commitment to creating a stronger and safer London. Congratulations to Shelby on this well deserved award.
Skylar Synesael - 2021
Skylar Synesael has been named as the 2021 recipient of the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship. This annual $3,000 award for students in an occupational or public health and safety related program was established in 2006 by the City of London and CUPE Locals 101 and 107 as a tribute to employee Tim Hickman who died in service to the community at age 21. The Tim Hickman Memorial Scholarship represents the importance of raising awareness of occupational health and safety. Skylar’s schooling and work experience have kept him on the front lines of the healthcare system during Covid-19. Recognizing how important health and safety procedures are to both workers and patience of the healthcare system, Skylar helped implemented a mask and PPE disposal process for the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital. Skylar’s disposal process not only helped to reduce the spread of infection but also helped reduce the number of masks headed to our local landfills. Congratulations to Skylar on this award.
Patrick Hutchinson - 2020
Patrick Hutchinson has been named as the 2020 recipient of the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship. This annual $3,000 award for students in an occupational or public health and safety related program was established in 2006 by the City of London and CUPE Locals 101 and 107 as a tribute to employee Tim Hickman who died in service to the community at age 21. The Tim Hickman Memorial Scholarship represents the importance of raising awareness of occupational health and safety. As a second-year student in Fire Inspection and Fire Safety Education at Fanshawe College, Patrick has already shown initiative and passion to help implement health and safety in our community to prevent future tragedies. Patrick's commitment to health and safety, in his career path, and in educating others, demonstrates how one person can make a difference. Congratulations are extended to Patrick and thanks to the selection committee.
Katelyn Rieger - 2019
The 2019 Tim Hickman Memorial Health & Safety Scholarship was awarded to Katelyn Rieger, daughter of Steve Rieger from London Fire. This annual $3,000 scholarship for students in an occupational and/or public health and safety related program was established in 2006 by the City of London and CUPE Locals 101 and 107, as a tribute to employee Tim Hickman, who died in service to the community at age 21. Having recently completed her second year of nursing studies at University of Windsor, Katelyn has already shown initiative and passion to help limit hazards and reduce safety risks for both patients and other staff members to maintain the health and safety of all. Along with the $3000 to help with her continued studies, Katelyn will receive a one-year membership to the London chapter of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), which is pleased to support her future health and safety endeavors.
Emily Sturtridge - 2018
Recently completing her second year in the Western-Fanshawe Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Sturtridge has already shown dedication to supporting health and safety in the community. At 29, she calls herself a mature nursing student, and she wanted a way to introduce many of her 19 and 20 year-old classmates to the reality some of their more vulnerable patients face.
In one nursing class during her first year, she presented her idea to create Christmas gift bags for homeless people in the London area, and immediately collected $200 from her peers for the initiative. They raised more than $1600 in their first year, and this past year, gathered personal hygiene items, warm socks and other goodies to create at least 50 care packages. The students walked London streets delivering the packages and having conversations.
“A large population of those who seek healthcare, kind of the revolving door of healthcare, having to come back time and time again, are those who come from more of a vulnerable background,” said Emily Sturtridge. “I think having a good understanding of the possible people that we’re going to meet in our line of work, it’s helpful for me and for my peers.”
The engagement Sturtridge has created with her classmates is “inspiring” to Shirley Hickman, the mother of Tim Hickman, for whom the scholarship memorializes.
As one of the scholarship committee members who chose Sturtridge’s application, Hickman looked for candidates with strong community involvement, using health and safety to make their community better. The Hickman family message is about sharing best practices to prevent injuries to other workers, and Mrs. Hickman saw Sturtridge’s effort to offer kindness to vulnerable people and progress in the nursing field as heartfelt.
“She understands the hazards of living on the street,” said Shirley Hickman. “She’s creating awareness with the other students by having them engaged. She’s promoting awareness, acceptance and education. I think our family feels very privileged. I know everyone I’ve spoken to is like, wow, couldn’t be a more deserving person.”
Sturtridge plans to continue her homelessness awareness initiative, educating current nursing students as she continues her studies, and annually returning to Fanshawe and Western as an alumnus. She points to her nursing program’s focus on equity and social justice in treating patients.
Check out this short video to learn more about Emily.
Colleen Biggs - 2016
A current student of the Western Continuing Studies Program, in Occupational Health and Safety Management, Colleen Biggs is this year’s recipient of the 2016 Tim Hickman Health and Safety Scholarship.
A born and raised Londoner, Colleen holds a Bachelor of Honour’s Specialization in Medical Sciences from Western University. From there she began her career working at the Lawson Health Research Institute where she moved from a Research Assistant to a Lab Manager. She continues to work part-time as a Lab Manager while she is working towards her diploma.
As a Lab Manager, Colleen is aware of how highly dangerous the work environment can be when proper precautions are not taken. The experimental nature of the work, coupled with the large proportion of workers being students and trainees in her lab, means that safety is often overlooked. Colleen took the responsibility for making sure all new lab members received proper institutional safety training as well as specific training within the lab.
Colleen is also a Lawson worker representative for the Joint Health and Safety Committee at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She eagerly jumped on the opportunity to learn not only about creating a safe lab work environment, but also about the concerns and issues of other employees from all different areas of the hospital. Her ability to understand and recognize safety concerns from a unique mix of departments has led her pursue a full time career in overall health and safety.
Her dedication to maintaining a healthy work environment as well as her commitment to providing safe work practices and safety programs to students and staff throughout Lawson Health Research Institute proves she is a very deserving recipient of the 2016 Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship.
Expected to graduate in September, Colleen hopes to take on a different field of work after 9 years in medical research and explore working in the manufacturing sector.
Kyla Bushell - 2015
Kyla Bushell was awarded the 2015 Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship at City Council on October 28, 2015.
"Kyla has clearly demonstrated initiative and impressive leadership abilities. I commend her dedication to health and safety. I wish her the very best," said Mayor Matt Brown.
Currently in her fourth year in the Honours Health Studies co-op program at the University of Waterloo, Kyla has completed three co-op terms in health and safety positions.
At Kyla's first co-op placement, she worked in the areas of occupational hygiene, risk analysis, primary prevention and ergonomic. It was here where she realized her passion for health and safety in the workplace and that she wanted to pursue a career in the field.
While working at her first co-op at a manufacturing plant, Kyla completed a plant-wide industrial hygiene risk assessment where they reviewed each production line and recorded all chemicals, as well as the frequency and duration of use. After making a complete chemical list for each department, she checked the MSDS sheets and WHMIS information, specifically looking out for any designated substances. During her assessment Kyla found a designated substance was being used on the plant floor. With her Health and Safety team this substance was brought to the attention of management and production control where ultimately, it was decided that an alternative product would be used and the hazardous product would be banned from the shop floor. This eliminated exposure to at least 100 people in the plant.
For her second co-op term at different manufacturing plant, Kyla discovered a bottle of the same hazardous substance on the shop floor. She performed an entire investigation of where the product was in the plant and how often it was used. After speaking with management and the Vice President of production the substance was banned. Through Kyla’s leadership this eliminated exposure of this chemical to approximately 50 employees.
Upon graduation, Kyla plans to pursue a career in Health & Safety. Her goal is for organizations and employees themselves to live a safer and healthier life.
Angela Bobbett - 2013
A Fanshawe College student, is aiming to complete her Practical Nursing Diploma Program next year along with the one remaining course that will earn her Ontario College certification in Occupational Health and Safety. She already has received a diploma in General Arts & Science from Fanshawe as well holding a diploma in Psychology and Abnormal Psychology as a graduate of Granton Institute of Technology, Toronto.
A commitment to workplace safely she says was instilled by her mother who was an occupational health & safety professional. Angela’s advocacy for workplace safety includes playing an integral role in union negotiations that resulted in provisions being added to the collective agreement which reinforced details of management responsibility under the Canada Labour Code. This effort, Angela hopes will avoid a repeat of assault injuries she sustained when driving a bus on a route with known safety issues. A former supervisor who was a reference for the scholarship applicant noted Angela’s occupational health and safety training was evident in her day-to-day work. “She contributed to the safety culture and showed true ethics when it came to safe work.”
Avidly involved in the world of scouting, the London mother is a Cub leader and a Scouts Canada volunteer who helps coordinate and plan physical activities that include hikes, camps and other events. Scouts Canada awarded her its Certificate of Commendation in recognition of “generously giving of her time and taking all the necessary training to provide exciting and stimulating programs for the youth of her community.” Locally, Angela has organized community-focused initiatives, too, such as a Cub Scout group winter clothing and blanket drive on behalf of Salvation Army Community Services in London.
And, while the young – and events held for them such as the Woodstock Santa Claus Parade which she has supported a security volunteer – feature in Angela’s extracurricular life her contributions have included group and one-on-one activities with Parkwood Hospital residents. A current cause that has the award-winner’s attention in “making a difference” is the Neurofibromatosis Society of Ontario. As president of the Society, Angela and her fellow board members are implementing an ambitious strategic plan “to push the charity forward through fundraising, awareness and media campaigns.”
Involvement with the Society stems from the fact that her eight year old son, Tyler, has a form of this neurological disorder. He is also the reason for her becoming a dedicated and enthusiastic scout leader, first with a Beaver group and now a Cub group.
Nursing education combined with occupational health and safety credentials are the foundation Angela intends to build on to advance worker rights once she becomes a graduate of her second Fanshawe diploma program
Erica Masur - 2012
With two years in succession as the winner of a memorial award presented by the City of London, Erica Masur may be a first in the Corporation's records! Last year, she won the Heather MacDougall Memorial Award for facilitating the best water smart public relations campaign at a City pool. Now she has been named the 2012 recipient of The Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship.
A Dean's Honour List student, Erica graduated from Western this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. A focus of the nursing career she has newly embarked upon will be "to advocate, educate and promote safe and healthy lifestyles and workplaces." Erica's conviction that preventative measures and education are the way to counterattack many of the injuries, diseases and untimely deaths that affect our society is deeply heartfelt. The drowning of a family friend - she was just 11 at the time - set her on a determined course as a promoter and exemplar of water safety in a variety of capacities as a summer employee of the City's London Aquatic Services Department; most recently as manager of its Southcrest pool.
Along with the Heather MacDougall Memorial Award for her individual achievements - which Aquatic Services described as "inspirational" - the team efforts of Erica's staff won them the water smart "Spirit" award. Particularly noteworthy was the water safety training provided on a voluntary basis throughout the community. Erica and other members of the Southcrest pool team held educational sessions at venues ranging from the Fanshawe Conservation area to a festival in Victoria Park that attracted more than 1,200 participants. The born and bred Londoner has also contributed to community safety through various student placements, for example, along with three peers, Erica helped initiate discussions with City Hall that resulted in traffic pattern changes which now make the walk to and from school much safer for children at Ealing Public School.
In addition to community health promotion, Erica's clinical experience encompassed placements that ranged from hospital cardiac surgery and acute medical units to mental health and long-term care facilities. Along with extensive credentials as a swimming instructor, life guard and first-aid provider, the Londoner's professional development has included advanced cardiac life support, cardiac rhythm interpretation, airway management and wound care.
Membership in several professional associations has been coupled with active involvement as the vice president in charge of Charity Events and Social Committee Promotions Commissioner on the University of Western Ontario Nursing Student Council. Two years ago Erica began devoting some of her weekend time as a "Special Friend" at Camp Trillium family events for children with cancer. Sports such as soccer and snowboarding also are among her extracurricular activities.
Currently working in Emergency Care, under consideration for the future is a return to university to obtain a Masters degree, likely with a specialty in infection control. Meanwhile, her nursing career is underway and through her induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Erica hopes to network within a global community of nurse leaders in education, research and practice who share her passion to make a difference in the health and safety of others.
Michelle Amri - 2010
A discussion on health and safety at the arena where Michelle Amri is teaching for the City's Learn-to-Skate program led to her becoming the 5th winner of the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship. As she explains: "A co-worker informed me of Tim Hickman's unfortunate accident, and, in following up on what had happened, I came across the scholarship."
Michelle - who will be entering her second year of the Health Sciences program at the University of Western Ontario completing an Honours Bachelor of Health Science with a Specialization in Health Promotion – says her long-standing interest in public health "developed into a passion when I began working as a Peer Leader at the Middlesex-London Health Unit."
Health promotion certainly figures prominently in Michelle's part-time and summer employment as well as her volunteer activities. It includes such areas as tobacco and cancer awareness and mental well-being. More recently, she's been involved in the artificial tanning campaign Indecent Exposure which is part of the Health Unit's Youth Engagement Strategy. Another component of her work includes partnering with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to help address the growing epidemic of childhood obesity through the Spark Together for Healthy Kids campaign. Michelle notes that the local initiative she’s helping plan focuses on a variety of topics related to maintaining a healthy-active lifestyle ranging from nutrition guidance to information on how to become more physically active.
In addition to participation in UWO programs ranging from Butt Out! and Meal Exchange to child mentorship (Learning it Together), Michelle is a member of the Youth Advisory Team for the London Health Sciences Centre First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP).
Athletic pursuits are highly varied for the graduate of Saunders Secondary School – badminton, tennis, volleyball and soccer are enjoyed along with ice skating. A music enthusiast, too, Michelle is a violinist who has performed in her high school's orchestra as well as a number of its ensemble groups. She was also an executive member of the Music Council and active in many other programs including the school's Multicultural Race and Ethnic Relations Club, United Way Committee, Safe Schools Committee, Healthy Schools Committee and Cancer Campaign.
Looking to the future she is unwaveringly focused on a career that has "the power to drastically improve the quality of life of many individuals." To this end, one measure Michelle hopes to implement is a basic "Workplace Health and Safety Training" certification program for youth between the ages of 13 and 20. She envisions it encompassing various workplace education needs including mechanical, chemical and hygiene safety as well as legislated aspects such as employee rights and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). The vital importance of this knowledge is underscored in the fact that occupational health and safety statistics show workers in the 15 to 24 age group are far more likely to be hurt on the job.
Each training "unit" would be taught by a qualified professional and has the potential to provide students not only with essential occupational health and safety information but also certification that may be an advantage when applying for employment.
The winner of many academic and athletic awards and other honours throughout high school, Michelle entered the Bachelor of Health Science program with a Scholarship of Distinction from the University of Western Ontario. To now receive the Hickman Scholarship which ties so directly to her commitment to public safety and plan to earn a Masters degree in Public Administration is, in Michelle's words, "a thrill."
Martin Badowski - 2009
The 2009 winner of the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship, is clearly a "do it" person. A University of Western Ontario student in his third year of the Honours Specialization Health Science Program, Martin has chalked up an impressive array of work and volunteer experience in health, safety and community-support endeavours. This includes medical facilities in Toronto - for example, as an Urgent Care Clinic volunteer at the Trillium Health Centre, Queensway and summer employment as a Patient Flow Coordinator in the Department of Radiation and Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital.
On Martin's current roster of community support is assisting rehabilitation therapists in programs for residents of Mount Hope Long Term Care Facility aimed at increasing mobility, strength and overall fitness through stretching and walking exercises. During Reading Week in February he led a group of 15 students, who - as part of the University of Western Ontario (UWO) Alternative Break Experience - worked with community partners that support the local immigrant and refugee population. Their activities ranged from conducting workshops to organizing social events. He is also in the process of developing a website for UWO to increase involvement in volunteer activities through a matching of student skills and interests to the opportunities and needs of various non-profit and community organizations.
Broad as his community commitment is, Martin holds special concern for the environment of the child and how it contributes to the child's health. The fact that an estimated 28,500 children are treated in emergency departments and hospitals annually for playground injuries* set the course for the initiative titled Jr. Medics. Conceived and designed by Martin, this program provides Grade 6 students with an opportunity to learn first aid skills.
As he explains: "Students in this grade were chosen as the primary target population, because the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum states that 'by the end of Grade 6, students will use basic prevention and treatment skills (e.g., basic first aid) to help themselves and others'." However, in investigating further Martin learned this instruction was not mandatory.
The window was there but to open it for Jr. Medics entailed a host of logistics - research on Grade 6 school enrollment numbers; sourcing first aid supplies such bandages, adhesive tape and gauze; developing the lesson plan/training module and recruiting and training UWO students to provide free classroom training in approximately 74 elementary schools of the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB).
"TVDSB seemed a good fit for launching Jr. Medics," notes Martin. "It is the third largest school board in Ontario with a local enrollment of more than 5,000 Grade 6 students." Accordingly, he brought the program idea to the Learning Coordinator of Health and Physical Education, TVDSB. With the endorsement of the TVDSB, Jr. Medics training sessions will get underway in October. Instruction will be provided by two-member teams consisting of student volunteers trained to teach the first-aid program by the highly qualified members of UWO's Student Emergency Response Team (SERT). Some SERT members will also be participating as Jr. Medics instructors in the classroom sessions.
Last year was one of multiple academic distinctions for Martin. He placed first in the Canadian Millennium Excellence Award, National In-Course and was awarded the UWO National In-Course Scholarship as well as making the Dean's List. He was also recently awarded the University Student Council's Honor W Award, and the UWO Student Award of Merit . Among his other accomplishments are certification in St. John's Ambulance CPR-C/First Aid and earning an Ontario Academic Credit Polish Diploma.
Athletic activities kick into his busy schedule too. For the second consecutive year he's run the Mississauga Marathon and also plays goalie for a UWO intramural soccer team.
Upon graduation in 2010, Martin hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Though not completely decided on a specialty, he is pretty certain that he wants his future to lie in community and public health - related fields.
* Injury Prevention Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society, (2002). Preventing playground injuries, 7(4): 255-6
Justin Sharpe - 2008
A University of Western Ontario student in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Justin Sharpe practically walks on water in the mind of many children who have learned to swim with his customized instruction. An avid swimmer himself, and certified in the LifeSaving Society's NLS program, Justin completed Level One of American Sign Language so he could provide swimming lessons to students who are deaf as well those with other disabilities that may require non-verbal communications such as Down's Syndrome.
As he puts it, "I dived head first into the health and safety community by volunteering for the London Blind Swim Program." Awareness of drowning as the leading cause of death for recreational and sporting activities in Canada was a factor in Justin's decision. But equally motivating is his firm belief that knowing how to swim and to stay safe in and around water are among the most important life and social skills for a child to learn. The rewarding experience of seeing a girl or boy develop the confidence to swim on their own and join friends in recreational swim periods is something Justin plans to take further by using his scholarship funding to start a swim school program for deaf children ages three to 14.
Learning of the scholarship opportunity, in fact, came about because of the community and campus volunteer activities that figure so prominently in this Torontonian's life. It was while checking possible venues for a charity basketball tournament that the Hickman Scholarship link on the City's website caught his attention. The fortunate coincidence prompted an application as "an ambassador for this scholarship" along with a plan for "Justin's Swim School for the Deaf."
With one year left to complete his double major in Health Sciences and Psychology, Justin will continue his participation on The University of Western Ontario Student Council as its Health Issues and Sports Commissioner. Initiatives associated with this position include Health Issues and Safety Awareness Week. Aimed at promoting health and safety awareness, the four-day event for students features displays, presentations, complimentary classes and panel discussions. Ongoing, too, will be the responsibilities of Tabling Coordinator for the Israel on Campus Club.
Volunteer involvement has also encompassed peer mentoring and tutoring of students with learning disabilities. As well, Justin, was a Western "best buddy." Internationally based, the Best Buddies program provides an opportunity for college and university students to become friends with individuals with intellectual disabilities.
While the 2008 Hickman scholarship winner is still considering career options - probably something in rehabilitation field - his long term goal is to be "a respected resource for parents and children in the deaf community."
Paula McFarlane - 2007
The excitement and challenge of Paula McFarlane's chosen profession is brought home every time she hears an emergency vehicle siren. "Paramedicine is not a job, it's a lifestyle," says the 2007 Tim Hickman Memorial Health & Safety Scholarship winner.
Paula, who has just graduated from the Paramedic Program at Fanshawe College, looks forward to "whatever the next call or shift may bring. I am ready to dive in head first."
Through clinical placement experience and training, she's already had plenty of opportunities to put this commitment into action working with Thames Emergency Medical Services and the province's air ambulance service as well as other care facilities such as the London Regional Mental Health Centre and McCormick Home and the Emergency Department, London Health Sciences Centre.
Future plans for education in responding to medical and trauma emergencies include the next two levels of paramedic training - advanced and critical care - and completing a university degree in health sciences.
Dedication to promoting health and safety is evident in Paula's volunteer initiatives that range from participation in riot and hostage police training exercises to conducting awareness and education programs at the London Children's Museum such as head injury prevention through the use of helmets and their proper fitting.
Paula's enthusiasm for the paramedic career she is embarked upon includes recognition that meeting the demands and public needs of our community means she and her colleagues have "best practices" responsibilities. It's why she and a classmate developed a lifting program for fellow students at Fanshawe to lessen injury vulnerabilities that affect paramedics. As she explains "work-related injuries are why the majority of paramedics must retire early. This program is only in its beginning stages, but I'm confident that with the proper structuring it can be a success and that hopefully our generation of paramedics will make it to retirement age."
In a related - but broader community context - Paula is also looking forward to a future with more Canadians trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). "It is common knowledge that the early intervention of CPR for cardiac arrest victim can increase the chance of survival, but as I unfortunately learned during a research project for my Paramedic Program, less than 15 per cent of cardiac arrest victims in Ontario actually receive CPR. The majority of cardiac arrest witnesses are between the ages of 40 to 70 and, typically, a spouse or family member. I would like to start a program targeting this age group to effectively learn CPR with training that requires less time and money than is currently the case. In today's world, it is difficult for this age group to give up an entire weekend to learn both First Aid and CPR."
The 2007 Hickman Scholarship winner believes there's potential for this goal to be realized through an initiative similar to the home kit introduced by the American Heart Association. Paula would like to bring the kit CPR Anytime to Canada or create one modelled on its components that include a inflatable practice dummy and DVD on how to perform CPR.
Originally from Forest Ontario, Paula is bilingual and prior to her graduation from North Lambton Secondary School spent six months in Switzerland on an exchange program to enhance her French language skills. Her varied interests and accomplishments include the position of captain for a synchronized skating team and assistant captain of a ringette team.
Alisha McAllister - 2006
The first recipient of the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship is Alisha McAllister, who earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in The University of Western Ontario's School of Kinesiology program following her graduation from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in 2002.
Her busy schedule while completing this academic program included not just courses but also a part-time job and volunteer activities such as working at an accident injury management clinic and assisting with coaching a high school swim team. Active in a variety of athletic and sports areas, Alisha played on several university intramural teams and her personal workouts encompass everything from running and roller-blading to a game of tennis or golf, interconnected with all these pursuits is her passion when it comes to health and safety. This was repeatedly attested to in references that the Selection Committee sought as part of its candidate review for the scholarship recently established in memory of Tim Hickman.
As a member of the Port Lambton Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue Unit crew last summer, Alisha not only had extensive training in first aid and life saving skills but also "hands-on" practice. Her credentials include Standard First Aid with CPR "C", Oxygen Administration Certification and VHF Radio Operator Certification.
In her part-time employment as a pharmacy store supervisor, Alisha is a member of her employer's Occupational Health and Safety Committee. Initiatives she has been involved in include the Committee's promotion of back care and safe lifting techniques as well as advocating mandatory first aid training for all staff.
Next in the education and career plan is completing an Education degree. At this point, Alisha sees her direction as teaching. "It brings together what I've been doing - and learning - from the body movement study of kinesiology to my first aid and safety training experience." She also intends to keep up her advocacy efforts - specifically, the belief that first aid training should be a school curriculum requirement for all students.
There is pleasure - and pride - in becoming the the first recipient of the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship.
"I saw my participation in the scholarship application process as an opportunity to share some safety experiences and ideas," she says. "It was also appreciated as a learning experience. Otherwise, there were no expectations. It was the best news to learn I'd won!"