Flags lowered for Michele Arnesen

On Saturday, Nov. 27, the lowered university flags include honouring health informatics doctoral student Michele Arnesen (Perry), who passed away on April 16, 2021 following a year-long struggle with lung cancer. 

In addition to her PhD studies, Arnesen was also a UVic nursing alum. She is survived by her husband John, sons Ty and Marc Lacroix, parents Frank and Sally Perry of Osoyoos, brother Greg and relatives across BC.

Born on April 6, 1968, Michele was raised in Osoyoos, BC and graduated from high school there in 1986. Following training as a psychiatric and registered nurse, she worked primarily in the emergency department at Surrey Memorial Hospital until 2001. With a passion for medical research, she worked in Cardiology Clinical Trials at SMH between 1998 and 2006, the last seven years as manager.

Between 2006 and 2017, Michele worked for Vancouver Coastal Health, lastly as the Director of Planning and Strategic Development of the Regional Cardiac Program. She secured her Bachelor of Nursing degree at UVic, and her Master of Health Administration from UBC in 2012. She was working toward a doctorate in Health Informatics at UVic at the time of her passing.

From 2006 onward, she continued in cardiac research with a team of UBC professors and cardiologists, resulting in several published articles. 

2017 saw Michele at the BC College of Nurses and Midwives as a Regulatory Practice Consultant. From 2018, she was the Manager of Clinical Operations of intensive care, telemetry and cardiac care at Burnaby Hospital. In May 2020, Michele became an Adjunct Professor of the School of Population and Public Health at UBC.

Michele's remarkable career in healthcare was born out of deep care and concern for the people around her. She delivered this compassion and interest tenfold in her personal life to family, friends and community. She sought out the best in people which brought out the best in her: good humour, smiling eyes and a calm, graceful consideration. A strong and vibrant woman, Michele infused possibility and positive energy into every occasion.

Michele was a remarkable mother—intensely proud of Ty and Marc—always ready to assist, but not hover. Their lighthouse—guiding, encouraging, enthusiastic and instilling in them her zest for life, adventure and endless potential. She is John’s kindred-spirit; gently and generously sharing love and friendship that can only persist and prosper.

Michele was very proud to hail from Osoyoos. She and family returned to Osoyoos frequently each year. Her favorite pastime was to simply float in the family pool to be followed by a glass of wine, good food and cheer.