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CHAIR Patient, Family and Caregiver Scholarship

In collaboration with Community & Healthcare-Acquired Infection Reduction (CHAIR), Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC Canada) offers a scholarship which will provide funding for one or two patients, caregivers or patient family members to attend the IPAC Canada National Education Conference.

In order to apply for this scholarship, applicants: 

  • Should  be members of a national or provincial Patient Safety organization.   
  • Should actively work with a national or provincial Patients for Patient Safety organization, a patient-led program of  Healthcare Excellence Canada that shares their safety experiences to help improve patient safety at all levels in the health system. and 
  • Must have an eagerness to participate and learn from the conference education sessions. 

The CHAIR Scholarship is generously sponsored by CHAIR.


2023 Scholarship Winner - PRACHI KHANNA & ELAINE NG

PRACHI KHANNA was fifteen when her grandmother was in critical care at the end of her life. In 2015, after being admitted to the acute medicine unit for two weeks, she was in septic shock. About two years later, Prachi read the landmark To Err is Human report by the US Institute of Medicine. Having just begun making sense of what had happened to her grandmother, Prachi knew that the reason for her admission had been non-infectious. Somewhere between acute and critical care units, she had acquired a preventable infection. This was Prachi’s introduction to the world of patient safety. Since then, she has worked on patient safety initiatives in various capacities. Prachi has been working on the Transitional Care Program (TCP) in the Renal Department at St. Paul’s Hospital (Providence Health Care) in Vancouver. As Co-Lead, she has been heavily involved in the development of this novel program, which is a knowledge translation initiative, aiming to provide a soft landing for patients as they transition to life on dialysis. Through the collaborative effort with the team of clinicians, department leadership and patient partners, they are instilling IPAC education for patients and families into the standard of care so they can be actively involved in infection prevention. As a patient partner, Prachi serves on the Patient Voices Network Oversight and Advisory Committee working with the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council and stakeholders from across the province 2023 C.H.A.I.R.* Scholarship *Coalition of Community and Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction to create opportunities for patient and healthcare partners to collaborate on patient safety initiatives. She is a member of BC SUPPORT Unit’s Patient Council. She is also collaborating with a team at the University of Calgary and the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit on a patient-oriented research project. This patient-oriented work aims to integrate patient perspectives to codevelop resources that actively engage patients and families in their care, promoting patient safety in the health system. Prachi is an IPAC Certificate student at the University of British Columbia. She has gained hands-on experience through a practicum this term, learning from infection control practitioners in acute and community settings. With insights from her experience in patient-oriented health systems and services research, program faculty encouraged Prachi to reflect upon the “team sport” nature of IPAC and, importantly, the need to include patients and families in these conversations. Additionally, she is analyzing data for a study exploring the personal protective equipment practices of healthcare providers caring for patients with COVID-19 in the acute care setting. In the last few years of the pandemic, Prachi has been reflecting on the nuances that exist in the interactions occurring between people within the healthcare system and at the intersections within the system itself. As an aspiring healthcare provider, she wonders about how IPAC practices are evolving to meet emerging issues, such as antimicrobial resistance, patientcentric healthcare facilities design and provision of acute care in non-hospital environments, now and in the future. Prachi’s experiences with infection education and prevention cross several boundaries, including personal, professional, and academic interests. Prachi will apply what she learns in her committee and patient advocacy work, engagement with patient safety initiatives, and professional work in IPAC in addition to research.

Using learnings from the IPAC Canada conference, ELAINE NG hopes to raise awareness, not just as a healthcare professional, but also as a family member with a loved one who relies on consistent and thorough IPAC practices to prevent infection. Elaine’s father is a recent kidney organ transplant donor and the fear of the COVID19 pandemic constantly looms in his mind. As per the 2023 IPAC conference theme of Resilience, Recovery, Reunited: The Path Forward, Elaine has demonstrated resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She worked on the frontlines during the pandemic. She came to work motivated to protect the patients, herself, and her family from the COVID-19 virus by taking extra precautions. She has worked through several outbreaks and supported coworkers when necessary. Elaine encouraged a frontline staff member not to

2020 Scholarship Winner - Katharina Kovacs Burns

Katharina Kovacs BurnsKatharina Kovacs Burns is a current and active member of Patients for Patient Safety Canada, but has also been in patient safety with the WHO Patient Safety Alliance through the International Alliance of Patient Organizations since 2005. Katharina was one of ten individuals in Canada who helped to establish a Canadian patient safety group and co-founded PFPSC in 2007. Her interests in patient safety include the prevention and control of infections not only with patients in acute care settings but also with clients in community settings and the general public as part of public health and health promotion.

Please see Katharina's full story here.


Testimonials (former Prescientx Scholarship)

Testimonials from 2019 Scholarship Winners 

Theresa Malloy-MillerCANDACE SHEWCHUK -The Conjoint Conference was great! As a patient, I have to keep my knowledge current with infection control practices, and the Conference adhered to patient safety initiatives which I was able to learn from! Having a conjoint conference was amazing as I was able to learn about practices in different countries. Advocating for patient safety can be hard as patient yourself, as we often enjoy the work of our caregivers. Being knowledgeable about what practices are being performed on you as a patient, as well and knowledge about standards is important as patients can help to reduce harm to themselves if they are knowledgeable. The conference definitely helped me learn from things such as antibiotic resistance, to things such as sterilization and disinfection. I am grateful I was able to learn about all the different knowledge areas in IPC.

Kim NeudorfLOVIE SPICER -I would like to Thank IPAC Canada and IFIC for the opportunity to represent patients and family at the conjoint historic conference. A huge thank you to Barry Hunt from Prescientx for sponsoring the bursary. I am grateful to Mr. Hunt and Prescientx for their conviction to patients and commitment to patient safety. They are creative innovators in the field of infection control.

Infection control affects quality care, length of stay, rehabilitation from illness and improves ability for staff to provide care. The concerns of infection control affect patient, staff and caregivers. It is one of the most important variables in a patient’s recovery.The knowledge I have gained from this conference from various aspects of infection control is an asset to share with the Saskatchewan Health Region and has greatly increased my value as a patient family advisor. Each one of my Patient Advisor projects exposes me to different opportunities to bring to the forefront ways to help improve the patient experience with regards to infection control.

In all the various hospital stays of my loved ones, a concern was always that with already weakened compromised immune function that they did not contract any other infections. Learning about this topic is a concern for all of us. We need to keep those who are already battling poor health safe from further complications.Thank you to all the brilliant Nurses, Medical Specialists, Researchers, Doctors and Infection Control Specialists that dedicate their life to helping people that I had an opportunity to meet and learn from. For all of us, our health is our wealth, and we all have an investment in how our health care system will work for all of us. We never know when we will become a part of it as a patient or a care giver. It affects everyone.

Testimonials from 2018 Scholarship Winners

Theresa Malloy-MillerTHERESA MALLOY-MILLER - The IPAC Conference in Banff Alberta was a very helpful overview of current issues, concerns and solutions for infection control. I enjoyed numerous discussions with participants who were very passionate about making healthcare safer through effective infection control strategies. The 'patient voice' I offered was eagerly welcomed. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to gain knowledge that will certainly assist me in patient safety activities in which I am involved. The bonus was- this was also a very fun conference in a beautiful Canadian setting!


Kim NeudorfKIM NEUDORF - Two of my family members were seriously compromised by infection: I therefore wanted to be involved in helping to establish the safest hospital systems and practices. With the Class I Inc. scholarship to attend IPAC 2018 in Banff, I learned a lot from the esteemed speakers, the innovators and dedicated healthcare workers at each table! I left with renewed energy to do my part as a patient advisor in the area of infection control and as a member of the public.