Alison Rice (BSN ’67)

A graduate of the BSN program in 1967, Alison began her nursing career in pediatrics at St. Paul’s, but quite quickly felt the pull of adventure and headed off to San Francisco. There, she worked as a staff nurse in neonatal ICU and pediatrics at San Francisco area hospitals before moving into community positions at a family health centre first in public health and then as an Ob-Gyn Nurse Practitioner (Maternal Nurse Associate certification). Completing her master’s degree in Maternal Child Nursing at the University of California, she headed off to the University of Hawaii for a year of teaching, and on the basis of that incredibly broad base of skills, was recruited back to UBC to become an Assistant Professor in 1974. A few years later, taking a sabbatical in England, she obtained her state certification in midwifery in 1981.

Returning to Vancouver, Alison launched what would become a central focus of the remainder of her career establishing at the old Grace Hospital a pioneering “pilot project” to convince the health care system and the public of the contributions that midwifery could make to maternal child care. Devoting many years of hard work to exemplary (voluntary) clinical practice, building an evidence base, and political advocacy, Alison and her colleagues were the activists whose contributions eventually resulted in the legalization of midwifery in British Columbia.
During her time in the School, Alison was also known for her profound interest in cross cultural and international work, another remnant of her time in the San Francisco clinics. She was among the early faculty participants in the School’s Punjab-based Guru Nanak Partnership Project in 1998, bringing to India her solid expertise in nursing education and her grounding in maternal child care. Over a career of almost 33 years, Alison was respected by her colleagues as a feisty feminist activist, a diehard proponent of safe and effective women’s health service, and someone who has never shied away from a political battle if she believed it in the best interest of the people she served. She continues to support initiatives advancing women’s health in her well-earned retirement.