Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Medical Association

September 23, 2010 14:45 ET

Alberta Medical Association Honors Four Outstanding Albertans for Their Dedication to Health Care

EDMONTON , ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2010) - The Alberta Medical Association (AMA) will honor four extraordinary Albertans, for their unwavering commitment to health care, on Friday, September 24 during its annual general meeting and Representative Forum. The AMA is awarding one Medal of Honor and three Medals for Distinguished Service. These achievement awards represent the highest honors bestowed by the AMA.

The Medal of Honor is presented to non-physicians who have made a significant contribution to ensuring quality health care for the people of Alberta. This year, the AMA is presenting the Medal of Honor to an impassioned advocate for people living with mental illness, Austin A. Mardon, who has devoted the past two decades to educating Canadians about the challenges, stigma and struggles facing the mentally ill.

Mr. Mardon is a writer, scholar and advocate, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 30. Since his diagnosis, he has become an outspoken advocate and public educator on mental illness. He has delivered countless speeches, conducted interviews with media and met with politicians, academics and community leaders regionally, nationally and internationally.

His work has earned him many prestigious awards including the Flag of Hope Award from the Schizophrenia Society of Canada in 2001, the C.M. Hincks Award from the Canadian Mental Health Association in 2007, and member of the Order of Canada in 2007. He is currently a board member of the Alberta College of Social Workers, a member of Covenant Health's Mental Health Committee and the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

The Medal for Distinguished Service is given to physicians who have made an outstanding personal contribution to medicine and to the people of Alberta, and in the process have contributed to the art and science of medicine while raising the standards of medical practice. This year, three physicians are being recognized with the Medal for Distinguished Service: pediatric infectious disease expert Dr. Tajdin P. Jadavji; neurosurgeon and mentor Dr. M. Elizabeth (Betty) MacRae; and palliative care pioneer Dr. Eric A. Wasylenko.

Dr. Tajdin Jadavji has devoted his medical career to caring for Alberta's children. He established the Department of Pediatrics at Alberta Children's Hospital, developed the Pediatric Infectious Disease Royal College Fellowship Program at the University of Calgary, and in 1990 founded the Annual Pediatric Infectious Diseases Conference, which he still chairs today. In addition, he helped educate and inspire young physicians, while building links with other countries, as an associate dean of International Health at the University of Calgary from 2001 to 2009.

Dr. Betty MacRae is a neurosurgical pioneer and mentor, whose refusal to be restricted by gender roles paved the path for future female physicians. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Toronto, she became the first female resident in Toronto's neurosurgery residency program. Dr. MacRae spent her entire career in the Division of Neurosurgery at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, and was renowned for both her surgical skill and her commitment to providing outstanding ongoing care to patients. Recently retired, she is credited with inspiring the careers of many neurosurgeons across Canada and around the world.

Dr. Eric Wasylenko is a palliative care specialist and clinical ethics expert who, together with a team of dedicated community volunteers, founded the Foothills Country Hospice Society. In 2008, after raising $5 million, the society opened one of Canada's first rural, private, free-standing adult hospice homes. Dr. Wasylenko is currently executive director of clinical ethics with Alberta Health Services and was recently named to the Ethics Advisory Committee of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

The achievement awards will be presented on Friday, September 24, during an evening presentation at the AMA's annual general meeting and Representative Forum being held at the Sutton Place Hotel in Edmonton.

For more information, or to request an interview, please contact Shannon E. Rupnarain.

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