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Northern Health nurse named recipient of PHABC’s Phyllis M. Baird Memorial Award


Two women and a man smile while the middle woman holds award
Lara Frederick receives her award at the PHABC Annual General Meeting.

At a young age, Lara Frederick was no stranger to the inside of a hospital.

After battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a group of blood cancers that affects the lymphatic system) twice as a teenager, Lara used the care she received as the launchpad for her career in health care.

“Right from an early age, I was interacting with the health care system and many fantastic nurses,” said Lara. “One of the things that stood out for me was how giving and kind the providers were at the other end of the care I was receiving. It just really stuck with me as I graduated high school and then decided to pursue an undergraduate nursing degree.”

Surrounding herself with people who have the same passion for health care, Lara went on to achieve a master’s degree in nursing and now serves as the Regional Manager for Public Health Practice with Northern Health.

After nearly two decades progressing her career in health care, Lara was recently recognized by the Public Health Association of British Columbia (PHABC). At the organization’s annual general meeting in November, Lara was named the latest recipient of the Phyllis M. Baird Memorial Award.

This award is given to a community health nurse who practices in rural BC and is employed in a provincial health unit. The candidate must also show excellence in practice, strong attributes in leadership, integrity, and an eagerness to increase their health knowledge and education.

“It makes me reflect on the excellent nurses that provided me care back when I was a youth and really connects me to the heart of why I’m in health care,” says Lara. “This award is given to someone who demonstrates excellence, and I think excellence was instilled in me from a very young age. I got to see the excellent health care providers care for me and get me through one of the most difficult times in my life. It’s been very emotional to reflect on the journey of the last two decades, and I feel honored to receive such prestigious recognition.”

While Lara was the sole recipient of the award, she’s the first to admit there are many others who have contributed to the honour.

“I think it’s reciprocal, and I’ve really valued getting to work alongside some phenomenal leaders in public health,” says Lara. “I feel very blessed with the path I’ve taken and feel very supported and encouraged to do the very best I can every day.”

In her role as Regional Manager for Public Health Practice, Lara says she has confidence in her excellent team, allowing her to be more hands off with her leadership style, yet still supportive and transformative to give her the ability to watch and support other leaders to grow and thrive.

“It’s allowed me to grow alongside them,” she says. “Seeing my team’s growth and the way they approach problems or issues is also transforming me as a leader. I know not everybody gets to work alongside fantastic leaders all the time, but I do, and I use that to really propel my learning and my leadership in my own field.”

Continuing to add to her education, Lara is enrolled in a certificate program through Cornell University, based in Ithaca, New York. The program, “Leading Remote Teams,” will allow Lara to equip herself with even more tools to guide the virtual team she supports now.