Home About Us

About Us

Dr. Mary Jane EsplenWelcome from Executive Director Dr. Mary Jane Esplen

de Souza Institute offers health care professionals online courses to enhance expertise to provide the best possible cancer and palliative care.

We provide health care professionals with the advanced knowledge and expertise to handle every situation including managing a reaction to chemotherapy medication, managing anxiety and fears, and managing pain and other symptoms.


About de Souza:

Quality continuing education for health care professionals

  • Founded: 2008 by the Government of Ontario
  • Audience: Health care professionals in Canada
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario (Contact us)
  • Vision: To secure its position as a world leader in cancer care / palliative care excellence and innovation.
  • Our Team: Meet our team
  • Organization: National organization headquartered at UHN (University Health Network)
  • Mission: To inspire and empower healthcare professionals to provide the best cancer and palliative care through education and mentorship.

“It is a comfort for patients to know that whether they’re at Grand River, or Sunnybrook, or Princess Margaret, or Trillium, if their nurse has taken a de Souza program, that nurse has been educated through a system that is evidence-based, standardized, and has a clear set of goals.”

Cathy Kitely, Clinical Nurse Specialist Oncology and Palliative Care, Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley Hospital Site

Our courses:

  • Offer easy access online education, with the occasional webcast or in-person workshop to address skill based training requirements
  • Address clinical needs expressed by practitioners involved in direct patient care
  • Provide up to date and evidence based knowledge, covering cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and palliation
  • Allow you to earn credits leading to a professional designation representing excellence in oncology and palliative care

“… Cancer patients are receiving the best care in the world by nurses who are applying their specialized knowledge and skills they developed through the de Souza Institute.”

Deborah Matthews, Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

Who was Anna Maria de Souza?

Anna Maria de Souza was a distinguished philanthropist and volunteer in Toronto. Born in San Sebastiao do Paraiso, Brazil, she passed away at Princess Margaret Hospital in September 2007, after a courageous battle with cancer. For over 42 years she worked selflessly in various fund-raising activities to benefit a number of charitable institutions across Canada. Her dedication and contribution to philanthropy and the people of Ontario was further recognized in May 2008 when the Government of Ontario announced a $15 million grant to establish the de Souza Institute.

How de Souza was founded

In May 2008, a proposal was submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (PMCF) in partnership with Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) and University Health Network (UHN). The proposal was submitted in an effort to create an oncology nursing knowledge translation centre and build capacity across the province.

The proposal was approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in June 2008 and the de Souza Institute was created, with an original focus on oncology nursing. Since 2008 the institute has expanded to all health professions and nationally, through its partnerships with the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology, the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and the Canadian Nurses Association, as well as other partner organizations. Partnerships are key in providing support and guidance to deliver innovative continuing education, mentorship and fellowship programs to all professionals providing oncology or palliative care across Canada.


How to find out more