Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Alumni Awards of Distinction!

Faculty of Medicine
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Awards and recognition
Faculty of Medicine
Alumni Awards 2023
The 2023 winners / Photo credit: Mélanie Provencher
With joy and pride, on October 13 the Faculty of Medicine presented the 2023 Alumni Awards of Distinction to nine recipients who play a major role in the practice, research and teaching of medicine in Canada and around the world.

The Faculty of Medicine's Alumni Awards of Distinction are an opportunity to celebrate the excellence and dedication of our Faculty’s graduates. Each year, these awards are presented to outstanding researchers, health care workers and educators in recognition of their outstanding achievements and unwavering commitment to the community.

Awards / Photo credit: Mélanie Provencher

These honours include the Exceptional Leadership Award, honouring those who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and dedication, the Lifetime Achievement Award, given to outstanding leaders in their field who have made significant achievements and commitments to their communities, and the Rising Star Award, highlighting outstanding young graduates who are making significant contributions to health care and medicine. These recipients embody the essence of medical excellence and inspire us to aim higher in the pursuit of community health and well-being.

Exceptional Leadership Award:

Dr. Maura Campbell (PhD 1993) has been the President and CEO of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting health technology innovation and commercialization, since February 2022. Dr. Campbell was appointed Chair of OBIO's Board of Directors in March 2021, bringing with her more than 30 years of experience managing successful biotech companies.

Dr. Campbell most recently served as Vice-President of Intellectual Property and Contracts at Turnstone Biologics, where she played a key role in the company's financings, as well as the execution of two major pharmaceutical licensing agreements. Under her leadership, the company has raised more than $370 million since its inception in Ontario in 2015. Dr. Campbell has also served as Director of Intellectual Property at PainCeptor Pharma Corporation, as Head of Technology Transfer and Commercialization at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and as Head of Technology Transfer at the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems National Centre of Excellence. She has also acted as an intellectual property consultant for several Canadian start-ups, including Neurochem, Conjuchem, Aonix, AMRIC and Sussex Research Labs.

Dr. Campbell holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa and an MSc and BSc in Biochemistry from Queen's University in Kingston. Her rich and varied background attests to her expertise and significant contribution to the biosciences and health sector, confirming her eminent role in promoting innovation in this field.

See Dr. Campbell's acceptance speech.

Dr. Campbell
Dr. Campbell

Dr. Abhinav Humar (MD 1988) is a prominent figure in the field of transplantation and surgery, known for his commitment to medical excellence and cutting-edge research. He currently serves as Clinical Director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and Chief of the Division of Transplantation in the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition, he is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a Physician at Pittsburgh VA Medical Healthcare System.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Ottawa, Dr. Humar was also a silver medalist in his medical class. After several internships at the University of Ottawa and the University of Western Ontario, he was awarded a fellowship in transplant research and surgery at the University of Minnesota in 1996.

Dr. Humar is distinguished by his broad clinical interests, including adult abdominal transplantation, living donor liver transplantation, partial liver transplantation and hepatopancreatobiliary surgery.

In addition to his clinical practice, he has made significant contributions to medical research, particularly in the areas of partial liver transplantation, liver regeneration, clinical outcome studies in organ transplants and the control of cytomegalovirus disease in transplant recipients.

Dr. Humar was honored as a "Top Doctor" in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine from 2005 to 2008 and in Pittsburgh Magazine from 2011 to 2015. He is a member of several renowned medical societies and is actively involved in the development of a liver transplant program at a large teaching hospital in Mumbai, India.

Dr. Humar
Dr. Humar

Dr. Pierre Plourde (MD 1983), Medical Officer of Health with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Professor in the Departments of Community Health Sciences and Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba College of Medicine, is the epitome of medical excellence and humanitarianism. Dr. Plourde's career has been marked by his commitment to health promotion in Haiti.

His outstanding contributions to Haiti began in 1982 as a medical student, and he has since forged deep ties with the Canadian and Haitian medical community. Some Haitian colleagues consider him one of their own, affectionately calling him "half Haitian and half Canadian" because of his ongoing commitment to the country.

In recognition of his humanitarian dedication, Dr. Plourde received the Dr. Jack Armstrong Humanitarian Award from Doctors Manitoba in 2010. In 2022, he was honored with the Moira Walker Award, recognizing his unwavering commitment to health care and humanity. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he persevered by mobilizing funds to support nutrition and education programs in Haiti.

Dr. Plourde's story and exemplary service demonstrate the noblest values of medicine and human compassion, making him a valuable source of inspiration for all.

See Dr. Plourde's acceptance speech.

Dr. Plourde
Dr. Plourde

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Dr. Rob Beanlands (MD 1983) is a renowned cardiologist, researcher and leader in the field of cardiology and cardiac imaging. After serving as Chief of the Division of Cardiology from 2012 to 2022, Dr. Beanlands is now Deputy Director General of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He is also the founder of the National Cardiac PET Centre, Canada's only positron emission tomography (PET) facility dedicated to cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Beanlands is a Professor in the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine, with cross-appointments in the Department of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics and the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. His groundbreaking cardiology research has focused on cardiac circulation, metabolism, inflammation and cellular function, with major implications for the understanding of cardiovascular disease, patient care and health policy.

Dr. Beanlands has led numerous multi-centre research initiatives and has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles. He has held leadership positions on various government, industry and professional advisory committees, influencing health policy and medical guidelines.

Recognized for his outstanding contributions, Dr. Beanlands has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Blumgart Research Achievement Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine (2013), the University of Ottawa Alumni of the Year Award (2020), and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Career Achievement Award (2022). Dr. Beanlands is a leading figure in the field of cardiology in Canada, marking the history of cardiovascular research and care.

See Dr. Beanland's acceptance speech.

Dr Beanlands
Dr. Beanlands

Dr. Isra Levy (MSc, Epidemiology 1993) is a leading figure in the medical and public health field, having dedicated his career to improving health services in Canada. He joined Canadian Blood Services in January 2018 to lead the Medical Affairs and Innovation division. Its mission is to oversee the Centre for Innovation, Organ and Stem Cell Transplantation, Donation and Clinical Utilization, Medical Microbiology and Epidemiology, while ensuring that Canadian Blood Services' medical and scientific expertise is leveraged in all its activities.

Prior to joining Canadian Blood Services, Dr. Levy served as Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health, where he led innovative and important public health initiatives and was named Physician of the Year by the Ottawa Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Levy is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. After working in South Africa and England, he immigrated to Canada, where he earned a master's degree in epidemiology from the University of Ottawa and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He also completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

In 2021, Dr. Levy was inducted into the Order of Ottawa by Mayor Jim Watson, in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements and outstanding service to the community. His impressive track record and dedication to improving health services make him a key figure in the medical and public health field in Canada.

See Dr. Levy's acceptance speech.

Dr. Levy
Dr. Levy

Rising Star Award:

Dr. Andrew Boozary (MD 2013) is a primary care physician, health policy practitioner, researcher and the founding executive director of the Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine at the University Health Network. He completed his medical training at the University of Toronto and his health policy training at Princeton University and Harvard University. His work, which sits at the intersection of health policy, social justice and equitable health care delivery, aims to improve health outcomes for marginalized populations.

During the pandemic, Dr. Boozary was co-lead of the COVID-19 homelessness response in Ontario Health's Toronto Region and holds the Chair of Policy Innovation at the University of Toronto. He is also the founding editor-in-chief of the Harvard Public Health Review and has served as a senior advisor to policymakers at various levels of government, both domestically and internationally, on public policy issues ranging from primary care reform to pharmacare.

Dr. Boozary has published in high-impact academic journals, and his writings and analyses are featured in print and broadcast media. He has received several national and international awards and is the youngest physician to receive the Louise Lemieux-Charles Health System Leadership Award and the youngest speaker at the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine graduation ceremony. His commitment to improving health policy and health care is invaluable, and he continues to work for equitable, patient-centred health care delivery.

Dr. Boozari
Dr. Boozari

Dr. Chelsea Bertrand (MD 2018) is a health care professional with an outstanding academic background. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Biology from Laurentian University before continuing her medical studies at the University of Ottawa. After completing her MD, she received recognition from the College of Family Physicians of Canada for her work in Indigenous health as the recipient of the Indigenous Medical Student Leadership Award in 2018.

Dr. Bertrand then trained in family medicine at NOSM University (Northern Ontario School of Medicine) and recently completed a Master of Public Health from Brock University. As an Indigenous woman and mother from Northern Ontario, Dr. Bertrand is passionate about Indigenous health and health equity issues. While still in the early stages of her career in family medicine, she is excited about the opportunities ahead to continue contributing to improved health and health equity. Her academic background and commitment make her a valuable voice in the field of Indigenous health in Canada.

Dr. Bertrand
Dr. Bertrand

Dr. Benjamin Hibbert (PhD 2013, MD 2006) completed his BSc in Biology at the University of Ottawa in 2002, where he earned the Gold Medal in Science. He then completed his Doctorate in Medicine in 2006, followed by an Internal Medicine residency at The Ottawa Hospital. He subsequently went on to complete his Cardiology training and the Clinician Investigator Program while obtaining his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Finally, he completed a fellowship in Interventional Cardiology from 2013 to 2015 and joined as a consultant until 2023. He has since moved to Rochester, Minnesota where he works in Interventional Cardiology and Critical Care Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Hibbert’s research program focuses on meta-research, translational vascular biology and clinical research. His meta-research program has focused on improving reproducibility and enhancing translation of basic science by evaluating methodological rigor and the process(es) of research design, execution and dissemination. His translational research program focuses on the blood-vessel interface in the post-PCI (following stent insertion) artery with the goal of developing novel strategies to improve patient outcomes. Finally, Dr, Hibbert's group runs a large clinical research program, which includes observational outcomes-based research through randomized clinical trials. Complementing clinical care, he has active research in critical care cardiology (cardiogenic shock, focused cardiac ultrasound), percutaneous coronary interventions (impact of medical regimens on bleeding outcomes, transradial access, non-invasive and invasive ischemia testing), and structural heart disease (mitraclip, novel devices for heart failure and/or valvular heart disease, left atrial appendage closure).

He brings a valuable combination of practical medical expertise in interventional cardiology and critical care, along with a significant contribution to medical research and innovation.

Dr. Hibbert
Dr. Hibbert

Dr. Abir Fatimah Yamak (PhD 2013) is a researcher in human and molecular genetics who received her PhD from the University of Ottawa and McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Mona Nemer. Her thesis work focused on the transcriptional regulation of the heart during development and disease, studying the transcription factors Gata4, Tbx5 and Klf13. Following her PhD, Dr. Yamak began her postdoctoral studies at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in December 2015, under the supervision of Dr. Ibrahim Domian, before joining Dr. Patrick Ellinor's lab in September 2019.

Currently, her research focuses on understanding the role of Asb2, a member of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, in cardiac development as well as in the adult heart under stressful conditions. She received the MGH Fund for Medical Discovery Award for her work. In addition to her research career, Dr. Yamak is a business development consultant at the Harvard Office of Technology Development, where she contributes to the development of commercialization reports for Harvard inventions. She also serves on the boards of the Harvard Biotechnology and Consulting Clubs.

Her passion for research and commitment to business development make her a versatile and accomplished researcher in the field of cardiac genetics.

See Dr. Yamak's acceptance speech.

Dr. Yamak
Dr. Yamak

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