Meet one Woman of Influence
March 7, 2023
Rachel Ollivier, a Registered Nurse currently enrolled in the Nurse Practitioner diploma program at Queen’s, says she was taken by surprise when she learned she had been named one of this year’s Top 25 Women of Influence for 2023. The annual award celebrates the innovative and courageous accomplishments of self-identified women and gender-diverse role models who have made significant contributions to their respective fields.
“I was aware of the nomination but was not expecting anything to come of it. When I found out about the award, I was so excited, my hands were shaking” says Dr. Ollivier.
Dr. Ollivier was chosen out of hundreds of nominations from across Canada and the United States for her work and research related to global maternal health and postpartum sexual health, the focus of her doctorate completed at Dalhousie University. This year’s list of recipients includes Allison Forsyth, two-time Canadian Olympian, safe sport advocate, and partner and COO, ITP Sport and Recreation; Domee Shi, Oscar-winning director; and Christine Sinclair, four-time Canadian Olympian and professional soccer player.
“We are thrilled to be honouring and celebrating the remarkable work of this year’s recipients,” says Rumeet Billan, CEO, Women of Influence+. “Each woman on this year’s list has made their mark in the past year, whether by spearheading initiatives for the greater good, achieving inspiring feats on a global scale, or utilizing their influence to effect tangible change. Our list includes women from all walks of life who have dedicated their work to breaking boundaries, setting new standards, and rewriting the narrative of what is possible. We are excited to shine a spotlight on their achievements and know that their stories will inspire others and future generations.”
Dr. Ollivier's global and local health work has spanned education, research, and practice, with an emphasis on women’s postpartum sexual health. She collaborated with local care providers in Zambia to develop updated neonatal fluid resuscitation practice policies, involvement with hypertension research in Zambia and maternal health research in Tanzania and guest lecturing in graduate-level nursing courses in Tanzania, in addition to collaborating with the White Ribbon Alliance to advance women's health care in the country.
Dr. Ollivier also worked on two systematic review papers which were commissioned by the World Health Organization to inform their updated maternal health guidelines. They are now published in JBI Evidence Synthesis, a global organization promoting and supporting evidence-based decisions that improve health and health service delivery.
Her doctoral research sought to explore sexual health after birth in innovative ways.
“In Nova Scotia, I created the first patient educational tool on sexual health after birth and was intentional in ensuring that it was relevant and useful for patients while also using gender-affirming language” Dr. Ollivier says.
While working as a travel nurse in rural and remote areas of British Columbia, she shared recommendations for practice with various health care teams to promote postpartum wellbeing and access to information about sexual health postpartum.
In November 2022, she was elected to the board of directors for the Canadian Association of Perinatal & Women’s Health Nurses, a non-profit organization that aims to provide national leadership in women’s and maternal health nursing.
Dr. Ollivier is currently enrolled in the one-year Nurse Practitioner diploma program for students who already hold a Master's or PhD in nursing.
“This sort of condensed program can be difficult to find outside of Ontario, though the opportunity to complete my diploma at Queen's seemed like the perfect fit given the variety of clinical placements that are available in this area. It was also comforting to have familiar faces among the faculty here, having previously worked with and/or been taught by Dr. Danielle Macdonald and Dr. Erna Snelgrove-Clarke.”
Dr. Ollivier, who is an actively practicing Registered Nurse in three provinces (Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia), looks forward to a career that combines frontline clinical practice with research. She plans to move out West in September but hopes to continue to partner with faculty here at Queen's and at Dalhousie University.
Dr. Ollivier will be honoured during the Top 25 Women of Influence Luncheon on April 4, 2023, in Toronto.