Two outstanding University of Northern British Columbia alumni, a health-care provider who has worked with marginalized populations around the world, along with a long-time champion for women’s health and education received 2018 UNBC Distinguished Alumni Awards recently for their leadership and service.
Sam Milligan, a Registered Nurse who earned his Master of Science degree in Community Health at UNBC in 2012, received the Professional Excellence Award based on his outstanding professional contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of society.
Helen Domshy, who received her Master of Arts degree in Gender Studies in 2001, earned the UNBC Alumni Community Service Award for her significant volunteer accomplishments and her impact with several volunteer organizations.
Domshy, a retired medical radiation technologist, is a long-time champion for women’s health and education, community service, and a UNBC advocate who has a passion for learning.
“As UNBC graduates, both Sam and Helen have made outstanding contributions to their communities and professions in which they serve,” said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “They are exceptional leaders who continue to influence those around them.”
The award recipients are selected by a special awards committee based on nominations submitted to the UNBC Alumni Council.
“This year’s award recipients showcase the talent and quality within our alumni community,” said UNBC Alumni Council President Andrew Seabrook. “They are two more great examples of how UNBC graduates are taking leadership roles and making a difference.”
MSc, Community Health, 2012
Milligan is a Registered Nurse who has devoted his time caring for the health and wellness of marginalized people around the world, including rural Africa, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and rural and remote Indigenous communities in Northern B.C.
Since 2015, Milligan has worked at Carrier Sekani Family Services as an Integrated Care Coordinator where he has been instrumental in developing CSFS Integrated care teams, monitoring and analyzing quality of care to support initiatives to offer best practices that address patient safety and enhanced quality of care.
Prior to his role at CSFS, Milligan developed and implemented prevention, testing & treatment practices to improve services for blood-borne pathogens such as, Hepatitis C and HIV at Northern Health.
He has worked as a HIV Nurse clinician at Central Interior Native Health Society where he provided education of HIV prevention and transmission, cared for those individuals living with HIV and provided pre and post-test counselling.
He co-developed the Medication Adherence Support Program, a partnership between Northern Health, CINHS and Positive Living North. It was a daily support program to work with heavily marginalized clients who otherwise would have not succeeded on HIV treatment.
Milligan had a similar role as a community health nurse at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority at Insite, a supervised drug consumption site in the Downtown Eastside. There he provided wound care and overdose management, client education, psychosocial and addictions counselling and HIV and Hepatitis C prevention education.
From August to December 2007, Milligan worked in Katse Dam, Lesotho in rural Africa with the Clinton Health Access Initiative as a clinical nurse mentor.
He implemented and evaluated a number of disease prevention and health promotion programs such as prevention of mother-to-child transmission, early testing of HIV in infants and offered adult and children treatment for HIV.
“UNBC helped my career in many ways, but the two that stand out the most are the access to professors and the regional connections I was able to make through the University Hospital of Northern B.C. I appreciate that UNBC has chosen to recognize the work I have done and continue to do.”
MA, Gender Studies 2001
Prior to enrolling at UNBC for graduate studies, Domshy was a full-time mammographic technologist at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. and a clinical instructor.
Upon earning her master’s degree, Domshy immediately got involved in the University’s Alumni Association’s executive. She initiated a development process for the Memorandum of Understanding with UNBC as well as the full-time Alumni Relations position.
She was elected to UNBC’s Senate, a position she held for three years while also teaching Gender and Women’s Studies 498, Women in Sacred Tradition in 2007 and 2009.
In addition to her career in medical imaging, Domshy was a popular lecturer whose presentations specialized in the link between breast cancer and mammography. The results from her thesis research were added to her existing lectures.
Domshy raised more than $20,000 in seven years for children’s literacy projects in her role as the Literacy Outreach Co-ordinator for Prince George.
She was the primary author for the Northern John Howard report: Spousal Abuse for Men in Prince George and the Literacy Prince George workbook for the Kitchen Table Learning Program. She wrote a history of the Highway of Tears for the Prince George Sexual Assault Centre and travelled for the Highway of Tears Travelling Art Exhibit.
Domshy trained to discuss the paper, Pensions in Canada: Policy Reform because Women Matter, through the Women Elders in Action group. She travelled extensively throughout Northern B.C. giving presentations and soliciting support for this federal initiative.
She served as emcee for charitable organizations and events, such as the Rainbows Fashion Show, Festival of Trees and AimHi.
She sat on the board of several agencies including the Learning Differences Centre, Vantage Vision and Reading and Raise-A-Reader.
She was a Lay Minister, and a general volunteer for St. Michael and All Angels Church.
Domshy now lives in Penticton and she remains a strong advocate for UNBC.
“I am delighted to be receiving this award. UNBC took me to a new and exciting road to learning. Being an advocate for education and with the expansive definition of literacy, my degree has allowed me to support and work with so many dedicated people in Prince George. UNBC has welcomed me, challenged me and includes me into an on-going discussion of life-learning. I am proud to call UNBC home.”