Lifetime Achievement Award for Professor Emeritus Elaine Gallagher

Elaine Gallagher

The Duke University School of Nursing has recognized UVic Nursing Professor Emeritus Elaine Gallagher with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Elaine Marie Gallagher, PhD, MSN’76, BSN

Professor emeritus at the University of Victoria School of Nursing and adjunct professor in the gerontology program at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Elaine Gallagher is an international professional leader in understanding the relationship of people and their environments as they age, with a primary focus on falls prevention in the elderly. Her research in this area spans 20 years and has contributed significantly to policy and practice changes across Canada.

Gallagher held a leadership role and was a founding member of the World Health Organization’s Age-friendly Cities initiative and served on the steering committee that developed the original protocol for this work. She led the research in Saanich, British Columbia, one of the first cities in the world to trial this community development project. Gallagher served as an adviser to a special task force in Washington, D.C., to develop a Medicare-funded fall assessment for physicians.

Gallagher began her nursing education in Saskatchewan at Gray Nuns’ School of Nursing. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Windsor and her Master of Nursing from Duke in 1976. Gallagher went on to complete her PhD in gerontology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), conducting a dissertation on the “Emotional, Social and Physical Well-Being of Inmates as They Age in Federal Prison.”

She has received numerous awards and commendations for her scholarship and research including a Women of Distinction Award in 1996 from the Victoria YWCA for her work on elder abuse in gerontological nursing. In 2002 she was named top nurse researcher in Canada by the Canadian Association of Nurse Researchers. In 2007, she was named Outstanding Alumni of the Year by SFU. She retired in 2010.

As a cancer survivor, Gallagher serves on the board of the Canadian Colorectal Cancer Society and is vice president of the Saanich and Gulf Islands NDP Constituency Association. She served as Rotary president for three years.

In her retirement, Gallagher is working with First Nations across British Columbia on a project to reduce falls and fires among elders living on reserves. She has also written a historical novel called “Sisterships” that is based on the life of her grandmother, who claimed to have had a ticket on the Titanic but missed it and came to America on a sister ship. She has also written a play, titled, “Alter Egos.” Gallagher has two children, four grandchildren, and a great granddaughter.

Her nominator writes: Elaine Gallagher is a sensitive, creative, capable, and conscientious researcher who is well known and respected around the world. She represents a unique and much-needed and desired model in geriatric nursing, which combines the advancement of science, as well as the practice of caring for older people. Her outstanding research, teaching, and service records deserve to be associated with the name of one of the greatest schools of nursing.