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CMA past president among six named to Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

November 1, 2012

Six physicians, including the first woman to serve as president of the CMA, have been selected for induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2013. Their selection means that membership in the hall, which stood at 95, will have passed 100 laureates for the first time.

“The 2013 inductees have overcome incredible challenges to improve the lives of countless others, and as fellow Canadians we can be extremely proud,” said Dr. Stewart Hamilton, chair of the hall’s Board of Directors.

The latest inductees come from a mix of backgrounds, including research, medical education and politics.

Dr. Bette Stephenson of Toronto, who in 1974 became the CMA’s first woman president, was cited as “an exemplary role model for young women in medicine.” She was not only Board chair and president at the CMA, but also served as Ontario’s minister of education, as a founder of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and as head of the Department of Family Medicine at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. She was also the mother of six children.

Winnipeg internist Arnold Naimark is a former dean of medicine at the University of Manitoba, where he created the Northern Medical Unit that became a model for health care delivery to Aboriginal people. He was recognized for his “leadership, powerful analytical skills, strategic insight and deep wisdom that have to this day put him in high demand on the national and international health circuits.”

The hall described inductee Dr. Antoine Hakim of Ottawa as “among the world’s greatest neurologists.” Hakim, founding CEO and scientific director of the Canadian Stroke Network, was credited with championing the Canadian Stroke Strategy, which has been pursued in almost every province. Within five years of its introduction, Ontario saw an 11% reduction in the admission of stroke patients to hospital. “It takes steely resolve to change a health care system to that degree,” Hakim’s citation said.

Dr. David MacLennan of the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto, where he studies the regulation of muscle contraction and relaxation by calcium ions, is cited as “one of Canada’s foremost biomedical scientists, and his work work illustrates how basic science can be applied to saving lives.”

The selection committee described Dr. Claude Roy of Montreal as “a man of science and humanism who always puts the child first.” His citation said he played a leading role in transforming Ste-Justine University Hospital into an “internationally respected” centre and that his research in areas such as infant nutrition and chronic liver disease “has had a major impact on the health of children everywhere.”

The citation for Dr. Ian Rusted, who died in 2007, says that without his contributions there would be no medical school in Newfoundland and Labrador: “His legacy and spirit lives on in over 2,000 medical graduates who are scattered across the province and throughout the world, caring for the needs of humanity wherever they may be.”

The new laureates – all are officers of the Order of Canada – will be welcomed into the hall May 2, 2013, during an induction ceremony in Halifax that is expected to attract more than 700 people.

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NT5