Dear Colleagues,

Every year the Royal College celebrates excellence in specialty medicine through the distribution of awards and grants. This program makes me particularly proud because I believe it not only inspires Fellows to bring their very best to their work, but also supports the foundations on which specialty practice is built in Canada.

We distribute these awards under two categories. One focuses on the personal achievements of those who contribute to specialty medical education and specialty care. The other supports visiting professorships; it fosters academic synergies and dialogue, broadening our knowledge and improving specialty practice in Canada and internationally.

Ultimately, the work that our awards program supports benefits our patients, and that is what makes me proudest of all. Please join me in congratulating our national award recipients for 2015.

The new Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award

This is the inaugural year of the Royal College’s Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award, which we founded in 2014 in honour of a Thunder Bay physician who serves as chair of the Royal College Indigenous Health Advisory Committee. Dr. Dignan is Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and a former Royal College Council member. He has dedicated his career to eradiating the health care disparities that face Indigenous Peoples in Canada. We established this important award to celebrate Canadian physicians or physicians-in-training who have shown a singular commitment to justice, including the eradication of all forms of racism and oppression for Indigenous Peoples in the realm of health care.

Karen Hill, MD, CCFP

Our first winner is Karen Hill, MD, CCFP. Dr. Hill is co-founder of Juddah’s Place, a clinic at Six Nations reserve, and her work embodies all of the qualities that this new award aims to celebrate. Dr. Hill is also the faculty lead in Aboriginal Studies at McMaster University and a board member of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. In her academic role, Dr. Hill guides the Department of Family Practice on Indigenous health issues and curriculum, and supervises medical students. In her role at Juddah’s Place, she has emerged as a leader in collaborative medicine that integrates western practices alongside traditional Indigenous forms of healing.

Dr. Hill’s approach embraces the concept of cultural safety and all that the Royal College has worked to espouse with respect to Indigenous health values and principles. As one of her nominators said, “I know that spaces like Juddah’s Place will become the new centres of Indigenous health excellence to help resolve the enormous health disparities that exist in our communities.” As another nominator put it, “Anyone who knows Dr. Hill is aware that she is a strong advocate for Indigenous health rights, and a champion against racism. Indeed, she is a source of pride for Indigenous physicians in Canada and worldwide.”

Bernard Charlin, MD, MA

This year’s Duncan Graham Award, for outstanding contribution to medical education, goes to Bernard Charlin, MD, MA. Dr. Charlin is a professor in the Department of Surgery at the Université de Montréal and co-founder of the international journal Pédagogie Médicale and the Société Internationale Francophone d’Éducation Médicale. Dr. Charlin has propelled many international collaborative projects that have furthered Canada’s reputation abroad, especially in francophone countries, as a world leader in medical education. His innovations include maintenance of competence tools — perhaps most notably the script concordance test, which is an assessment tool that probes whether an examinee’s knowledge is efficiently organized for taking appropriate clinical actions.

William Wall, CM, MD, FRCSC

The James H. Graham Award of Merit, for outstanding achievements that reflect the aims and objectives of the Royal College, goes to William Wall, CM, MD, FRCSC. Dr. Wall is a pioneer in transplantation surgery in Canada and has been involved in virtually every important organizational activity that has shaped transplantation delivery. This includes his work as chair of the Multiple Organ Retrieval and Exchange program of Ontario, on the Expert Panel on Transplantation in the Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology, and on the National Advisory Council on Organ Donation, to name just a few. We are not the only ones who recognize Dr. Wall’s profound contribution; among his many accolades is the Order of Canada, which he received in 2008.

Peter Ferguson, MD, MSc, FRCSC

The Royal College/AMS Donald Richards Wilson Award, for excellence in integrating the CanMEDS roles into a Royal College training program, goes to Peter Ferguson, MD, MSc, FRCSC. Dr. Ferguson, who has become an international authority in surgical education, has already won three awards and been recognized in top journals for his work developing a competency based curriculum program for orthopedic surgical residents. The curriculum uses an innovative modular approach based on the CanMEDS Framework and, after a successful three-year pilot at the University of Toronto, has had a profound and measurable effect on the learning outcomes of residents.

Learn more about our accomplishments

I also invite you to discover more about the Royal College’s achievements in our 2014 annual review, which offers several opportunities for interaction, including links to videos, photo albums and the website for additional information on key topics. For a printed copy, send us an email and we’ll be pleased to mail you one.


Andrew Padmos, MD, FRCPC, FACP
Chief Executive Officer