President’s Award Winners

2017 – Cait Ford

Congratulations to Cait Ford for being nominated by her peers for the OVHLA President’s Award. Cait served for three years on the OVHLA executive as the CE Coordinator and worked to establish the successful OVHLA mini-symposium event, now held annually. She is an enthusiastic and visionary leader, and was a key player in bringing CHLA to Ottawa in 2019. Thank you for your service Cait!

2018 – Shaila Mensinkai

Congratulations to Shaila Mensinkai for being nominated by her peers for the OVHLA President’s Award. Shaila was nominated for making a significant, long-lasting contribution to the OVHLA community through her leadership in health technology assessment librarianship, and her “behind the scenes” support of search methodology projects, presentations and resources. Thank you Shaila!

2019 – Jeff Mason

Many submissions from the membership nominated Jeff, citing his leadership and teamwork in Chairing the 2019 CHLA Conference Planning Committee – thank you for your service Jeff!

2020 –  The OVHLA Community

This has been the year of Covid-19. So many in the library community have contributed, adapting services, rapid searches for evidence, supporting each other, working from home. This year the award is going out to the whole OVHLA community for our work together. Thank you for your efforts.

2021 – Deborah Scott-Douglas

“For making a significant, long-lasting contribution to the OVHLA community through her strong commitment to the library profession and our association over 20 years at the Canadian Medical Association, and for being a leader and mentor to so many OVHLA members.” Deborah was nominated by the clinical information and CMA Library and Archives teams, Presented by Kelly Farrah. Deborah declined to receive a framed certificate and asked that a donation be made to the OVHLA CE fund instead.

2022 – Tomas Allen

The 2022 OVHLA President’s award is awarded posthumously to Tomas Allen. Tomas started his library career in Ottawa with the “Age and Opportunity” organization where he spent for four years.  In 1997, he moved to the University of Ottawa’s Morisset Library and in 1999 he joined Library Services at the Ottawa Hospital. He served as OVHLA secretary in 2000-1. Tomas is described by former local colleagues as a “kind and gentle giant” who loved his work and was always thinking “outside of the box”. A recent Globe and Mail tribute said he was a “small-town librarian…lanky, bearded and bespectacled husband and father of two who never thought when he applied for a World Health Organization job posting [in 2002] that he would get it; a man who spoke a host of languages, including French, German, Spanish and Swedish, just because he was interested in learning them.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, Tomas was a librarian in the Department of Quality Assurance, Norms and Standards. What started as a small team project to capture the emerging evidence in a comprehensive, free and multilingual database quickly evolved into the award-winning WHO COVID-19 Research Database, with hundreds of thousands of current references and daily traffic averaging 7,000 researchers in over 200 countries. This quote from his brother-in-law, David Gutnick, is a testament to his legacy – “He was the connector of connectors, connecting the thousands of people and studies and journals as they came through each morning.” Tomas died on September 9th, 2022, in a Geneva hospice after a months-long battle with glioblastoma at the age of 61. Through this award, OVHLA is pleased to recognize his contributions to our local Ottawa and global health information communities.

Source: OBITUARY: Manitoba-born librarian Tomas Allen launched an invaluable international COVID-19 database – LISA FITTERMAN and SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL – Published October 6, 2022