Dr. Mary Lou Kelly

The 2011 Award of Excellence was presented to Mary Lou Kelley, Ph.D., M.S.W., a pioneering and dedicated Professor of Social Work at Lakehead University.

Dr. Kelley is unwavering in her quest to advance quality palliative care in rural Canada and among First Nations communities. She works tirelessly to improve end of life care across diverse settings and populations including leading applied research on how to improve palliative care in long-term care homes and among seniors.

Dr. Kelley’s achievements are too numerous to list in full; among them are:

  • Leading a series of national studies to develop, validate and implement a community capacity development model for advancing rural palliative care
  • Addressing the gap in knowledge between palliative care and geriatrics through the CIHR New Emerging Team on End-of-Life Care for Seniors, a Canadian first
  • Founding the Northern Educational Centre for Aging and Health at Lakehead University (now CERAH)
  • Developing the only Canadian university-based interdisciplinary palliative care certificate program that has been recognized and applied internationally
  • Conducting participatory action research to develop palliative care programs in First Nations communities

Consistently, Dr. Kelley’s passionate contribution to quality end-of-life care, be it advocacy or knowledge translation, is making a difference at the bedside of dying Canadians. As described by one nominator, “Her leadership, commitment and achievements have pioneered new ideas and services that have significantly improved access to quality palliative care, especially for seniors and people living in rural, remote and First Nations communities in Canada.”