Canadian Medical Association

WINNIPEG – August 21, 2018 – Today, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) presented its 2018 awards as part of its annual recognition of outstanding individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to medicine and the health care system.

"Taking a moment to highlight and recognize the work of these deserving individuals reminds us all of the incredible work being done every day in this country. It's my privilege to acknowledge these individuals for their exceptional work in health care," said Dr. Laurent Marcoux, CMA president.

The 2018 CMA Award recipients are:

  • Dr. Cara Bablitz − CMA Award for Young Leaders (Early Career Physician): A Métis physician who uses her expertise to assist vulnerable Indigenous patients, Dr. Bablitz works with the Palliative Care Outreach and Advocacy Team in Edmonton. She brings compassion to a difficult role, as she helps to provide care to socially vulnerable patients. Dr. Bablitz also practises at the Indigenous Wellness Clinic and is a clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta.
  • Dr. Blair Bigham − CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident): Dr. Bigham is an emergency medicine resident at McMaster University, a qualified helicopter paramedic, and a medical journalist. He has published major feature articles in national publications including The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star, and frequently appears on CBC. After entering medical school, he found many of his classmates were struggling to deal with the type of tragedies he experienced as a paramedic. This led him to become an advocate, both provincially and nationally, on the issue of medical trainee well-being.
  • Dr. Christopher Charles − CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident): Taking his passion internationally, Dr. Charles developed an innovative way to treat iron deficiency in Cambodia. He created a small piece of iron shaped as a fish — a symbol of good luck in the country — for families to use in their cooking pots. The iron fish fortified the cooked food, and provided a cheap, simple treatment for anemia. Dr. Charles also has a PhD in nutritional epidemiology and is currently completing his residency in anesthesiology at the University of Toronto.
  • Dr. William Cherniak − CMA Award for Young Leaders (Early Career Physician): Currently practising emergency medicine on the outskirts of Toronto, Dr. Cherniak is co-founder and chairman of the board at Bridge to Health Medical and Dental, a Canadian charity working in southwestern Uganda. His commitment to global health has also led him to design and implement three 10-day courses in rural Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania for students in the Master of Science in Global Medicine program at the University of Southern California.
  • Dr. John Dossetor − CMA Medal of Service: A pioneer in nephrology and bioethics, Dr. Dossetor organized the first kidney transplant from a living donor in 1958, and subsequently established the first kidney transplant program at McGill University in 1964 — the same year he co-founded the Kidney Foundation of Canada. He is a founding member of the Canadian Bioethics Society and has consulted nationally on fundamental ethical issues in medicine including abortion, AIDS and HIV treatment, and end-of-life care.
  • Dr. Ritika Goel – Dr. William Marsden Award in Ethics and Professionalism: A practising physician based out of Toronto's Queen West Community Health Centre, Dr. Goel spends much of her time serving the homeless and those with complex mental health and addiction needs. She is the chair of the College of Family Physicians of Canada's Social Accountability Working Group and the co-chair of the Poverty and Health Committee of the Ontario College of Family Physicians. During this time, she was involved in designing and delivering Treating Poverty, an award-winning continuing professional development workshop.
  • Mr. Mike Gormley − Owen Adams Award of Honour: Mr. Gormley has held leadership positions at the Alberta Medical Association for almost 24 years, with the last 15 as their executive director. He has dedicated his entire career to advocating for physicians and for improvements to the health care system. He also played a key role in the development of Alberta's primary care networks, helping to transform the way physicians work with other health professionals to deliver primary care services. 
  • Dr. Aline Demirdjian Khatchikian − CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student): Dr. Khatchikian is currently pursuing her radiology residency and is the youngest member to be elected to the board of the Québec Medical Association. She developed extensive international experience by giving training sessions in Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Macedonia – amongst other countries − to encourage the next generation of medical students to become health advocates. But her international work doesn't end there; she organized the youth Pre World Health Assembly in Geneva, where she had the opportunity to collaborate with the World Health Organization.
  • Dr. Andreas Laupacis − CMA F.N.G. Starr Award: Dr. Laupacis is a leading academic, clinician and CEO for the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He has developed several guidelines, decision aids for patients, and approaches to assessing health care technology and interventions – all of which have been instrumental in shaping health services delivery. More recently, he has been involved in developing the Healthy Debate website, an influential platform for evidence-based health policy commentaries and a forum for establishing patient-centred narratives as an important medium for considering health issues.
  • Ms. Lerly Luo − CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student): A medical student with a focus on global health, Ms. Luo co-founded the first Global Health Conference at the University of British Columbia, bringing together students from diverse backgrounds and building partnerships between health care professionals, engineers and entrepreneurs. Ms. Luo has also been involved in public health research in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. However, her accomplishments are not limited to Canadian soil. She has also worked with Access Afya in Kenya, researching how to provide health care more effectively to Nairobi's slums and marginalized populations using digital technologies. 
  • Dr. Albert Schumacher − CMA Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action: A former CMA president, Dr. Schumacher dedicated much of his career to physician advocacy. At both the provincial and national levels, he kept pressure on governments to address the shortage of physicians as well as long wait lists for patients. Additionally, he was instrumental in creating an advocacy training program for medical students, residents and physicians at the Ontario Medical Association.
  • Dr. Janice Willett − CMA May Cohen Award for Women Mentors: Dr. Willett's leadership spans local, regional, provincial and national jurisdictions. But her biggest impact has arguably been at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, where she's worked to amplify the voices of northern physicians within Canada's health care and education systems. She has been praised for her mentoring skills and for her role in ensuring faculty development is available for all teaching staff at the school.

For more information on award recipients, please visit

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