Canadian Medical Association

Canadian Medical Association

August 12, 2008 20:03 ET

Two Outstanding Physicians to Receive the CMA's Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2008) - For the first time ever, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action will be awarded to two Ontario physicians. Dr. Alan Drummond of Perth and Dr. Andrew Affleck of Thunder Bay will each receive be recognized with the 2008 award in recognition of their tireless efforts to educate government, policymakers and the public and to advance healthy public policy.

"The understated leadership of both Dr. Drummond and Dr. Affleck, their hard work and their unwavering commitment to advocate at both the federal and provincial level in pushing for critical improvements in the Emergency department are a model for others to emulate," said CMA President, Dr. Brian Day.

Dr. Alan Drummond has a long history of health care advocacy. After serving as president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) in 1992/93, he led a campaign that changed the debate about gun control to one of public health and injury prevention which assisted in the passage of Bill C-68, the Gun Control Bill. He has shown this same tenacity and conviction over the issue of Emergency department (ED) overcrowding and wait times.

Long active in CAEP, he has been a member of many committees and working groups and has chaired the public affairs committee since 2001. He has also been active in the Ontario Medical Association's Section on Emergency Medicine where he has dedicated his time to initiatives to reducing ED overcrowding and improve access to emergency care. He is also a member of an ED expert panel set up by the OMA and provincial government.

"I am deeply honoured to be recognized by my peers, but far more importantly, I view this award as an important acknowledgement by the profession that ED overcrowding is indeed a significant and serious public health threat that undermines the confidence of Canadians in the integrity of their health care system," said Dr. Drummond. "For most Canadians, their highly valued, almost iconic, universal health care system is all about timely access to quality care when it's needed most. Perhaps, within our life time, we will see ED overcrowding relegated to being simply a historical anomaly."

Dr. Andrew Affleck has worked tirelessly to change public opinion about the ED overcrowding crisis. The lack of physicians providing trauma coverage in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario inspired his early advocacy activities in the mid-1990s. Working with municipal leaders, local MPs and the minister of health, he was instrumental in establishing a Community Development Officer (recruitment) position that became a model for underserviced sites in Ontario and other provinces.

"Having worked in Emergency Medicine for 22 years emergency department overcrowding for me became the single most important barrier to providing proper patient care," said Dr. Affleck. "The issue had grown to the point where the effects were experienced on literally every shift. The impact affected not only ED care but admitted patients and was the main contributor to physicians and nurses leaving the ED."

"I enjoy the work I do and simply wanted to be an advocate for the patients and ED staff and make a contribution that would change the ED environment."

In 2002 Dr. Affleck joined the board of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP), serving as president from 2004-2006. Under his leadership CAEP committed to vigorous efforts, including a national "Stop the Waiting" campaign, to highlight that ED overcrowding was the consequence of drastic reductions in bed capacity. His direct lobbying of politicians, their staff, and health policy experts resulted in the addition of ED wait times to the Ontario Wait Times Strategy and the national Wait Times Alliance, and made ED overcrowding an election issue in Ontario.

"While Dr. Affleck and I may be receiving this award, it really is in honour of the two thousand men and women who are Canada's emergency physicians," said Dr. Drummond. "They consistently strive to provide excellence in patient care despite overwhelming odds. They inspire us."

The Sir Charles Tupper Award was created to recognize physicians who demonstrate exemplary leadership, commitment and dedication to the cause of advancing the policies, views and goals of the CMA at the federal level. Award winners demonstrate a high level of commitment to effective participation in grassroots political activities.

Drs. Drummond and Affleck will receive the CMA's 2008 Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action at a special ceremony on Wednesday, August 20 at the Association's 141st annual meeting to be held at the Sheraton Centre in Montreal, Quebec.

Contact Information

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