Press Releases

Innovative APAM Course Proves to be Difference Maker for Oncology Nurses

March 25, 2019 | ,

Toronto, ON – As published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the research led by Dr. Yvonne Leung, a Scientist at de Souza and Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto in Canada reveals that the Advanced Pain Assessment and Management (APAM) online program significantly increased nurses’ confidence and knowledge in dealing with complex cancer pain.

Beginning in 2012 and concluding in 2017, the sample size included 306 nurses from 89 hospitals throughout Ontario. The results showed that after completing the APAM program confidence levels increased by as much as 30%.

Courses like APAM are crucial for nurses’ career development, it gives them easy access to education and a way to enhance their core competencies such as pain management. 1 Moreover, it is improving the low baseline knowledge of nurses.

“This research focuses on the impact of an online targeted education program in addressing the education needs in complex cancer pain management of nurses” said lead author Dr. Leung.

Complex cancer pain is one of the most frequent and challenging symptoms to manage in cancer care. It is a physical symptom significantly compromising the quality of life of cancer patients. Up to 55% of cancer patients experience cancer pain. However, cancer-related pain is usually undertreated and this major problem has persisted for over two decades.

The problem is complicated by the side effects of cancer therapies and pain medications. Nurses play a significant role in symptom management; however, many reported a lack of knowledge and confidence in the assessment and management of cancer pain, in particular the breakthrough pain. A team led by Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, the Executive Director and Dr. Jiahui Wong, the Scientist/Manager of de Souza Institute examined the impact of an online educational program in addressing the knowledge and confidence of pain management in nurses dealing with cancer patients.

“We now have solid evidence that an online targeted training program led by experienced educators helps nurses build their competency in dealing with critical issues in cancer care.”, said Dr. Leung. “Hospital administrators can leverage online specialized education in providing essential training for their medical staff.”

About de Souza Institute

Established in 2008, de Souza Institute, is a part of the University Health Network and partners with Cancer Care Ontario.  It provides ongoing educational support, professional development and career counseling to healthcare practitioners caring for cancer patients and families.

To learn more about de Souza Institute visit


For more information contact:

de Souza Institute

LuCliff Place, Suite 1903
700 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z6

New Sexual Health Program to Benefit Female Cancer Survivors

June 12, 2018 | ,

Online support group provides resources for sexual functioning and quality of life

Toronto, ON –  de Souza Institute, a national education and research centre specializing in oncology has been selected to receive a $75,000 grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program. Through the Cancer Chat Canada platform de Souza Institute will launch an essential online therapist led psychosocial group focusing on improving sexual functioning and quality of life for women with breast, ovarian or other forms of gynaecological cancer.

“Cancer survivors have on-going difficulties related to intimacy, sexual dysfunction and body image distress. Despite evidence of the debilitating nature of these problems, they are mostly unaddressed, in part due to a lack of expertise among healthcare providers and hesitancy among women to raise them”, said Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, Executive Director of de Souza Institute. “Our online support group Re-storing Sensual and Sexual Self (ReSASS) now makes it possible for women across Canada to access expert psychosocial care in the comfort and privacy of their own home.”

“We are pleased to provide a grant to de Souza Institute,” says David Fowler, vice president of marketing and communications at CIRA. “This program, and others we’ve funded, use the vast reach and power of the internet to change lives for the better, something we at CIRA believe in.”

The topic of sexual dysfunction is typically unspoken, highly personal and sensitive.  Moreover, limited specialized services have made it difficult for women to get the support they need. The launch of ReSASS and the generous funding from CIRA’s Community Investment Program greatly enhances access to psychological services for female cancer survivors, especially for those living with disease related disabilities and or those who live in rural and remote areas.

About de Souza Institute

Established in 2008, de Souza Institute is a part of the University Health Network and partners with provincial cancer agencies across Canada. It was originally funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to provide ongoing educational support, professional development and career counseling to health care professionals caring for cancer patients and families. de Souza Institute is providing cancer care excellence by: delivering innovative continuing education and mentorship programs; helping nurses to achieve national specialty certification; funding graduate scholarships to develop tomorrow’s leaders, and supporting in self-care and career development among health care professionals. To learn more about de Souza Institute visit

About CIRA and the Community Investment Program

CIRA is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding charities, not-for-profits and members of the academic community who are making the Internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada’s Internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in digital literacy, online services, research and infrastructure. Every .CA domain name registered or renewed contributes to this program. To date CIRA has contributed $5.45 million in Community Investment Program grants.

To view the complete list of 2018 grant recipients click here.

A Nursing First for London

May 12, 2017 | ,

London, Ontario – London Health Sciences Centre Nurse Practitioner Adrienne Fulford is the first nurse in London and the South West Local Health Integration Network (South West LHIN) to receive the prestigious de Souza Advance Practice Nurse (APN) Designation. She becomes only the fifth nurse in all of Ontario to receive this honour. The de … Read more

A Nursing First for Kingston

May 8, 2017 | ,

Kingston, Ontario – Kingston General Hospital Nurse Practitioner Janet Giroux is the first nurse in Kingston and the South East Local Health Integration Network (South East LHIN) to receive the prestigious de Souza Advance Practice Nurse (APN) Designation. She becomes only the fourth nurse in all of Ontario to bestowed this honour. The de Souza … Read more

Return to work made easier for cancer survivors

October 14, 2016 | ,

Website brings together resources for cancer survivors, healthcare providers, and employers to support staying and returning to work Returning to work after any illness can be a challenge. For cancer survivors, the return to work (RTW) can be especially difficult due to the effects of cancer and its treatment.  Employers may lack understanding of cancer’s … Read more