A Montreal physician fighting cuts to public health, a physician in Alberta advocating for Indigenous health care and a Vancouver medical student embracing new technology are just a few of the people being honoured this year with a 2019 CMA Award. Nominated by their peers, each of the 11 individuals has shown commitment to improving the medical profession and the health of patients.
The winners will be honoured at a gala on August 11 in Toronto at the start of the CMA’s Health Summit. In addition, the work of the physician members will be featured as part of the CMA’s National Physicians’ Day campaign, running from May 1-10.
“These awards highlight the dedication, successes and talents of Canadians who are making significant contributions to our health and health care,” says CMA President Dr. Gigi Osler. “This year’s recipients have shown great leadership and dedication to their community.”
The 2019 CMA Award recipients are:
Dr. Alika Lafontaine – Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action
Dr. Lafontaine was told he would never finish high school, let alone become a physician. Yet with a big push from his mother, he became an anesthesiologist as well as a leader in Indigenous health care in Canada. His advocacy work and commitment has led to a $68 million commitment by the federal government to advance Indigenous health transformation. His leadership and dedication are what make him this year’s recipient of the Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action.
Dr. Ak'ingabe Guyon – CMA Medal of Service
Population health is her passion. After taking the opportunity early in her career to work internationally in Kenya and Tanzania, Dr. Guyon is continuing her public health work here in Canada. She’s become an outspoken voice against public health care cuts in her home province of Quebec, work that has led her to be recognized as this year’s recipient of the CMA Medal of Service. The medal is awarded to a CMA member who has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of health care in Canada.
Dr. David-Martin Milot – CMA Award for Young Leaders (Early Career)
Dr. Milot has always questioned the inequalities many people in society face. As a response to health care cuts, Dr. Milot founded Jeunes médecins pour la santé publique — a group that continues to promote investments in health prevention in Quebec. He’s also taken his passion to Columbia, where he took part in a project to prevent drug use and petty crimes among younger populations. His exceptional work in the fight against inequity has made him one of this year’s recipients of the CMA Award for Young Leaders.
Dr. Sheila Wang – CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident)
Dr. Wang has always taken an innovative approach to medicine. As a medical student, she observed that chronic wounds were being measured with a paper ruler leading to inconsistent results. Her solution? Developing a mobile app that takes an image of the wound and automatically calculates its surface area and depth. Today, her app has been adopted by more than 1,000 health care facilities and has contributed to a 75% reduction in bed sores. Her next goal is to use the app to improve wound care in remote northern communities. Dr. Wang’s research and innovation are why she’s one of this year’s recipients of the CMA Award for Young Leaders.
Philip Edgcumbe – CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student)
Solving problems is a big part of what Philip Edgcumbe does. As an undergraduate, he helped design and build a two-photon microscope that gave scientists new ways to learn about brain activity. Later, he invented and patented a medical device that enables augmented reality guidance during cancer surgeries. Today, Mr. Edgcumbe continues his work to bring medicine into the 21st century, using technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence to improve patient care. His innovative approach to medicine is a big part of why he’s one of this year’s recipients of the CMA Award for Young Leaders.
Dr. Mamta Gautam – May Cohen Award for Women Mentors
Dr. Gautam believes in the power of mentoring. As a young psychiatrist, she began by working with a small group of students, then moved on to develop more formal mentoring and leadership programs for groups like Canadian Women in Medicine. A strong advocate for physician health and wellness, she raises awareness on the stigma surrounding mental health. She’s this year’s recipient of the May Cohen Award for Women Mentors for encouraging and supporting mentees in career and leadership development.
Dr. Ali Damji – CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident)
Dr. Damji’s family came to Canada as refugees and relied on the support of neighbours and their community. He says it was an experience he’s never forgotten and has built his career on extending the same supports to the medical community. As past chair of the Ontario Medical Students Association, he played a key role in raising awareness of cuts to residency positions and has also become a public advocate for building a better medical culture. He’s one of the 2019 recipients of the CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident).
Ed Hobday – Owen Adams Award of Honour
For nearly 50 years, Ed Hobday has served Saskatchewan doctors through his role as an administrator at the Saskatchewan Medical Association. He’s helped doctors in the province at the bargaining table and by supporting their professional, educational and financial needs. It’s why he’s the 2019 recipient of the Owen Adams Award of Honour, the highest CMA award available to a non-physician.
Charles-Antoine Barbeau-Meunier – CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student)
Empathy is what drives humans to create real change — and for Charles-Antoine Barbeau-Meunier, empathy has been the basis for his medical career. A young leader in global health, he’s served as the Government of Canada’s youth delegate for the World Health Assembly and spent four years on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Youth Advisory Group, focusing on climate change and global citizenship. He’s currently developing a mobile app to promote “digital well-being” among high school students. Bringing empathy to medicine is just one of the reasons he’s a recipient of the CMA Award for Young Leaders.
Dr. Danielle Martin – F.N.G. Starr Award
Dr. Martin believes in quality health care for all Canadians. Her dedication to universal health care led to the creation of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, a group that was pushed into the global spotlight after Dr. Martin’s 2014 presentation to a US Senate committee. She’s currently making change as a health administrator, implementing programs at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto that have helped reduce wait times, cut costs and improve patient care. Dr. Martin is receiving the F.N.G. Starr Award, a lifetime achievement award for improving medical service in Canada.
Lieutenant Colonel Vivian McAlister, MD – John McCrae Memorial Award
A presentation by a former medical student who returned from a recent tour in Afghanistan set Dr. McAlister on a different path — in 2006, at age 52, he joined the Canadian Forces Health Services as a combat surgeon. Over the next decade, in addition to his regular surgical duties in London, Ontario, he contributed to missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti, playing a key role in improving trauma protocols for injured soldiers. His commitment helped make him this year’s recipient of the John McCrae Memorial Award, presented to current or former clinical health services personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces for exemplary service.