Home/About CSTM / Awards and Bursaries / 2024 Award Winners

2024 Award Winners

Blum Award - Elaine Van Oyen


Elaine Van Oyen obtained her RT from the CLST in 1977 and her ART in immunohematology in 1986. She has worked in several positions in Transfusion Medicine during her 40-year career, including teaching technologist, senior technologist and Supervisor, before stepping into the role that she loved most – Quality Coordinator supporting Transfusion Medicine.

She is a charter member of the Canadian Association of Immunohematologists (the precursor to the CSTM) and has enjoyed the benefits of membership throughout the years. She has helped in the organization of several CSTM conferences, as well as serving as a member of the Standards Committee.

She has also served on committees to develop CLSI guidance documents and helped organize conferences for the Alberta Vein to Vein Society.

In addition to her full-time job, Elaine was contracted by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta for over 20 years as an Accreditation Coordinator for their laboratory accreditation program. In this capacity she had the privilege of visiting every hospital and private lab in the province of Alberta, and a few in Saskatchewan. This experience afforded her the opportunity of seeing the CSTM standards in action and to recognize their significant value to the provision of
transfusion services in Canada.

Elaine is now retired and enjoying her time being a bigger part of her 3 grandchildren’s lives.

Quidel Ortho Award - Gwen Clarke MD FRCPC


Dr. Gwen Clarke is a hematopathologist with Island Health in Victoria BC, and a Clinical Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the U of A and at UBC.  Her undergraduate, MD and Residency training were at the University of Alberta and were followed by a fellowship in Hematopathology at Emory University in Atlanta.  Her work has included all aspects of hematopathology, with a particular interest and expertise in Transfusion Medicine. During her career she has served as a hospital blood bank medical lead in Edmonton and has worked for Canadian Blood Services as a laboratory medical director and medical lead for the Rare Blood Program.

Gwen’s research interests relate mainly to immunohematology. She has been involved with development of guidelines and policies pertaining to immunohematology and non-invasive blood group genotyping in pregnancy including a recent project to develop Canadian consensus statements on perinatal immunohematology testing.

She has had longstanding involvement in medical education serving as residency program director at the U of A as well as an examination board member and a residency program accreditation reviewer for the RCPSC. She teaches in post graduate medical education programs at the U of A and UBC and has served as a mentor to many transfusion medicine residency trainees and researchers.  Her current education focus relates to curriculum development for the new Specialist in Transfusion Science training program, a graduate program for medical technologists, at the University of Alberta.

She is a longstanding member of the CSTM serving as VP, President, and Past President from 2012 – 2018 and as a member of COPTN and the STS committees.  She currently serves on the board of directors of the ISBT as Secretary General and as Chair of the Vox Sanguinis Standing Committee.

Canadian Blood Services Dana Devine Award - Melika Loriamini


I possess a comprehensive expertise in the field of medical laboratory science (MLS). In 2008, I successfully obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) in Iran and subsequently started on my professional journey as a medical laboratory technologist. Upon immigrating to Canada, I successfully acquired a Bachelor of Biomedical Science from York University in 2019, while simultaneously holding the position of senior MLT in the hematology department at LifeLabs. Afterwards, I enrolled as a direct entry-level PhD candidate in the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP) department at the University of Toronto. At the same time, I began working as an MLT in the Hematology and Transfusion Medicine department at William Osler Hospital. Despite the prevailing COVID circumstances and limitations, I managed to successfully accomplish my academic pursuits in 2023, under the supervision of Dr. Donald Branch at CBS (Canadian Blood Services). The focus of my thesis project was to "Identification and Characterization of Small Molecule Drugs That Inhibit Phagocytosis.". My project allowed me to acquire expertise in the fields of transfusion medicine and immunology and were able to published various articles.

During my academic  journey, I have been honored with multiple awards including the Canadian Blood Service's (CBS) Graduate Fellowship Program award in 2019 and 2021, the AABB Outstanding Abstract Award for Trainees as a Fellow/Post-Doctoral Student in 2022, the SGS travel award from the University of Toronto in 2022, a travel bursary from CSTM/CBS in 2023, the Best Poster for Translation/Basic research award from Hematology Academic Day in 2023, and the Best Poster for Infectious Diseases, Inflammation, and Immunology award from the 2023-LMP Research Conference. And most recently, the 2024-CSTM/CBS Dana Devine Award.

In addition, I have been invited to speak as a plenary speaker at various international and regional industry conferences. In addition, I have fulfilled the roles of a research and undergraduate student mentor. Furthermore, I possess over 14 years of clinical experience in both hospital and private laboratory settings. Currently, I hold the position of Clinical Practice Leader at Humber River Hospital.


Buchanan Award - Elaine Blais


Elaine graduated from the Kelsey Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, Saskatoon in 1979 as a medical laboratory technologist. Over the course of time, Elaine’s career advanced from rotational bench technologist, to laboratory manager of a regional hospital, followed by regional laboratory director overseeing 13 laboratories, to her current position of Professional Practice, Transfusion Safety – north Saskatchewan.

When Elaine began her transfusion safety role in 2014, it was a newly created position designed to provide professional guidance and expertise to clinical and technical programs to advance transfusion safety. Today, Elaine’s position has evolved to support the clinical standards portfolio by ensuring clinical practices are in alignment with blood standards, are evidence-informed, and where possible, stewardship and appropriateness initiatives have been integrated into clinical procedures, processes and support tools.

Her designated area of support is northern Saskatchewan, which extends from the city of Saskatoon located in central Saskatchewan, to the Black Lake Denesuline First Nation located in Northern Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin region.

Over the past decade, Elaine has been a strong advocate for provincial standardization of clinical and technical resources to promote safe transfusion practices. She became the lead administrator for the Saskatchewan TTISS Program early in her transfusion safety career, and subsequently led development of many provincial transfusion reaction resources with assistance from the provincial Transfusion Medicine Physicians and transfusion safety colleagues. Elaine has been a leader in the development and ongoing maintenance of the Saskatchewan Transfusion Resource Manual from release date in 2011 to currently.

Throughout her professional career, Elaine has promoted and supported advancement of patient transfusion safety through establishment of evidence-informed clinical practices.