Double honours for top JGH oncologist
In the space of just a few months this past spring, Dr. Gerald Batist, Director of the Segal Cancer Centre at the JGH, achieved the remarkable distinction of being chosen to receive two of the country’s and the province’s highest honours: appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada and as a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.
Dr. Batist, who is also JGH Chief of Oncology and Deputy Director of the Lady Davis Institute (LDI) at the JGH, is internationally known for his cancer research and as a pioneer in personalized medicine, which ensures that patients receive therapies that are precisely designed to treat their particular cancers.
As a professor, researcher, clinical oncologist, and senior health care manager, Dr. Batist has championed care for the “whole person,” which emphasizes optimal nutrition and psychosocial support to complement the best medical treatment. He is a co-founder of the Quebec Clinical Research Organization in Cancer, whose mission is to ensure that all Quebecers who are diagnosed with cancer have access to the best available care.
“Gerry has been an outstanding researcher and a truly exceptional leader of scientists,” said Dr. Roderick McInnes, Director of the LDI. “Not only has he built the Segal Cancer Centre into one of Canada’s leading cancer research and cancer care institutions, he has led many national and international research groups whose overall impact on health care extends well beyond his own work. He has brought great honour to the Lady Davis Institute, the Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Quebec and Canada.”
Citizenship medal for leading HIV/AIDS researcher
Dr. Mark Wainberg, an internationally recognized HIV/AIDS researcher and head of AIDS research in the Lady Davis Institute at the JGH, has received a D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal in appreciation for the lives he has enriched in and beyond the provincial riding of D’Arcy McGee.
MNA David Birnbaum, who created the medal that is named after his own riding, made the presentation to Dr. Wainberg and two other winners this past June at the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre. Mr. Birnbaum serves as Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministers of Education and Higher Education.
Dr. Wainberg, Director of the JGH-based McGill AIDS Centre, is a world leader in advancing treatment of HIV/AIDS and awareness about the disease. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
As president of the International AIDS Society, he organized and presided over the crucial 13th International Congress on AIDS in Durban, South Africa, in 2000. The event drew global attention to the lack of access to anti-HIV drugs in developing countries.
This past spring, Dr. Mark Wainberg was also honoured as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada, in recognition of his outstanding and distinguished career.
Physician-in-Chief wins Heart Disorders Prize
One of the most prestigious honours by a Canadian University, the Margolese National Heart Disorders Prize, has been awarded to Dr. Ernesto Schiffrin, Physician-in-Chief of the JGH, for advancing the understanding of the effects of high blood pressure on vasculature.
Dr. Schiffrin, Director of the JGH Cardiovascular Prevention Centre, is Professor and Vice-Director of Research in McGill University’s Department of Medicine. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Hypertension, the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Vascular and Hypertension Research in the Lady Davis Institute at the JGH, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Member of the Order of Canada, former President of the International Society of Hypertension (2012-2014) and President of Hypertension Canada (2013-2016).
Dr. Schiffrin was among three recipients of the Margolese National Brain & Heart Disorders Prizes, which were endowed by the late Leonard Herbert Margolese and are bestowed by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of British Columbia. Mr. Margolese, a Vancouver businessman who died in 2000, had a heart condition and his brother had Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to recognizing outstanding Canadian contributions to the treatment, amelioration or cure of brain or heart disorders, the prizes are given to individuals who show potential to make further contributions in their areas of specialty. All three prizes include a $50,000 award, making them among the most lucrative honours by a Canadian university.
Veteran thoracic surgeon to retire
One of the JGH’s most experienced and longest-serving surgeons, Dr. Nathan Sheiner, has decided to retire at the end of 2016. Known for his devotion to his patients, Dr. Sheiner is capping a 54-year career at the JGH, having studied medicine at McGill University, and trained at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr. Sheiner has focused mainly on thoracic and vascular surgery, while working closely with the pulmonary team. In addition to serving as the hospital’s Chief of Surgery from 1976 to 1993, he has held positions as Assistant Chief of Surgery and Chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery.
In recognition for his contributions to the hospital, Dr. Sheiner received the JGH Award for Medical Excellence in 2006. “I always tell my residents that taking care of patients is a 24/7 job,” Dr. Sheiner said when he received the award. “That’s my legacy—to impart this passion and enthusiasm for surgery to residents, and the understanding that it takes this kind of effort to be a good surgeon.”
Recognition for outstanding contribution to palliative care
Dr. Bernard Lapointe, JGH Chief of Palliative Care, has received the 2016 Award of Recognition from the Quebec Association of Palliative Care in acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to palliative care in the province.
A statement by the Association said the award, which was presented this past May at the organization’s 26th annual conference in Sherbrooke, also recognizes Dr. Lapointe’s commitment to the Association as a Past President and a former member of the Board of Directors.
McGill appointment for JGH specialist in internal medicine
Dr. Vicky Tagalakis, a staff physician in the JGH Division of Internal Medicine and Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University, has been appointed McGill’s Director of General Internal Medicine.
Dr. Tagalakis, an internationally recognized clinician-scientist, was praised in a congratulatory letter by Dr. Ernesto Schiffrin, the JGH’s Physician-in-Chief, for her “strong clinical and research experience.” He added that the appointment “is a clear recognition of your leadership, past achievments and future goals.”
Major grants for two researchers
Dr. William Foulkes, a leading cancer geneticist in the Lady Davis Institute (LDI) at the JGH, has received a grant for more than $2.5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), covering seven years of cancer-releated investigation. Dr. Foulkes is Director of Cancer Genetics at the JGH and McGill University.
Dr. Brent Richards, an LDI researcher and member of the JGH Division of Endocrinology, has also been awarded a CIHR grant for more than $1.8 million over seven years to explore the genomics of osteoporosis and vitamin D.
Orthopedic surgeon in line for presidency
Dr. John Antoniou, an orthopedic surgeon at the JGH and Director of the Orthopedic Research Laboratory in the Lady Davis Institute at the JGH, has been named 2nd President Elect of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association. This puts him in line to become the Association’s President in 2018.
Dr. Antoniou, a tenured Professor of Surgery and Research Director of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery in McGill University’s residency program, specializes in adult joint reconstruction and alternative treatments for patients suffering from osteoarthritis. His research focuses on the clinical and basic investigation of aging and the degeneration of the musculoskeletal system.
Dr. Antoniou is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a Fellow Member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, and a member of Hip Society.