Taking health care training to Ethiopia

By RON FANFAIR

Dr. Angela Cooper-Brathwaite has made significant health care contributions, both in her native Trinidad & Tobago and Canada. She’s now preparing to broaden her horizons with a visit to Africa as part of the Ethiopian Canadian Nursing Collaboration (ECNC) that is an evolving partnership featuring the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, the University of Addis Ababa Faculty of Nursing and the Canadian and Ethiopian Nurses Associations.

Cooper-Brathwaite leaves next month for a four-week volunteer assignment at the University of Addis Ababa where she will contribute to supporting the Masters program by teaching a variety of research courses and providing direct guidance in thesis development as part of the overall strategy to build Ethiopia’s nursing profession.

“I am looking forward to the trip because it will be my first visit to Africa,” said Cooper-Brathwaite, a program manager with the Durham Region Health Department. “I also enjoy teaching because it gives me a chance to mentor the younger generation of nurses.”

She said her passion and love for nursing and helping others was inspired by her mother who was also a nurse in T & T.

Fifteen months after becoming a registered nurse in San Fernando, Cooper-Brathwaite came to Canada in 1975 to work with the Grenfell Regional Health Authority in Labrador.

“I was browsing through a nursing journal when I saw the advertisement,” she recalled. “I met the criteria and so I decided to apply and I was accepted.”

She spent six years in Newfoundland, obtaining her Bachelor’s degree at Memorial University in the process before moving to Manitoba to purse her Masters. She taught at Red River College in Manitoba for two years prior to relocating to Ontario in 1987 to work as a clinical nurse specialist at the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital which is now the Whitby Mental Health Centre.

In 1990, Cooper-Brathwaite accepted the position of Director of Nursing at Oshawa General Hospital which is now Lakeshore Health Oshawa. She held that post for a decade.

“I wanted to pursue my doctorate, but I couldn’t while doing 12 hour shifts daily,” she said.

The U of T assistant professor has been recognized with several awards and honours for distinguished service in nursing. They include the prestigious Lawrence Bloomberg award.

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