Twin Sisters

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Twin Sisters are Amazing Alumni
Honoured by NNPBC


Jenifer Tabamo – MSN, 2015 Jacqueline Lum – MN-NP, 2011

Jenifer Tabamo (l) and Jacqueline Lum (r) pose at the 2018 Nurses and Nurse Practioners of BC award celebrations with their mother, Maria Roman, who is an LPN at Vancouver Coastal Health Banfield Pavilion. Photo: Joseph Tabamo.


During the 2018 Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC (NNPBC) ceremony on December 17, 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel in Vancouver, the NNPBC “recognized the contributions of nurses to the transformation of the Canadian health care system and their impact on the daily lives of British Columbians.” Some of the individuals being honoured are affiliated with the School (see Kudos page 18), and of those, two of our alumni are twin sisters, Jenifer Tabamo and Jacqueline Lum. Below are excerpts from the program of the evening. For full bios of all our faculty and alumni honoured by the NNPBC as well as pictures of the event, please visit:

Innovation in Nursing Award

Jenifer Tabamo is clinical nurse specialist and innovative and visionary leader at Vancouver General Hospital who advances nursing practice in the care of complex adult and older adult patients in the medicine program. She has extensive clinical background in acute medicine, critical care, gerontology and dementia care. She graduated from UBC with an MSN with specialized focus in advanced practice nursing clinical nurse specialist role, leadership and education streams in 2015, and is certified in both medical-surgical and gerontology nursing specialties through the Canadian Nursing Association (CNA) certification and credentialing program.
Through Jenifer’s research, she facilitates critical dialogues with patients, families, and care staff, leads integration of evidence into practice and shapes the future of hospital care.

Excellence in Nursing Practice

Jacqueline Lum exemplifies advanced practice by integrating both the science and art of nursing. She has over ten years experience and training in critical care and acute medicine. She graduated with distinction from our Master of Nursing-Nurse Practitioner program in 2011. She successfully trained for the six-month acute care cardiac-surgery NP post-graduate fellowship program, the first of its kind in Canada, and worked in Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) cardiac surgery units as one of its very first NPs.
Through her research works, Jacqueline participates in peer and self-reviews to assess, evaluate and discover impact of cardiac services at the client, community and population level and shares these findings across broad avenues. In addition, patients and families praise her high standards and compassionate presence.

Ken and Sheila McArthur

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Giving Back to the Next Century:

Philanthropic Couple Supports a New Generation of Nurse Practitioners

Ken and Sheila McArthur

Shallow breathing, fever, fingertips that turn blue. Pneumonia can be frightening at any age, but Ken McArthur’s lungs had turned infectious not once but twice—before the age of six. “Without my mother’s dedication,” he says, “I’m not sure I would be here today.”

Photo by Martin Dee


In his eighties now, Ken speaks reverently of his mother, Elizabeth McArthur. In 1917, she graduated from the Calgary General Hospital School of Nursing, before working in an Alberta county hospital. She was not only a highly skilled nurse, Ken says, but also “the strongest, most independent woman I have ever met.”

Sheila and Ken McArthur recently chose to honour her memory with a gift to UBC. As part of that generous one million dollar donation—one half of which will be directed to the Sauder School of Business, Ken’s alma mater, and the other to the UBC School of Nursing—the couple has created the Elizabeth McArthur Memorial Bursary in Nursing. The remainder will support the Ken and Sheila McArthur Fund in Gerontological Research.

Interestingly, the gift falls on the Centenary, the 100th anniversary of the UBC School of Nursing. And, in another coincidence, the doors of the school opened in 1919, just two years after Elizabeth McArthur’s graduation.

“At my age, you think back on your life, you reflect,” Ken says. “My mother was a supportive person, and we wanted to acknowledge her, fundamentally, for that reason.”

Ken’s life began in Burnaby and Sheila’s in nearby New Westminster. After graduating from Simon Fraser University, Sheila moved to Montreal, Quebec with her teaching degree in hand, but her lack of bilingual status kept her from the classroom; she quickly found rewarding work, though, at the Westmount Library in the children’s department. Ken, meanwhile, followed his graduation from UBC with a career in finance, eventually assuming the role of Senior VP of Nesbitt Thomson Inc. and CEO of Shurway Capital Corp., his own private investment company.

“I’ve learned that it’s much easier for business schools to attract donations than nursing schools,” says Ken. “And I am biased towards supporting things that are underfinanced. That seems to be one of my personality quirks.”

With Canada’s aging population expected to double in the next 25 years—a segment that, in just seven years, will comprise one-quarter of the population—the expertise of Nurse practitioners (NP) is needed more than ever. The province has been, until recently, slow to bring NPs into the healthcare system. While Ontario has, according to the BC government, only 20 NPs for every 100,000 people, and the Prairie and Atlantic Provinces 16, BC has even fewer: only 8 per 100,000. Recognizing this shortage, the BC government has funded 200 new Masters of Nursing-Nurse Practitioner (MN-NP) positions, including 15 for UBC.

While this is certainly promising for nursing grads, student costs—escalating Vancouver rent, sky-high tuition rates—have risen to $30,000 per year, which may dissuade even the keenest, most qualified students from leaving full-time jobs to earn their Master’s degree. The Elizabeth McArthur Memorial Bursary in Nursing, however, will alleviate some of that financial queasiness by providing recipients of the endowed award with $12,000 per year in perpetuity.

“Without these bursaries, some of our most talented nurses would be unable to pursue the advanced education to become NPs,” says Elizabeth Saewyc, Director of the UBC School of Nursing. “And Canadians would miss out on extraordinary NPs who can provide expert primary health care for people of all ages.”

The dearth of NPs isn’t the only issue related to Canada’s aging population that concerns the McArthurs. Having made lifelong donations to researchers who study everything from Arthritis and brain health to Alzheimer’s and juvenile diabetes (a condition that runs in the McArthur family), the couple has also devoted a portion of their recent UBC donation to gerontological research. And the gift is admirably open-ended: The Ken and Sheila McArthur Fund in Gerontological Research will support Masters and PhD students undertaking a range of gerontological nursing studies.

“It’s actually hard to pick a disease (to fund), and so we thought of things whose end date we couldn’t anticipate,” Ken says. “I’ve learned that trying to predict the future isn’t easy.”

The couple divides their time between Florida and their home on Bowen Island, in Howe Sound. Eight years ago the couple fell for the latter locale, although it lacks a healthcare centre, unlike Galiano Island, an adjacent island near Victoria with a similar demographic. “Unfortunately, 24-hour emergency services aren’t available,” says Sheila. “So if someone needs stitches or breaks an arm they must take the water taxi to Vancouver.” And so the McArthurs are supporting the proposal—and hopefully construction—of a healthcare centre on Bowen Island. Having spent their lives in cities like Montreal and New York, they took healthcare for granted, the couple says, until they moved to a rural area.

It was a rural area, actually, to which Elizabeth, Ken’s mother, moved to pursue her nursing career over 100 years ago. After she married, though, she and Ken’s father moved to the city of Vancouver and Elizabeth left nursing. “It was a long time ago, and my mother,” Ken says, “followed the traditional role of looking after her family. It was a very different world back then.”

Undoubtedly, Elizabeth McArthur would be surprised to have an endowment at a nursing school named after her. “Yes, she would be surprised,” says her son, “but I think she would also be grateful.”

Read a further article on the McArthurs at the Sauder School of Business site.

Vivian Lucas

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Vivian Lucas – A Portrait in Giving

Photo by Martin Dee


As a UBC Nursing alumna and retired nurse, Vivian Lucas is passionate about the value of education over training, so she created the Vivian Lucas Scholarship in Acute Care Nursing. The scholarship is offered to student nurses who have demonstrated excellent communication, leadership and adaptability—especially those with an interest in, and aptitude for, acute care nursing. One of our favourite “friends of the school,” Vivian answered a few questions about her experiences in giving, with a view to encouraging others to do the same.

You graduated from UBC’s School of Nursing in 1967 and have been a proud alumna since. Why has it been important for you to stay connected and engaged with the School since that time?

I like to keep track of what is going on so I can still feel part of nursing when I am in retirement. I had a great education at UBC and it is gratifying to see how things have progressed with the school.

You have also been a loyal, annual donor to the School for close to 15 years now. Thank you! Was there a special memory or a pivotal moment in your experience with UBC that inspired you to make your first gift to the School of Nursing?

I had a sudden illumination several years ago that the government was going to get a lot of my money after I died unless I made provisions NOW to divert money elsewhere.

A few years ago, you decided to increase your support by establishing the Vivian Lucas Scholarship in Acute Care Nursing to provide for generations of nursing students in perpetuity. Why was this such a meaningful opportunity to you?

Being a student at UBC now is not an inexpensive proposition. It would be a shame if worthy students could not be educated in nursing simply because they lack the requisite funds. Lots of other faculties have lots of money put forward to help their students and I think nursing should  support its students in the same fashion. The bursaries and financial help that I received when I was an undergraduate were very helpful. In the early years of my donation, I just gave to general UBC funds, but I soon came to the realization that it would be better to direct monies more specifically to areas of interest.

Have you been in contact with any of the student recipients of your scholarship?

As far as I know the scholarship has been awarded twice to date and each time the recipients have sent me an appreciative letter. I have not met with them personally. I prefer to keep the contact in a more private manner.

As you know, the School is currently celebrating our milestone 100th anniversary during 2019. You made a most generous donation of $100,000 to the School at the beginning of our 100th year. You have said that you consider yourself to be a “typical person” so could you please share your creative approaches to how you made this significant donation?

I was fortunate to come into a bit of money in 2018 and so I thought I needed to share it with my scholarship fund, which was kind of small at that point. I wanted the student awarded the scholarship to receive a more significant amount, especially in view of the expensive nature of university education which I have noted above. It’s easy to cut a cheque for say, $100 without much thought. This donation required more thought and planning, which is a good thing. Nursing is about thinking, planning and feeling after all. There are also significant tax benefits to making charitable gifts to UBC.

I understand that you have encouraged other nursing alumni to consider making donations to the school both in the present day and also with a gift in their will. Why do you feel that both of these avenues for giving are important?

It’s nice to give NOW and see how people are helped in the now. It also helps with estate planning. Of course I don’t have children so estate planning and income tax angles are important to me. At our 50th UBC reunion in 2017 I did encourage my classmates to contribute to the fund.

What would you like to say to nursing alumni and friends of the School to inspire people to join you in making meaningful donations during this 100th celebration?

Remember your education and your colleagues and what you gained from UBC and how the education  you received there helped your career. Share a little more than you normally would in celebration of 100 years done and 100 years to come. Give something that you have thought carefully about and which is truly meaningful to you. Nursing should be in the forefront of health care.


If reading Vivian’s story has inspired you to explore your own passions and opportunities for supporting UBC, please contact Darya Sawycky in UBC’s Gift & Estate Planning office by phone at 604.827.2973 or by email at