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Canadian Forces honour CMA for "distinguished service"

The CMA has been awarded the Canadian Forces (CF) Medallion for Distinguished Service, an honour presented "for service of a rare and exceptionally high standard, which accrues great benefit to the CF as a whole."

It is being presented "in recognition of the extensive and varied support its individual members and leaders have provided to the armed forces, particularly over the past decade of operations in Afghanistan."

CMA President Anna Reid described the award as "a great honour" for members past and present. "Since it was founded, the CMA has had close ties with the military, and we are extremely proud of that relationship," she said.

During Canada's recent combat operations in Afghanistan, the CMA encouraged civilian physicians to consider part-time military service to help support their roughly 300 military colleagues.

For instance, one former president, Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai, visited military medical personnel in Afghanistan in 2006, and returned with a blunt message. "I am convinced that we must do something to ease the burden on our medical colleagues there," she said. "If we do not help solve their personnel problems, it will mean that the same people have to keep going back and back and back again."

At the time, the CF was facing a 35% shortfall in uniformed medical officers, a shortage that has since been eliminated.

In a letter announcing the award, Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier, the CF surgeon general, offered his "profound congratulations and thanks for everything the CMA does and has done to support its military members and Canadian troops."

The award will be presented by the chief of defence staff, General Tom Lawson, at a later date. Previous recipients include The Ottawa Hospital, which has provided care to many wounded soldiers, and hockey commentator Don Cherry.

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