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BC-CfE researchers earn AccolAIDS

Goldstone, Guillemi, and Harrigan honoured for outstanding contributions to HIV education, treatment, and research

April 20, 2010 - Three senior members of the BC-CfE team were among the "heroes of British Columbia's AIDS movement" honoured at the ninth annual AccolAIDS awards gala on April 18.

Irene Goldstone , Dr. Silvia Guillemi , and Dr. Richard Harrigan were celebrated for their leadership, innovation, and tireless dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS at the sold-out ceremony, hosted at the Vancouver Convention Centre by the BC Persons With AIDS Society .

Goldstone, the BC-CfE's director of professional education and care evaluation, received the AccolAIDS Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of her distinguished career as a nurse, nursing administrator, educator, and program director. Award presenter Dianne Doyle, president and CEO of Providence Health Care, praised Goldstone for her passion and commitment to improving the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS.

"Her strong leadership and insistence on excellence has helped ensure that top-quality care is available to people with HIV/AIDS both today and well into the future," said Doyle.

Since joining the BC-CfE in 1992, Goldstone has been instrumental in the development of the Clinical Education and Training Program . She has taught an HIV/AIDS elective in nursing since 1994 and has coordinated the annual delivery of an inter-professional HIV/AIDS course through the UBC College of Health Disciplines since 1997.

In her remarks, Goldstone said she was privileged to receive the award alongside co-recipient Diana Johansen - a collaborator in the inter-professional course - and thanked the many individuals whose work contributed to the program's success.

"There are so many people in this room who have contributed to this course. It's not actually my course, it's everybody's course, and it takes the collective strength of the community to be the success that we are," said Goldstone.

Committed physician

Dr. Guillemi, clinical coordinator of the John Ruedy Immunodeficiency Clinic (IDC) , received the AccolAIDS Health Promotion and Harm Reduction Award for her passionate work to provide HIV-positive individuals with access to the best possible care. In her extensive clinical activities, Dr. Guillemi provides treatment and care for patients in the IDC, the St. Paul's Hospital AIDS ward (10-C), and the Dr. Peter Centre. She also played a major role in the re-design of the IDC, ensuring that discharged patients and those without a family doctor have ongoing access to medical and social support.

"It would be difficult to find a physician as committed to HIV patients and the community as Silvia is," said BC-CfE assistant director Dr. Rolando Barrios , who presented the award.

In her acceptance speech, Dr. Guillemi praised her BC-CfE and IDC colleagues for playing a vital role in her success.

"I am very lucky to be working with such a great group of people," said Dr. Guillemi. "I believe most of my achievements in my career are due to the fact that I happened to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people."

Innovative research

Dr. Harrigan, director of the BC-CfE's Laboratory Program , won the AccolAIDS Science/Research/Technology Award for his ongoing innovative research that has improved treatment outcomes for patients. Under Dr. Harrigan's leadership, the BC-CfE laboratory introduced Canada's first clinical HIV drug resistance monitoring program. He has also been instrumental in the development of a range of clinical tests now offered through the BC-CfE laboratory, including HLA testing, an integrase resistance assay, and a genotypic test for HIV tropism.

"Though most people living with HIV/AIDS have never met Dr. Harrigan, because of his inspirational and outstanding work, many people are now assured to live long and fulfilling lives," said presenter David Byres, vice-president of clinical programs at Providence Health Care.

Dr. Harrigan accepted the award on behalf of his BC-CfE laboratory colleagues.

"I'll be taking this award into the lab and presenting it to the people that I work with, who are actually responsible for everything," he said. "The whole group will be celebrating this for some time."

Now in its ninth year, the AccolAIDS gala and fundraiser serves to support the programs and services of the BC Persons With AIDS Society. While the proceeds were still being tallied as guests filed out of this year's event, BC Persons With AIDS Society chair Glyn Townson indicated the preliminary count exceeded $105,000.

AccolAIDS will now switch to a biennial format, with the tenth installment penciled in for the spring of 2012. For more information on AccolAIDS, please visit the BC Persons With AIDS Society website:

2010 AccolAIDS Winners

Social/Political/Community Action

Jennifer Evin Jones (Pacific AIDS Network) and Michael Vonn (BC Civil Liberties Association)


The Printing House

Health Promotion and Harm Reduction

Dr. Silvia Guillemi (BC-CfE)

Innovative Programs and Services

Chee Mamuk Aboriginal Program


Dr. Richard Harrigan (BC-CfE)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Irene Goldstone (BC-CfE) and Diana Johansen (Oak Tree Clinic)

Kevin Brown PWA Hero Award

Monique Desroches (Positive Women's Network)


About the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS:

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada's largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility. The BC-CfE is based at St. Paul's Hospital, Providence Health Care, a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. The BC-CfE is dedicated to improving the health of British Columbians with HIV through developing, monitoring and disseminating comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related diseases.


Reproduced with permission - "B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS"

B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS


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