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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Barford Nursing Scholarship reaches midway funding mark

By Mike Hajmasy


Five years in to a 10-year funding commitment, 16 CAMH nurses have had the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in nursing, health administration, clinical informatics or another related field thanks to a generous investment made by the Ralph M. Barford and John and Jocelyn Barford Foundations.

With the aim of attracting, developing and retaining skilled nurses for advanced practice and leadership roles, the Barford Advanced Practice Nursing Scholarship is proving a useful model for professional development at CAMH.

The Barford Advanced Practice Nursing Scholarship, with oversight by Margaret Gehrs (centre), Director of Interprofessional Practice aligns well with the 2017 Best of CAM​H initiative. CAMH nurses like (L to R) Mareena Mathew, Kwasi Adu-Basowah, Sheldon Hubert and Astrid Fernando receive ongoing support and mentorship from nursing and other leaders across the organization.

“Mental health and addictions services are integral to Canada’s health care system, yet it can be difficult to recruit experienced nurse leaders with advanced practice, management or clinical informatics experience in this field,” explains Margaret Gehrs, Director of Interprofessional Practice at CAMH. “The Barford Scholarship develops nursing leaders through a unique internship and mentorship model, which aims to foster confidence, critical thinking and leadership competency development in the mental health and addictions context.”

Funding is reserved for CAMH employees and will support a total of 23 nursing graduate students attending Canadian universities by 2022.

Experience that supports education


Barford funding also covers 18 paid internships for advanced postgraduate training in mental health and addiction nursing. To date, 10 Barford Scholars have completed the six-month internship program, including Mareena MathewKwasi Adu-BasowahSheldon Hubert and Astrid Fernando who are finishing this month.


“The learning experience, unique to CAMH, has been invaluable to my development as a nursing leader,” says Astrid who interned in an Advanced Practice Clinical Leadership (APCL) role in the Acute Care Program. The group spoke about the importance of this scholarship at Professional Practice Office (PPO) Rounds on Tuesday, January 9.

Barford interns took questions from a packed room of CAMH nursing colleagues in a panel-style discussion hosted by APCL-Nursing Alison Watson (left).

The generous financial and mentoring support of the Barford Scholarship opened the door to an exciting APCL internship in clinical informatics,” adds Sheldon. “I have learned so much about what opportunities, professional roles and specialized areas of leadership exist within our organization.”


Importantly, the Barford initiative is addressing the gaps in nursing leadership by developing leaders from within. So far, six of the 10 Barford Scholars to complete internships have transitioned into leadership roles, and it’s expected that this number will rise.


“We recognize the mutual benefits of this initiative, not only for the Barford Scholars and Interns, but for our community of mentors and the organization as a whole,” says Rani Srivastava, Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice. “This has been and will continue to be a rich opportunity to develop our future nursing leaders.”​​​​​​​​​

Published January 18, 2018​​

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