On September 19, 2019, the Universidade da Coruna (UDC), Galicia, Spain, granted an honorary doctorate to Dr. Denise Gastaldo, Associate Professor at the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, and Fellow at the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research. Over 300 representatives from UDC, several Spanish universities, Canada, and Brazil attended the event.
During the ceremony, the Director of the Faculty of Health Sciences Dr. Maria Jesus Movilla, focused her Laudatio on the academic impact of Dr. Gastaldo’s research and on her capacity-building work for Spanish nursing research. Movilla noted that the Honoris Causa was based on Gastaldo’s “work educating Spanish nurse-researchers over the last 21 years and in recognition for her scientific contribution developing new methodologies to produce transformative knowledge that promotes health for all and reveals the consequences of social inequities.”
In particular, Movilla praised Gastaldo’s mentorship of Spanish researchers, which has included her support for the creation of Spain’s first PhD program in Nursing in 2005, her supervision and co-supervision of several doctoral students, teaching research methodology courses in multiple universities, consulting for participatory research projects in clinical and public health settings, and other mentorship activities. The rector of UDC, Julio Abalde, praised Dr. Gastaldo for her “courage for approaching research from a social impact perspective”.
In her Laudatio, Dr. Gastaldo referred to “the determination, creativity, and institutional and personal resource sharing” that characterized her partnership with Spanish nurses. She said that the doctorate “represents a celebration of a cause, the great collective investment for the development of nursing research in Spain, of which I have had the honour to have been a part of to this day.”
DLSPH and CQ-specific information:
Over the last 10 years, CQ has hosted several postdoctoral and doctoral Spanish visitors from health sciences disciplines seeking to advance their formal training in critical qualitative health research.
During the ceremony, Dr. Maria Jesus Movilla (third photo below), described Dr. Gastaldo’s central role in the creation of CQ at DLSPH, having been an associate director (2009-14) and director (2014-18), and the creation and consolidation of CQ’s interdisciplinary curriculum for master’s and doctoral students. She also highlighted the opportunity several Spanish health researchers have had to study with and be supervised by Dr. Gastaldo and other CQ Academic Fellows. She added, “[as a mentor] she is highly committed to the success of her students.
Media in Spanish and Galician:
Photos courtesy of Iolanda Fernández, Comunicación e Marketing,Vicerreitoría do Campus de Ferrol e Responsabilidade Social, Universidade da Coruña