Canadian Medical Association

Canadian Medical Association

August 12, 2008 19:11 ET

Dr. Helen Garson to Receive the CMA May Cohen Award for Women Mentors

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2008) - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) announced today that Dr. Helen Garson, from Campbell River, BC, will receive the 2008 May Cohen Award for Women Mentors on August 20th at the Association's annual meeting.

"This award is presented annually to a female physician who has demonstrated outstanding mentoring abilities," said CMA President Dr. Brian Day. "Throughout her career, Dr. Garson has acted as an exceptional role model in medicine by encouraging, facilitating and supporting the many women physicians who have crossed her path."

"I feel very honoured to be receiving this mentorship award", said Dr. Garson. "It is a privilege that my career allowed me to mentor other female physicians who wanted to contribute medically to the community as well as take care of their families."

Dr. Garson trained in the United Kingdom and immigrated to Canada in 1976. She first worked part-time in Gold River then moved to Campbell River where she also had hospital privileges. Recognizing a community need, she initiated a medical treatment service to give full-time coverage for all sexual assault cases, a responsibility she now shares with other female physicians.

In 2000 she joined a steering committee to establish a multidisciplinary palliative care team, an initiative that she has chaired since 2001. She is directly involved in symptom management of palliative patients, and was instrumental in creating an emergency palliative care drug kit to assist patients who prefer to stay at home. Since 2003 she has concentrated her practice on cancer care, which involved many weeks of training in the GP Oncology Preceptorship Program in order to supervise chemotherapy treatments.

"Juggling part-time work around motherhood enabled me to raise my family but as they became independent, it enabled me to be more available to pursue the introduction of new, more challenging - though time consuming - medical services such as sexual assault examinations, palliative care and oncology," said Dr. Garson. "Caring for terminal cancer patients brought me into the realms of multidisciplinary teamwork, home visits, and very compassionate and professionally rewarding work."

As a mentor, Dr. Garson shows confidence in other medical women's clinical skills while supporting their need to balance family and medicine. She is also convinced of the indispensable role of family physicians on multidisciplinary teams in community health settings, teaching her mentees that family physicians have a more global sense of any clinical problems and thus bring perspective and insight that many paramedical professionals do not have.

Dr. Helen Garson is the 8th recipient of the Canadian Medical Association's May Cohen Award for Women Mentors. She will receive this award at a special ceremony at the Sheraton Centre in Montreal, QC as part of the CMA's 141st annual meeting.

Contact Information

  • CMA
    Lucie Boileau
    Manager, Media Relations
    613-731-8610 or 1-800-663-7336 ext. 1266
    613-447-0866 (mobile)