McNally Project Senior Fellow Cheryl Cameron was awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal at a virtual ceremony in January 2023. Cheryl was recognised for her services to palliative care in Canada.
Cheryl is instrumental in enhancing palliative care access and delivery in Alberta and nationally. In 2014, she led the development and implementation of Alberta’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Palliative and End-of-Life Care Assess, Treat and Refer (PEOLC) program. Cheryl recognizes that most patients with serious illnesses prefer to be cared for in their homes and communities and that paramedics have a role in supporting these individuals to receive care in their own community, rather than being transported to an emergency department.
Cheryl is not constrained by “the way things have always been” and it is her open-minded thinking that leads to meaningful change. Innovations like this require extensive collaboration and Cheryl, a bridge builder, connected relationships with Indigenous communities, government, continuing care, homecare, dispatch, ambulance operations, educational institutes, frontline clinicians, and patients, families, and caregiver to bring this program to life. A visionary, her leadership has cultivated the scale and spread of EMS palliative care programs nationally. Her academic contributions serve as a blueprint for other jurisdictions to replicate this innovative program that serves those living with serious illness, a mark of her ongoing advocacy in this space.
As a respected researcher and educator, Cheryl designs foundational education for healthcare providers and their families on palliative care and grief support. Albertans can be confident knowing they are receiving the best palliative care when accessing EMS. Cheryl’s leadership and courage in this field has not only improved the care of people at the end of their life but has opened opportunities for paramedics optimize the quality of life for other populations such as people living with mental health needs or those who are vulnerably housed. She is a compassionate and inspiring role model and an authentic leader, helping to improve the quality of life for thousands of people.
We are very proud of Cheryl and her achievements to date. Well done Cheryl!