Bios for Evanna Brennan RN and Susan Giles RN

Evanna and Susan have worked together as home care nurses in Vancouver’s troubled Downtown East side for the past 25 years. They continue to be at the forefront of the struggle to contain the AIDS epidemic that began there in the mid 1990s.

For the last two decades they have been working on perfecting their model of care delivery, Action Based Care, or ABC, that supports marginalized patients living and dying with HIV disease in a chaotic street environment. Their work is tracked on this website; they have published numerous papers describing their experiences and sharing their accumulating expertise.

In 2009, the Registered Nurses of BC gave a (first time ever) dual Award of Distinction in Nursing to Evanna and Susan, making them 2009 co-recipients. Earlier awards they have received include the Jill Sullivan Award, the 2007 AccolAIDS award and others. They have presented at Canac many times and have been accepted as presenters at the International Conference on HIV/AIDS twice. They continue to provide guided experiences for visiting healthcare students from BC, Canada and as far away as Japan.

Susan Giles RN, is a native of Vancouver, BC. For the past twenty-five years she has teamed with colleague Evanna Brennan to deliver home care nursing services to a population of marginalized people struggling with drug addiction and HIV/AIDS. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. In 1999 she was co-recipient (with Evanna Brennan) of CANAC’s Jill Sullivan Award of Excellence in HIV/AIDS Nursing.

A native of County Dublin, Ireland, Evanna Brennan RN, took her training in Temple Street Children's Hospital, Dublin & St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin. She has worked as a home care nurse with her teammate Susan Giles for the last twenty-five years as they have addressed the needs of the residents of the challenging area of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

In 1997 she was chosen as one of thirty-three nurses across Canada for the Canadian HIV/AIDS Nursing Mentorship program funded by Health Canada. In this role she educated and supported nurses from across the country who were grappling with the complexities of caring for an increasingly multi-diagnosed (IVDU, HIV/AIDS, mental illness) population. She is a long-standing member of the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. In 1999 she was co-recipient (with Susan Giles) of CANAC’s Jill Sullivan Award of Excellence in HIV/AIDS Nursing.

In the mid 1990s, as the HIV epidemic began in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Susan and Evanna began receiving referrals to provide home care nursing services to a chaotic, street involved clientele living and dying with HIV/AIDS. They consulted and collaborated with inner city nurses in San Francisco, Amsterdam and Montreal. Combined with gritty field experience, they developed a model "Action Based Care" that defines principles and approaches to providing effective, ethical nursing care to such a population with a goal of removing barriers to care. They have field-taught student nurses from UBC; community health nurses from across Canada, and HIV nurse clinicians from Japan.

They have shared their approaches and experiences locally with staff at the health board, AIDS Vancouver, Providence and Vancouver General hospitals, and at BC AIDS conferences. They have presented to national and international conferences including XII International Conference on HIV/AIDS 1996, Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care 1998-2002, Canadian HIV/AIDS Skillsbuilding 1999, 2001, Canadian Palliative Care 2002, American Association of Nurses in AIDS Care 2002.

They have published in the Canadian Nurse, January 2001, "Home" Nursing Care of HIV Positive Clients in the Urban Core." 

They participated in the instructional video, "IV Positive : an educational documentary about living positive" from Crossroads Communications

Their work has been profiled in Nursing BC, 1996 and Crosscurrents: Journal of Addiction and Mental Health, 2002, as well as CBC radio and television, CKNW, BCIT News on Rogers Cable.

Professional Qualifications and Memberships

Awards for teaching, scholarship, and service

Articles about our work

Publications 1995-2007

Presentations: summary 1995-2007, 33
Total: Local 21 International 2 National 9


Professional Activities and Community Service: Summary 1994-2008, 14+


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