Centenary Medal – Gillian McKay

Gillian McKay, a 2009 UBC Nursing graduate, has worked in humanitarian, development and clinical spaces for the last 10 years.  She sincerely regrets that she will not attend the Centenary Gala to accept the Medal, as she is deployed with the World Health Organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo working to end the Ebola outbreak in the conflict zone of North-Kivu.

Gillian is completing a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), focused on preserving access to reproductive health services during infectious disease outbreaks.  Her research is inspired by her experiences working in community, clinical and policy contexts in Sierra Leone during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola epidemic. Prior to studying for her DrPH, Gillian worked with on the global technical team of an NGO as a health and behaviour change advisor.

Central to Gillian’s professional and research careers has been her focus on supporting others to perform their best. With WHO she works with non-governmental organisations and the DRC Ministry of Health to strengthen infection prevention and control in health facilities. At GOAL she worked with country-based teams as they developed strategies to ensure that programs in primary health care, WASH, nutrition, and gender were evidence-informed and responsive to local needs. At LSHTM Gillian was part of a multi-country South-North collaboration building supportive structures for outbreaks, including capacity-building with African research institutions.

Gillian has an MSc in Public Health from the LSHTM and BScs in Nursing and Integrated Sciences from the University of British Columbia. She is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar for her DrPH, and was awarded UBC Nursing’s Young Alumni Award in 2015.