press release
Published: 17 July 2020

University of Surrey Recognises Exceptional Nurses’ Contributions to Human Rights and the Profession

By Natasha Meredith

The International Care Ethics Observatory at the University of Surrey is delighted to announce this year’s recipients of its prestigious Human Rights and Nursing Award.

Woman wearing a mask and scrub cap
Getty Images

Receiving awards are Elisabeth Nishimwe Samvura and Lisa Brown Gibson, who join a distinguished list of nurses who have shown exceptional levels of care and dedication to people in need. Previous recipients of the awards include Will Pooley, who returned to his nursing duties in Sierra Leone after contracting Ebola.

Elisabeth Nishimwe Samvura from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is head nurse of the neonatology department at Heal Africa Hospital in the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Elisabeth and her team have continually demonstrated strength and resilience in the face of adversity and were credited with delivering uninterrupted care to sick newborns during the M23 rebel takeover of Goma in 2012. She has also led significant clinical developments in neonatal care, including the introduction of advanced neonatal nursing care for sick newborn babies and has played a central role in training nurses from other maternity hospitals.

Elisabeth is committed to the long term health of newborns in her care and has established a new home care programme, with neonatal nurses visiting the homes of vulnerable babies who are often discharged early as their families cannot afford their medical bills. This home follow-up is proving successful and there are significantly less re-admissions into hospitals.

Also in receipt of the award is Canadian nurse Lisa Brown Gibson who has been instrumental in the advancement of the rights of people with mental illnesses and addiction issues. Beginning her career as a mental health nurse at Queen Street Mental health Centre in Toronto, Lisa quickly recognised the therapeutic benefits the arts had for her patients, leading her to set up the Workman Arts.  The Workman Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organisation which promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through the creation of visual and dramatic artistic pieces by artists with lived experiences of mental illness and addiction.

Now in its thirtieth year the Workman Arts continues to go from strength to strength, growing its membership from eight members in its first year to over 400 active members. Members have described how their artistic engagement has reduced stress, restored hope and led to better relationships with family and friends. 

The International Care Ethics Observatory, based at the University of Surrey, is a leading centre that highlights the importance and complexity of care activities in health and social care and supports innovative and effective interventions that develop ethical care practices.

Ann Gallagher, Director of the International Care Ethics (ICE) Observatory and Professor of Ethics and Care, at the University of Surrey, said: “We are delighted to award this accolade to Elisabeth and Lisa. Both have demonstrated compassion and continue to put the needs of others above their own. It is important during such difficult times in the healthcare sector that we celebrate the work of nurses and the challenges they face in fulfilling the health care needs of those in their care.”

The outstanding achievement of both recipients was celebrated  at the virtual Human Rights and Nursing awards 2020 ceremony hosted by The International Care Ethics Observatory on Monday, 15th June 2020. To view the ceremony please click here.


Featured Academics

Media Contacts

Natasha Meredith
Media Officer (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences)
Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380

External Communications and PR team
Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380 / 688914 / 684378
Out of hours: +44 (0)7773 479911