The diverse contributions of Vancouver physicians to patient care, to our teams and to the greater medical community are nothing short of inspirational. At the 2017 Vancouver Medical Staff Awards held June 12, we honoured seven of our best.
Nominated by their peers, the award winners have distinguished themselves in areas ranging from clinical excellence and scientific achievement to teaching and administration. We are proud to recognize and celebrate their commitment to excellence and quality patient care. They represent the best among us and what we aspire to be.
Bobby Miller Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Stephen Nantel
A senior hematologist with VCH-Vancouver’s Division of Hematology, Dr. Nantel serves as director of the VCH Research Institute’s Hematology Research Program, as a senior staff member with the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC and as head of the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Hematology, where he has taught at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels for 20 years. He has also served on the Exam Board for Hematology with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and as a chief examiner from 1997 to 2001.
During his tenure as program director of the UBC Hematology Residency Program from 1993 to 2002, Dr. Nantel reorganized the training program and was instrumental in establishing a formalized ambulatory program and adding St. Paul’s Hospital to the rotations for Fellows. At the undergraduate level, Dr. Nantel contributed to the development of the blood and lymphatics section of the problem-based learning (PBL) course. A lecturer, tutor and all-round educator, he continues to teach bedside clinical skills and is recognized by his students and peers for his teaching excellence.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Nantel has been recognized for his outstanding contributions with several awards. In 2016 he received the VGH Master Teacher Award; he’s also a recipient of the Donald M. Whitelaw Award for Outstanding Grand Rounds, the Fay R. Dirks Award for Excellence in Teaching and the UBC Hoffman-La Roche Award for Outstanding Faculty Lecture.
Bringing Clinical Renown to Vancouver Award
Dr. Michael Barnett
Dr. Barnett spends his professional time treating patients with hematological malignancies and has a particular interest in the myeloid leukemias. His affiliation with the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC began in 1986, and he is currently a clinical professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Hematology.
Dr. Barnett trained in medical oncology at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London before coming to Vancouver. He served as director of the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program for five years. As head of VCH-Vancouver’s Division of Hematology from 2003 to 2013, he also served as head of the province’s only bone marrow transplant centre. He and his team worked in conjunction with the BC Cancer Agency as leaders in scientifically directed and clinically excellent care. The Division of Hematology excelled under his direction with multiple clinical activities in areas such as thrombosis care.
Modest by nature, Dr. Barnett shies away from including his many accomplishments on his curriculum vitae, but his contributions have put Vancouver on the forefront of providing innovative therapies to patients with blood diseases. He has his colleagues’ highest level of respect and appreciation.
Clinical Excellence Award
Dr. Graham Wong
The recipient of VCH-Vancouver’s Bobby Miller Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012, Dr. Wong is the clinical director of the Coronary Care Unit at VGH as well as the regional physician lead for acute coronary care for VCH and Providence Health Care. He serves as medical co-director of VCH’s ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) Program, and he sits on the national steering committees for the GRACE and CANRACE registries of acute coronary syndromes and the CLARIFY registry of patients with stable coronary artery disease. A clinical associate professor with the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology, Dr. Wong also serves as director of the division’s postgraduate clinical fellowship programs.
Under Dr. Wong’s leadership, the Coronary Care Unit has seen a marked expansion in its clinical workload, complexity of patients and throughput. These increases have been matched with care systems ensuring ongoing improvement in outcomes for patients with life-threatening illnesses. Dr. Wong has identified care paths for optimal therapy, participated in guidelines at the national level to direct best therapies and worked tirelessly at the regional level to create harmonization and implementation of best care pathways for patients with acute coronary syndrome.
Dr. Wong conducts a robust ambulatory practice and is cherished by his patients. He has strong relationships with his colleagues, and is a popular mentor with junior faculty and Residents. He reflects, in the words of his nominator, “a generation of new general cardiologists who have chosen not to focus entirely on one aspect of clinical delivery but has remained with a breadth of impact as an intentional generalist.”
Larry Collins Award for Committee Service
Dr. Soma Ganesan
Dr. Ganesan’s service to the community includes volunteering on the boards of several mental health organizations and immigrant services societies. He is also a founding member of the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture, a non-profit group dedicated to serving and treating refugees and immigrants who suffer from psychological and physical injuries as a result of political violence and torture.
Dr. Ganesan was himself a refugee, having come to Vancouver from Vietnam in 1981. He has been a practicing psychiatrist in Canada since 1988 and is the founder and director of the Cross Cultural Clinic at VGH, which provides culturally sensitive and language-specific mental health assessment and treatment.
Dr. Ganesan is the head and medical director of the Department of Psychiatry for VCH-Vancouver
as well as a clinical professor of psychiatry at UBC. He serves in a variety of capacities on local, provincial, national and international programs and is also a valued member of the VCH-Vancouver Medical Advisory Committee. Dr. Ganesan is well known in the community for his long-standing and tireless commitment to the improvement of psychiatric care in Vancouver.
Dr. Terry Waters
A VGH anesthesiologist, Dr. Waters is also a clinical associate professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics. He has worked with VCH-Vancouver’s liver transplant program since its earliest days, becoming section head of anesthesia for liver transplantation in 1998. In that capacity, he organized the provision of clinical anesthesia services to ensure every transplant recipient receives the most expert clinical care, and he has worked closely with liver transplant surgeons and the BC Transplant Society to build a highly successful program that has virtually doubled its volumes.
Dr. Waters served as chair of the VGH Blood Transfusion Service Committee from 2004 to 2015 — one of only a few anesthesiologists to hold such a position in Canada. He developed the revolutionary Perioperative Blood Transfusion Management Program benefitting thousands of patients. The program has led to an increased use of cell-saver technology and the result has been a significant reduction in the need for homologous blood transfusion in many major surgical cases.
Scientific Achievement Award
Dr. J. Mark Fitzgerald
People across the world are literally breathing easier thanks to Dr. Fitzgerald’s tremendous body of research investigating airway diseases, including COPD and asthma. The VGH-based respirologist has published more than 400 papers and editorials in high-impact journals, and his research has included extensive collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. He sits on the scientific committee of the Global Initiative in Asthma (GINA) and is part of its executive committee. In addition, he has been part of the Canadian Asthma Consensus Working Group since 1989 and was the founding chair of the Canadian Respiratory Clinical Research Consortium. He is also a past president of the Canadian Thoracic Society.
Dr. Fitzgerald is the director of the Centre for Heart and Lung Health and a senior scientist at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. Dr. Fitzgerald is also a professor and head of the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Respiratory Medicine.
The work of Dr. Fitzgerald and his colleagues took centre stage this April when a $29 million anonymous gift to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for research and treatment of COPD and asthma was announced. This funding cements our reputation as a world leader in airways research, which is largely due to Dr. Fitzgerald’s contributions.
Past honours to Dr. Fitzgerald include a VGH Scientist Award, a BC Lung/CIHR Scientist Award and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Distinguished Scholar Award.
Special Service Award
Dr. Gavin Stuart
Known as an exemplary physician, administrator, teacher, leader and clinician, Dr. Stuart’s contributions have resonated on local, provincial, national and international stages.
Dr. Stuart was dean of the UBC Faculty of Medicine from 2003 to 2015 and continues to be a professor in the faculty’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 2009, he was appointed as UBC’s vice- provost health — a post he held until 2016 — which involved representing the university in health-related interactions with other universities and health authorities. Dr. Stuart stepped down from that role in order to commit further to his work as executive strategy lead for the new BC Academic Health Sciences Network.
Dr. Stuart continues to publish in peer-reviewed journals, co-investigate several research studies and teach. He also serves as a director of the executive board for the Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup, an international consortium committed to high-quality clinical trials for women affected by gynecological cancer.
Dr. Stuart is a member of our outstanding gynecological oncology team based at VGH and the BC Cancer Agency, and he is the principal investigator of many large phase III clinical trials. He’s also a consulting physician at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.
A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Stuart was made an honourary alumnus of UBC’s Faculty of Medicine in 2009 and, that same year, received the Presidential Medal Award from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.