Announcing the 2023 APNS Award Recipients

APNS is pleased to announce the APNS Award recipients for 2023. These awards were presented at the Annual General Meeting on Friday June 9th.

More information about the awards.

Fellow of the Association honours those individuals who have made significant and enduring contributions to APNS. They are psychologists who have helped shape the Association and have contributed to the development of psychology in Nova Scotia.  

Recipient – Harpreet Aulakh
Harpreet is a dedicated volunteer and advocate of psychology in Nova Scotia. Also, as an active volunteer with APNS, she was instrumental in developing the APNS Cultural Diversity Committee and has been the Chair for past 7 years. Harpreet has worked closely with individuals from different culture and communities, is kind, generous, and thoughtful to colleagues.

The APNS Excellence in Psychology Award recognizes those mid-career psychologists who have demonstrated excellence in their professional activities. The award may be given for work in a particular area of practice, work setting, specific population or treatment approach, or in respect to their peers.  

Recipient – Dr. Bonnie McNeill
Bonnie represents some of the best qualities a psychologist can possess. A reputation with her clients as being both warm and incredibly effective, a longstanding history of dedication to her profession and mentoring the future generation of psychologists, and being a caring and involved member of her own family and community. Bonnie deals with children and teens with the most challenging presentations, actively suicidal and engaged in self-harming behaviours. Also, she mentors her colleagues on how to more effectively support these youth and their parents.    

The Outstanding APNS Early Career Psychologist Award recognizes those in the first 10 years of their career who have actively participated in APNS and in so doing have advanced their career in psychology. 

Recipient –  Dr. Marcie Balch
Since starting her career, Marcie has worked at IWK Health both as a clinical psychologist and as the Professional Practice Leader. She also dedicates time to regularly supervise junior and senior practicum students, as well as IWK Psychology residents. Dr. Balch’s choice to supervise is voluntary, nonetheless, she regularly supervises to give back to the profession, support training, and encourage retention of future psychologists for Nova Scotia. Marcie has also developed and taught multiple undergraduate courses at both Saint Mary’s University and Mount Saint Vincent University and works part-time as a private practice psychologist. When she’s not in these professional roles, she volunteers on the APNS Executive, and serves as a Nova Scotia volleyball referee for varsity athletes.

The APNS Community Service Award for Psychologists recognizes the contributions of psychologists who do outstanding volunteer service beyond their role as a psychologist, including on-going volunteer work for a specific community or cause, fostering inclusion, promoting understanding or health promotion initiatives. 

Recipient – Dr. Belinda Seagram
Belinda is known to her colleagues for her kind-hearted nature, her desire to create positive change, and her ability to find creative ways to improve the lives of others. Belinda has demonstrated exceptional leadership within both her practice Seagram & Associates and in Landing Strong, fostering a positive and supportive work environment that encourages collaboration, professional growth, and organizational health. With the formation of Landing Strong in 2018, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting military members, veterans, and first responders affected by operational stress and injuries (OSI), she continues to support her community.

The APNS Community Service Award in Mental Health recognizes non-psychologists who have made valuable contributions to the community in a health and wellness setting or through activities that raise awareness or advocate on mental health issues. 

Recipient – Shaleen Jones, Executive Director, Eating Disorders Nova Scotia
Shaleen has been Executive Director of EDNS for many years and has an enduring passion for the work that EDNS does, particularly in the area of peer-support groups, mentorship, and counselling. Shaleen dedicates much of her time to supporting and advocating for those with eating disorders. Her positive attitude and passion for helping and advocating for those impacted, makes her an absolute leader of eating disorder advocacy and education in Nova Scotia. She deserves to recognized both for her own efforts and the organization that she has helped to establish and maintain for many years.

The APNS Diversity in Psychology Bursary assists diverse Psychology students who are in need of support while pursuing a post-secondary education in Psychology.  There were two recipients this year.  

Recipients – Meaghan Hymers, Acadia University and Patrick Hickey, Dalhousie University
Meaghan Hymers:
Beyond her commitment to creating accessible spaces and community programs to support the mental health and well-being of marginalized Nova Scotians in clinical practice, she seeks to contribute to our scientific understanding of 2SLGBTQ+ experience. Her current research is examining factors influencing sexual identity fluidity and associated mental and physical health disparities to better equip healthcare professionals across disciplines to care for 2SLGBTQ+ clients, and will inform community-level interventions to address social determinants of health for sexually fluid individuals.

Patrick Hickey:
His passion is supporting the needs of students and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community which drives his research, training, and career plans. He is leading a research study examining the health of transgender Canadians and currently in the process of publishing multiple papers on healthcare access and wellness of transgender, gender diverse, and queer communities.

The Gerald Gordon Memorial Prize for Psychology is awarded for outstanding undergraduate achievement in Psychology in Nova Scotia. It is named for Dr. Gerald Gordon to honour the contribution he made to APNS. 

Recipient – Jaylynn Skeete, St. Mary’s University
In addition to her excellent academic record and demonstrated commitment to research Jaylynn has exceptional cultural awareness and experience with diversity and inclusion, which drives her to her desired career in clinical psychology. Jaylynn has lived experience as a Black Nova Scotian woman in a STEM field. She has already contributed to the professional community through her work and volunteer positions within the education system mentoring Black students.

The Brian Dufton Memorial Prize for Psychology is awarded for outstanding graduate achievement in Psychology in Nova Scotia. It is named for Dr. Brian Dufton to honour the contribution he made to the education of Psychology students. 

Recipient – Nicole MacKenzie, Dalhousie University
Nicole is an accomplished researcher and clinician and is passionate about improving the lives of children experiencing pain through the mobilization of research evidence. Her combination of degrees and experiences provide her with an understanding of pediatric psychology, pain, and the importance of health for children and their families that invaluable to her research and career interests. In addition, she is an active member and leader in the research, academic, teaching, and clinical communities, as shown in her involvement on the Executive of APNS.

Susan Marsh, Executive Director, APNS was presented with a special Honourary Fellow Award 2023 for her contribution to the development of APNS and support of psychologists in NS.