Every year, the Royal College allocates $1 million through its National and Regional Awards and Grants Program to honour the exceptional accomplishments of Fellows, as well as encourage excellence in specialty medicine.
Our program can be divided into two categories. On the one hand, we have our series of grants and fellowships that recognize innovative and rigorous research initiatives of Fellows, and support research and development in medical education, continuing professional development, faculty development and other health domains that address the needs of Canadians.
On the other hand, we have our national and regional awards that focus more on supporting the lifelong learning and career development of Fellows, in addition to the their extraordinary contributions to medical science, medical education and humanitarian efforts. We regard our awards and grants as one way to recognize the core qualities that distinguish a Fellow of the Royal College.
This year, we are embarking on a comprehensive review of the awards and grants program to ensure it reflects the mission and strategic priorities of the Royal College and meets the needs of Fellows. In this spirit, I would like to recognize a few of our award winners for 2013 and discuss the ways in which they inspire and motivate all of us to reach beyond the norms of medical practice.
2013 Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award winner
Arguably one of the most prestigious prizes—and among the most difficult to adjudicate due to the extraordinary accomplishments of the nominees—is the Teasdale-Corti award. This award is named for Dr. Lucille Teasdale-Corti, FRCPC, a Canadian surgeon and international aid worker and her husband Piero Corti, both of whom worked in Uganda and contributed significantly to the development of medical services there. Establishing the Teasdale-Corti award was something of a grassroots movement at the Royal College. It was conceived of, and championed by, our Regional Advisory Committees, who made a strong argument that we should formally recognize physicians who go above and beyond their duties to provide health care with a humanitarian focus.
Most of our Teasdale-Corti award winners have primarily demonstrated their commitment to humanitarian medicine outside of Canada. This year’s winner, Dr. Joanne Liu of Montreal, Que., is no exception. Dr. Liu’s desire to engage in humanitarian work dates back to her adolescence, when she read a book called Et la Paix dans le monde, Docteur, about a Médecins sans frontières (MSF; Doctors Without Borders) physician working in Afghanistan. A few years later the teenage Joanne Liu completed a mission to Mali with Canadian Crossroads International. She was hooked, knowing then and there that she would become a doctor serving populations in developing countries.
The remarkable Dr. Liu is an inspiration. Her career with MSF has delivered her to some of the most dangerous regions of the world, among them Somalia, Honduras, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Indonesia, Palestine, Uganda, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Mauritania, Chad and Haiti. Dr. Liu knows well the sound of missiles flying overhead (Sri Lanka), and has had to live in conditions so dangerous that she slept with her boots on in case of a rebel attack (Congo and Sudan). She has saved countless lives in the field, under the most extreme conditions of deprivation, and has also witnessed countless deaths that were beyond her ability to prevent. Still, her work continues.
In addition to her efforts in the field, Dr. Liu has served on the board of MSF, acted as its President and is currently working on an innovative telemedicine project that will provide access to specialized care in major humanitarian emergencies. I haven’t the space here to recount more than a fraction of the personal and professional successes of this extraordinary physician. One of Dr. Liu’s fellow nominees captured our collective admiration when he wrote in to express his pleasure that Dr. Liu had been named winner. Such is the ethos surrounding the Teasdale-Corti award.
Winners of our other 2013 national awards
We are just as proud to present our national awards to other highly worthy Fellows working to improve medical practice and education in Canada. Among our national award winners are the following:
Dr. Karen Mann is the recipient of the Duncan Graham Award for lifelong contribution to medical education. Dr. Mann is a global leader in the field of medical education, having taught, developed and implemented innovative and effective educational programs across Canada and around the world. She is an award-winning teacher and researcher currently advancing medical education at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. and the University of Manchester in Manchester, U.K.
Dr. Richard Reznick, FRCSC, is the recipient of the James H. Graham Award for commitment to the Royal College and its objectives. Dr. Reznick is unquestionably one of the world leaders in medical education, especially surgical education. His pioneer work includes assessing skills with the development of several tools that are now used worldwide. A renowned lecturer, he helped transform postgraduate medical education at the University of Toronto, advancing specialty training throughout Canada, and he continues to pursue innovation as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Dr. Subodh Verma, FRCSC, is the recipient of the Royal College Medal Award in Surgery. Royal College Medal awards recognize original work in clinical investigation and basic science. Dr. Verma is the Canada Research Chair in Atherosclerosis, a University of Toronto professor and a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ont. Dr. Verma’s research working to identify the link between inflammation and atherosclerosis will help develop new medicines and procedures to treat heart disease.
Dr. Moyez Ladhani, FRCPC, is the recipient of the Royal College/AMS Donald Richards Wilson Award for integration of CanMEDS roles into a Royal College training program. Dr. Ladhani is a dedicated and passionate teacher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. where he serves as associate professor and deputy chief for the Division of General Pediatrics. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Ladhani’s leadership has helped his training program expand in size, led to the launch of new collaborations with programs throughout Ontario and advanced postgraduate medical education in Pediatrics across Canada.
Share your ideas and views on our awards and grants program
Our carefully adjudicated award system seeks to celebrate the very best of Royal College Fellowship: innovation, ingenuity, scholarship, resourcefulness—even courage. As we embark on our comprehensive review of the Royal College’s National and Regional Awards and Grants Program, we encourage your input.
Please use the comment functionality below to share your views, including any recommendations you may have for future directions of the program.
Join me in congratulating our award and grant winners for 2013!
Andrew Padmos, BA, MD, FRCPC, FACP
Chief Executive Officer