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Evelyn Shapiro

Sharon Blady, MLA Kirkfield Park


legislative speech by Sharon Blady, MLA Kirkfield Park

Legislative Speech by Sharon Blady, NDP MLA for Kirkland Park

SHARON BLADY: Mr. Speaker, rarely in life do we meet people who not only tweak the system, but re-envision the entire structure of something like geriatric care.  I deeply regret having to relate the recent passing of Evelyn Shapiro, creator of the first provincial home care program, at the age of 84.

Born in Lithuania, Professor Shapiro received her BA and MA from McGill University before joining the University of Manitoba as an assistant professor in 1972.  She worked in the department now known as Community Health Services in the Faculty of Medicine.  Professor Shapiro kept busy.  She was a research associate with the Manitoba Longitudinal Study on Aging, a member of the Gerontological Advisory Council of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Council on Ethics in Human Research.  She became a full professor in 1990 and a Senior Professor in 1998.  However, she didn’t lock herself into the ivory tower of academia.  She worked as a senior health policy advisor from 1988 to 1990 and gave generously of her time, serving on different health advisory committees and organizations.  She also participated in the founding of Manitoba Centre for Health Policy.

Evelyn Shapiro’s achievements cannot be recounted in only two minutes, but we’ll remember her most as the key architect of the universal Manitoba Home Care Program.  Started in 1974, it became a blueprint for similar programs across the country and around the world.  Tens of thousands of Manitobans benefit from Shapiro’s vision: an estimated 39,000 Manitobans receive home-care services a year.  Mr. Speaker, these services are more crucial than ever as our province ages.  Professor Shapiro was one of seniors’ most passionate advocates, and she was accordingly recognized in October 2006, when she was appointed to the Order of Canada, and in 2008 with an appointment to the Order of Manitoba. 

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to extend my deepest condolences to Professor Shapiro’s family.  She was an exemplary woman, who fought for some of the most vulnerable among us and left a legacy that none of us will soon forget.  Thank you.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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