Island Health Nurse named BC Health Care Hero

June 30, 2016
A long-time Island Health nurse has been named British Columbia’s Health Care Hero.

Heather Dunne, who retired this month after a nursing and health leadership career that spanned five decades, was recognized this week at the 2016 Excellence in BC Health Care Awards ceremony in Vancouver, for her advocacy for increasing the role of Nurse Practitioners at Island Health, and for her commitment to patients in Ladysmith and North Cowichan.

“I am simply overcome with all kinds of emotions,” Dunne said. “I am thrilled to be recognized by my peers and colleagues, and sad to be leaving such incredible people who are so committed to our organization and the people we serve. It has been a privilege to work at Island Health, and this is just a wonderful way to end my career.”

Island Health President and CEO Dr. Brendan Carr extended his congratulations to Dunne on both the award, and her retirement.

“Both are well deserved,” Dr. Carr said. “Heather’s tireless efforts to strengthen relationships with First Nations partners and to improve seniors’ care, as well as her steadfast advocacy for the use of Nurse Practitioners, will ensure quality care in the Cowichan Region well into the future.”

Dunne has played a leading role in developing and implementing numerous innovative programs and care models with a focus on caring for an aging population.

Among her many achievements:

  • Hiring the first Nurse Practitioner at Island Health, and being a steadfast advocate for expansion of the Nurse Practitioner role;
  • Working to break down barriers and forge fruitful partnerships, including with the First Nations Health Authority and First Nations communities in the North Cowichan area;
  • Implementing a Seniors at Risk program to proactively provide support for vulnerable seniors;
  • Leading the North Cowichan Primary Care Development Group as it worked towards improving care for older adults; and
  • In partnership with Stzùminus First Nation, establishing the first Nurse Practitioner Clinic in that community.

The BC Health Care Awards were created in 2007 to celebrate successes in BC’s publicly-funded health care community. They recognize workplace teams, individuals and organizations who strive to support better health care and system sustainability.

More information about the winners of the Excellence in BC Health Care Awards is available at:

Photo: Heather Dunne. Download a high-resolution image from Flickr: http://ow.ly/f4i3301NMyz


Media Inquiries
Kellie Hudson
Media Relations Manager