2015 CMA Award recipients
Camille Dow Baker
CMA Medal of Honour
Professional engineer Camille Dow Baker is the co-founder of the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), a non-governmental organization based in Calgary. Since 2001 CAWST has helped provide better water and sanitation to nearly 10 million people in 68 countries. For her “Made in Canada” solution for one of the world’s greatest public health issues, Ms. Dow Baker has been named the 32nd recipient of the CMA Medal of Honour.
A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Dow Baker studied mining engineering at McGill University and for 20 years had a successful career in Canada’s oil and gas sector. Convinced that she could apply her engineering knowledge and skills to improve sanitation and drinking water in developing countries, in 1998 she enrolled in the University of Calgary to study environmental design. There she met Dr. David Manz, the inventor of the biosand filter technology. In 2001 they co-founded the non-profit CAWST to share the technology and provide consulting services in water, sanitation and hygiene to those who work with local populations in the developing world.
Ms. Dow Baker was CAWST’s volunteer CEO from 2001 to 2011 and now serves on its board of directors.
Dr. John Gray
CMA Medal of Service
Dr. John Gray’s leadership and commitment to the medical profession has led to significant improvement in the safety of medical practice and reduction of medico-legal risk for Canadian physicians. In recognition of his career-long service to patients, physicians, and the health care system itself, Dr. Gray is the 45th recipient of the CMA Medal of Service.
A graduate of Queen’s University, Dr. Gray practised family medicine in Peterborough from 1974 until 2000. He served the Ontario Medical Association in many capacities, including a term as president, and was a member of the Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors. In 2000, after serving on the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) Council for two years, he was appointed its executive director and CEO.
In this capacity he led the CMPA through a tumultuous time of change. Its transformation from a relatively small organization to a strategic, transparent, and leading-edge national medical organization has been credited to his vision, leadership, and integrity.
Internationally Dr. Gray served on the board of directors of the Physician Insurers Association of America and for six years chaired its international section. He retired in November 2013.
Dr. Norman Campbell
F. N. G. Starr Award
Dr. Norman Campbell’s commitment to prevention and control of hypertension has had a global public health impact on stroke and heart disease. Over a 35-year career this world expert has been extraordinarily successful in changing public nutrition policy and in transferring scientific knowledge about hypertension into medical practice.
While president of Blood Pressure Canada and the Canadian Hypertension Society, he led the development and implementation of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) to help physicians better assess, treat, and control hypertension; since 2000 CHEP has been associated with a fivefold increase in control of hypertension in Canada. In his role as the HSF–CIHR Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control Dr. Campbell has influenced Canadian policymakers to make reduction of dietary sodium a political and public health priority. Now, as co-chair of the Pan American Health Organization–World Health Organization Expert Group on Dietary Salt Reduction, he seeks similar success against unhealthy diets and physical inactivity on a global scale.
Dr. Campbell’s honors include the Order of Canada. He is the 49th recipient of the Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award, the CMA’s highest honour for physicians.
Dr. Allison McGeer
CMA May Cohen Award for Women Mentors
Dr. Allison McGeer is an internationally renowned researcher and expert in infection prevention and control, pandemic planning, and hospital outbreak response. For 25 years she has been director of the division of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital. At the University of Toronto, she is a professor in the departments of medicine and laboratory medicine and pathobiology, and in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
Student learning and mentorship is an intrinsic part of Dr. McGeer’s career. She provides clinical research experience to trainees at all levels of medicine, as well as training in hospital epidemiology and research for masters-level epidemiology and nursing students. In addition to mentoring emerging researchers, she also supports medical residents, foreign medical graduates, and nursing students in their career planning.
Facilitating relationships and helping others build their professional networks is one of her most valued contributions. As her mentees advance in their careers, she remains an integral part of their networks, exemplifying her commitment to mentorship as a long-term and evolving relationship.
Dr. Emily Reynen
CMA Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action
Emily Reynen is the first medical trainee to receive the CMA Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action.
A native of Cambridge, Ont., Dr. Reynen began her health care career as a clinical pharmacist at Two Rivers Family Health Team and then clinical researcher for the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health in Ottawa. She also pursued a doctor of pharmacy degree that was awarded by the University of Toronto in 2012. She enrolled in medical school at McGill in 2011.
Elected to sit on the government affairs and advocacy committee of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS), she founded and became the president of a similar student advocacy group at McGill. There she was able to revitalize medical student interest in the CFMS National Lobby Day and began the process of establishing the first provincial Lobby Day for Quebec’s four medical faculties. She also organized an education panel for medical students to gain deeper understanding of Bill 52, Quebec’s end-of-life care legislation.
After graduating in May 2015, Dr. Reynen is pursuing internal medicine residency training at Queen’s University.
Palix Foundation (formerly the Norlien Foundation)
CMA Award for Excellence in Health Promotion
The Palix Foundation is a proactive private foundation with offices in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. The Foundation is active in knowledge translation and mobilization, professional development and training, research, evaluation, and networking.
The Palix Foundation established the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) in 2007. AFWI aims to mobilize and connect synthesized scientific research about early brain and biological development (i.e., brain science) to better understand and address how intergenerational factors, as well as experiences in children’s lives as they grow and develop, impact on their health and well-being throughout life, in particular on mental health and addiction. Since its inception, AFWI has engaged with change agents and leaders in health, human services, justice, education, academia, and community sectors to develop and support a multitude of activities in early childhood development, mental health and addiction meant to ultimately bring about positive, evidence-informed change in policy and practice for the benefit of children and families.
CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student)
Soniya Sharma stands out for her experience and accomplishments in medical politics, academics, research and extracurricular activities while a student.
When embarking on her medical studies at Queens University in 2011, she was elected to the executive council of the Aesculapian Society and represented Queen’s at the Canadian Federation of Medical Students and the Ontario Medical Students Association (OMSA). She chaired OMSA committees on duty hours and student wellness that led to the creation of a provincial wellness committee, as well as local and provincial wellness retreats.
Since being elected chair of OMSA in 2014, she has led constitutional reform for the organization. She also has represented her peers on the Ontario Medical Association board of directors and attended CMA General Council as an Ontario delegate, taking advantage of both opportunities to develop an innovative pilot program to teach medical students about governance while being mentored by physician leaders.
Her awards include the OMA Student Achievement Award and the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario Trust Fund Citizenship Award. As of July 2015 Ms. Sharma will be pursuing a residency in anesthesia at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Amol Verma
CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident)
Dr. Amol Verma is co-principal investigator of the GEneral MEdicine INpatient (Gemini) registry, now being piloted at six Toronto hospitals. In collaboration with Dr. Fahad Razak, Dr. Verma has raised more than $400,000 to develop a patient registry that has huge potential to impact quality of care and health policy across Canada.
“This is an exceptionally impressive piece of work for someone in his fourth year of residency,” say those nominating him for the CMA Award for Young Leaders.
Then they recall his success developing a weekly podcast that summarizes recent studies in internal medicine. The Rounds Table podcast has had tens of thousands of downloads in more than 50 countries and is CME-accredited by the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine. Dr. Verma helped create the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program for medical undergraduates and continues to participate in the admissions process.
A medical graduate of the University of Toronto, Dr. Verma was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University before returning to Toronto in 2011 to pursue a residency in internal medicine. His awards include the PAIRO Citizenship Award for contribution to medical student welfare and many academic prizes.
Dr. Alika Lafontaine
CMA Award for Young Leaders (Early Career)
Dr. Alika Lafontaine is committed to raising public awareness of First Nations and Aboriginal concerns in Canada. Whether on reserve or the national stage, he is focused on reducing health disparity, highlighting bias and lack of cultural safety in medicine, and improving communication.
This University of Saskatchewan medical school graduate has been recognized as a leader in almost every aspect of his young and busy life: academics, research, community service, aboriginal achievement, musical performance, entrepreneurship – even politics. In 2013 he was a Fellow of Action Canada, an elite leadership development and public policy program for young Canadians. He is the youngest recipient of the Indspire Award, the highest honour for Aboriginal Canadians. In 2008, he won the CBC’s “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” competition with a platform focused on reconciling the treaty relationship between indigenous peoples and Canadians.
Currently he is vice president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, a member of the AMA Representative Forum, and a member of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons Indigenous Health Advisory Committee. Since 2011, he has been a staff anaesthesiologist for Alberta Health Services (Grande Prairie) and has been medical lead for the North Zone Aboriginal Health Program since 2014.
Dr. Paul Byrne
CMA Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics
Dr. Paul Byrne has influenced how thousands of health care professionals and trainees, policymakers, patients, and parents think about medical ethics. By stimulating and leading a vibrant ethics culture at the University of Alberta, the neonatologist has advanced ethics thinking beyond academics and research into government, clinical settings, and the bedside.
He studied medicine in Dublin and pursued residency training in pediatrics in Ireland and Canada. Embarking on medical practice in the 1980s, first in Ontario and then in Edmonton, he experienced the paradigm shift from hierarchical decision making by physicians to informed consent and joint decision making by physicians and patients. In the technology-driven environment of neonatology, and guided by the mentorship of Dr. John Dossetor, he became a leader who respected parents’ beliefs while acknowledging their need to participate in difficult but informed decisions about their children’s treatment.
Dr. Byrne currently serves as interim director of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta. He is past director of Stollery Children’s Hospital’s NICU, where he continues to provide clinical services and teaches medical and nursing trainees.
Dr. I. Michael Kaufmann
CMA Physician Misericordia Award
Dr. Michael Kaufmann is the founding director of the highly regarded Physician Health Program of the Ontario Medical Association. Designed to assist professionals with substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, and other personal health problems, this program has served more than 8,000 doctors and students since its inception in 1995.
Dr. Kaufmann has also led the service expansion of the Physician Health Program in a number of innovative ways designed to enhance physician civility and create respectful medical workplaces - all in keeping with his vision: to meet the needs of the individual while allowing positive cultural change within the profession.
A medical graduate of the University of Toronto and a fellow of the Canadian College of Family Physicians, Dr. Kaufmann practised family medicine in Campbellford, Ont. for 14 years before dedicating himself to physician well-being. He was certified in addiction medicine by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, and is a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.
Honours for his work include the OMA Lifetime Achievement Award in Addiction Medicine, the Courage to Come Back Award of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Charlebois
John McCrae Memorial Medal
Lt. Col. Paul Charlebois began his military medical career in 1997 after graduating from Dalhousie University medical school and completing a family medicine residency at McGill University. In 2001 he embarked on a residency in internal medicine at the University of Ottawa. Posted to CFB Halifax in 2005, he now works at the Stadacona medical clinics, maintains a consulting practice at two city hospitals, is a clinical instructor at Dalhousie, and serves on the Advanced Life Support Advisory Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Lt. Col. Charlebois has served on humanitarian and disaster relief missions, participated in military missions in Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and deployed to Afghanistan four times. As the only internal medicine and critical care physician at the Kandahar Air Field multinational medical unit, he provided 24/7 care to wounded NATO soldiers, enemy combatants, and civilians.
Known for his professionalism, integrity, and compassion, Lt. Col. Charlebois has earned a reputation for his commitment to provide severely ill and wounded veterans with their best chance of recovery and to improve their opportunity to maintain their military careers.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Stiegelmar
John McCrae Memorial Medal
Lt. Col. Robert E. Stiegelmar is an exceptional orthopedic surgeon known for his diligent care and compassion for Canadian Forces members who have been injured in combat.
Orthopedic and musculoskeletal consultant for Canadian Forces Aeromedical since 2000, he has been a major contributor in the treatment of soldiers severely wounded in Afghanistan who are sent to Edmonton. He has followed some veterans for years—from their initial surgery in Afghanistan on one of his own tours of duty, to acute care in Canada, and then on the long journey of further surgeries and rehabilitation.
His understanding of military culture as well as injury and care of wounded soldiers extends beyond treating individuals to making efforts to transform the system to improve treatment for all. He is co-medical director of the Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN) project at Glenrose Hospital and has been a member of the “Bionic Arm” or Targeted Muscle RE-innervation and Targeted Sensory RE-innervation surgery teams at Glenrose Hospital and the University of Alberta.
Lt. Col. Stiegelmar also maintains a civilian practice in Edmonton where he is Facility Site Chief of Orthopeidic Surgery at University of Alberta Hospital.