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Dr Jaqueline Gahagan, Order of Nova Scotia

Dr Gahagan, back centre

Jacqueline Gahagan, the Associate Vice President of Research at Mount Saint Vincent University received the Order of Nova Scotia on November 9.

The Order of Nova Scotia was established in 2001 with a maximum of six appointments made each year to recognize the exceptional achievements and contributions of Nova Scotians. It is the highest honour of the Province of Nova Scotia.

“It was really quite an honour to be nominated in the first place and that in and of itself is quite a big deal as far as I'm concerned,” said Gahagan.

Gahagan was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia for their 25 years of health promotion research and community advocacy in health equity and social justice.

“A former colleague of mine from Dalhousie University nominated me and then there were three other letters that were included in the package… describing my work and their knowledge of my work. Then they adjudicated the applicants that came in, and I was awarded, based on that application, one of the spots with the order of Nova Scotia 2023.”

Gahagan’s advocacy and research also includes HIV prevention, testing and linkages to care, housing for older LGBTQ Canadians, access to post-secondary education among former youth in care and addressing the blood ban facing gay and trans men who wish to donate blood or plasma.

Actually being named to the Order of Nova Scotia is really, truly humbling because of the recognition of the long standing work I've been doing both in my program of research but also in my community work. At the end of the day it sort of speaks to an acknowledgement or recognition of my contributions to the process.

“I had a call from the provincial government who oversees the process saying my name had been put forward and that they would like to know if I'm okay with being a recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia, which of course I said, ‘Yes, I would be honoured.’”

The other Order of Nova Scotia 2023 recipients were:

  • Phil Comeau, Saulnierville and Moncton: filmmaker and screenwriter; recognized for preserving and promoting Acadian culture
  • Bruce Guthro, Sydney Mines: singer and songwriter; posthumously recognized for contributions to the music industry, Canadian culture and philanthropy
  • Sylvia D. Hamilton, Grand-Pré: professor, filmmaker, writer, journalist and educator; recognized for capturing and preserving the experiences of African Nova Scotians
  • Stephen Kimber, Halifax: writer, journalist and educator; recognized for representing Nova Scotia in the national press and mentoring several generations of journalists.