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2017 recipients of the CMA Awards announced!

Fifteen individuals to be recognized at 150th annual meeting in August

Ottawa, May 31, 2017 — The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2017 CMA Awards, a yearly recognition of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Canada’s health care system and/or the field of medicine.

“Each year, we’re privileged to recognize the contributions of extraordinary individuals who made an indelible mark on the health care system and the health of Canadians”, says Dr. Granger Avery, CMA president. “I applaud each of this year’s recipients and look forward to personally congratulating them in August.”

The first CMA Award was granted in 1936 to recognize the achievements, leadership and contributions of physicians through all stages of their career. This year’s awards will be held on August 22 in Quebec City as the CMA holds its 150th annual meeting.

​Recipients for the 2017 CMA Awards are:                

·         Dr. Donald Lalonde: Having completed over 30 volunteer surgical missions in 20 countries, Dr. Lalonde witnessed first-hand the barriers to providing care in developing countries. His research has been instrumental in spreading new, simpler and less costly surgery techniques, allowing physicians in these countries to perform cleft lip repair and hand surgery with minimal discomfort. He’s this year’s recipient of the FNG Starr Award, the highest award that lies within the power of the CMA to bestow upon one of its members. 

·         Ron Sapsford: A former deputy of health in Ontario, Mr. Sapsford is the recipient of the Owen Adams Award of Honour (formerly known as the Medal of Honour), the highest recognition awarded by the CMA to an individual who is not a member of the medical profession. 

·         Dr. Jean-Claude Forest: In his 40-year career, Quebec physician Dr. Forest has raised the standards of practice of care provided to pregnant women, including during prenatal screenings. He’s awarded this year’s prestigious Medal of Service, recognizing individuals who have made an exceptional and outstanding contribution to the advancement of health care in Canada. 

·         Dr. Gillian Hawker: As a trailblazer at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Dr. Hawker has made mentorship across the academic lifespan a priority, focusing on equity and diversity. She’s the recipient of the May Cohen Award for Women Mentors, presented to a woman physician who has demonstrated outstanding mentoring. 

·         Dr. Peter Kuling: Based in Ottawa, Dr. Kuling has been an active physician on the political scene for a number of years, and was instrumental in the revitalization and modernization of the CMA’s outreach efforts in the 90s. He’s the recipient of this year’s Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action, awarded to a member who has demonstrated leadership, commitment and dedication in advancing the goals and policies of the CMA through grassroots advocacy. 

·         Sports for Life Society: Embracing a “sport for all” approach, Victoria-based Sports for Life or S4L — is working to minimize the gender gap and promote more physical activity among females. They’re recognized with the Award for Excellence in Health Promotion, awarded to an organization or individual that has contributed to improvements in the health and wellness of Canadians. 

·         Bing Yu Chen: A McGill undergraduate, Mr. Chen has taken a creative approach to raising organ donation awareness (organizing a zombie-themed donation event!), lobbied politicians for extra funding for the Quebec Organ Procurement Centre, and collaborated on the Canadian Federation of Medical Students Match Book to help medical students during the yearly residency match. He’s one of two recipients of the CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student category). 

·         Amy Li: A Calgary medical student, Ms. Li founded a mental health distress centre on campus, formed Outrun the Stigma Calgary and raised funds for the Calgary Distress Centre. She’s currently working on expanding her efforts across the country as well as making time to mentor fellow students. Ms. Li is also a recipient of the CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student category). 

·         Dr. Aravind Ganesh: Currently on leave from his residency in neurology at the University of Calgary to complete a doctorate of philosophy in clinical neurosciences at Oxford University, Dr. Ganesh has already received numerous honours and is currently junior dean, a clinical teaching associate, a fellow, an editor and a reviewer. He’s one of two of the CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident category). 

·         Dr. Colm McCarthy: An experienced emergency response team member, Dr. McCarthy is a resident in orthopedic surgery at McMaster University, where he has taken on a number of leadership and mentoring roles, including serving as one of the chief residents in his third year – a task typically performed by residents in their fifth year of training. He’s also a recipient of the CMA Award for Young Leaders (Resident category). 

·         Dr. Farhan Asrar: Dr. Asrar is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto as well as being cross-appointed at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the International Space University. He’s been recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Ontario Medical Association, the Resident Doctors of Canada and the Governor General. He’s one of two recipients of the CMA Award for Young Leaders (Early Career Physician category). 

·         Dr. Paul Dhillon: Dr. Dhillon is a full-service general practitioner in rural Saskatchewan, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan, a medical officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and a book author who donates all his proceeds to charity. Did we mention he plays football as well? He’s also a recipient of this year’s 2017 CMA Award for Young Leaders (Early Career Physician category). 

·         Dr. James Silvius: Dr. Silvius played a key role in preparing the province of Alberta for the introduction of medical assistance in dying, including assisting in the development of a palliative and end-of-life care framework. Dealing with a controversial subject with knowledge and perspective, he’s the recipient of the Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics, awarded to a member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership, commitment and dedication to the cause of advancing and promoting excellence in the field of medical ethics in Canada. 

·         Dr. Réjean Thomas: The founder of the Clinique médicale L’Actuel in Montreal in 1984, Dr. Thomas was a pioneer in treating sexually transmitted infections and in disseminating knowledge about the treatment of patients infected with HIV. His work expanded in 2011 with the addition of a second clinic specializing in sexual health. He’s this year’s recipient of the Physician Misericordia Award, recognizing the outstanding contribution by a CMA member to enhance the overall health and well-being of physician colleagues on both personal and professional levels.

·         Captain (Navy) Raymond Kao: Captain (Navy) Kao — specializing in critical care and internal medicine has a 40-year distinguished career that includes deployments to the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit and facing an Ebola epidemic first-hand in West Africa. He’s the recipient of the John McCrae Memorial Medal, which recognizes current or former clinical health services personnel of the Canadian Forces.

For more information on each of the CMA Award winners and their work, please visit