Recipient of the 2014



Nominated For: 2014

Illana has spent the past 28 years practicing in the field of health care social work, of which 25 years have been as a hospital social worker in the Trauma Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where she is a respected clinician, educator, researcher and author. Sunnybrook is the largest trauma centre in Canada, treating more than 1600 patients a year, the majority of whom have sustained a brain injury. In this context, Illana provides crisis intervention and counselling services to these patients and their families, working closely with an exceptional team of interprofessional colleagues in the acute care hospital setting. She is a strong advocate and support to her patients as they navigate the complexity of hospital and community systems, and she has dedicated her career to enhancing the lives of the traumatically injured. Illana has an outstanding reputation in the hospital and in the broader community for her knowledge, skills and passion in the field of brain injury, and in her profession. During her 25 years as a trauma social worker, thousands of patients and families have benefited significantly from Illana’s support, and it is her honour/privilege when she is able to make a difference at this critical stage of their recovery.

As the Education Practice Leader at Sunnybrook, Illana coordinates all facets of the social work student education program for the 3 sites of Sunnybrook. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW), University of Toronto, where she teaches in the MSW program, serves as Chair of the Association of Teaching Centers, and is a member of the Faculty Council. Illana currently holds her second research grant from the University of Toronto, examining the concept of “Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn”. She has presented widely on brain injury/trauma at conferences in the GTA, nationally and internationally. Illana has numerous publications and awards to her credit – what follows are 3 of her most recent. In 2016, she was one of 6 clinicians at Sunnybrook to receive the prestigious Schulich Award for Clinical Excellence, exemplifying the quality of her care to her patients. In 2014, she was the second Canadian to ever receive the NANFED (North American Field Educators) Award of Excellence in Field Instruction (an international social work award), and that same year she also won top honours from the FIFSW as the recipient of their Platinum Award for Excellence in Field Education.

Illana completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto in 1990 (with Distinction), and her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Honours (Cum Laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987.