Agnes C. Higgins Awards

The Agnes C. Higgins Awards, which are bestowed by the Montreal Diet Dispensary (Dispensary), were created to recognize individuals, groups or companies who have made significant contributions toward the achievement of the Dispensary’s mission and to the well-being of vulnerable pregnant women, their newborns and their family members. The tagline of the awards is: Nurturing the future, one pregnant woman, one newborn and one family at a time.

The Agnes C. Higgins Tribute Award

This award is presented on an occasional basis to an individual who is closely linked to the Dispensary (staff member, board member, volunteer, partner), who has been involved in the Dispensary’s mission for several years and who has brought about a significant change (innovation) that has resulted in improvements to the Dispensary’s interventions with vulnerable pregnant women, both in terms of quality and sustainability.

The Agnes C. Higgins Social Nutrition Award

This award is presented annually to an individual or group—health care professionals or those working in higher education or community roles—who have distinguished themselves in recent years or, in rare cases, in the preceding year, in a social nutrition-related area of intervention.

The Agnes C. Higgins Business Award

This award is presented annually to a member of the business community (individual and/or company) who has been instrumental in mobilizing the Montreal business community to support the Dispensary through financial contributions and/or the provision of services, thus enabling the Dispensary to achieve its mission and increase its impact in the community.

Agnes C. Higgins (1911-1985), a trained dietitian, was the executive director of the Montreal Diet Dispensary from 1959 to 1981. She is best known for having developed the Higgins© Method. This nutritional intervention method, which has been scientifically proven and is still employed at the Dispensary, provides a framework for the biopsychosocial assessment and follow-up of pregnant women in need, so they can receive the nutrition they require during pregnancy and give birth to healthy babies with adequate birth weights. Through its guidelines for helping relationships and its consideration of the mother-child bond, it naturally paved the way for the concept of social nutrition. The Higgins© Method formed the basis for Quebec’s OLO programs. It also served as the inspiration for other similar programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in the United States and the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP).