McMaster family medicine faculty recognized for excellence in primary care
Three Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) awards have been presented to five faculty members in McMaster University’s department of family medicine.
The awards celebrate physicians who advance family medicine, serve their community and provide exemplary lifelong care to their patients while making significant contributions to the health and well-being of their community.
“As much as this is a celebration of our faculty members, it also reinforces the importance of primary care as a core part of healthy communities,” says Cathy Risdon, professor and chair, department of family medicine.
Regional Family Physicians of the Year
Family doctors from across the province are awarded the Regional Family Physician of the Year for their outstanding contributions to their community through family medicine excellence and passionate involvement. Two recipients are McMaster department of family medicine physicians in the Tobermory and Guelph regions.
Dr. Elaine Blau, assistant clinical professor, rural generalist physician, and lead physician of the Peninsula Family Health Team, was awarded regional family physician of the year for Tobermory.
Blau is recognized for providing compassionate and expert palliative care in the clinic, hospital and home. She has worked in Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, delivered babies for 16 years in both rural and urban settings and provides emergency, in-patient, community, long-term and palliative care. She has led McMaster’s Rural Steam Residency Program and is an active member of various CFPC committees and a long-time Society of Rural Physicians of Canada member.
Dr. Kate Miller, assistant clinical professor, was awarded Regional Family Physician of the Year for the Guelph area for her involvement in primary care, emergency and hospital-based care, and a host of family medicine duties spanning intrapartum to palliative care.
The award recognized Miller’s policy work in maternal-newborn care with the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada and the CCFP and her co-authorship of the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health’s Maternal-Neonatal COVID-19 Pregnancy Care Guideline over the course of the pandemic.
Early Years Award
Dr. Joan Chan, assistant clinical professor (adjunct) and lead physician at the Guelph Family Health Team, is this year’s Early Years Award recipient. The award recognizes an early-career family physician who has demonstrated exemplary dedication to family medicine and primary care in their community in their first ten years of practice.
Chan is recognized for her work in cradle-to-grave care and local health care system transformation, and her leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion and digital health improvement for the Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team.
Her strong advocacy efforts were also celebrated. She helps steer the Guelph-Wellington Physician Association as part of her commitment to advocate for local healthcare workers, hosts a podcast—The Other Human in the Room—for her medical community and hosts workshops to help reconnect medical practitioners with their humanity.
Award of Excellence
Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, assistant clinical professor and Dr. Amit Arya, assistant clinical professor (adjunct), were two of 18 Award of Excellence recipients this year. The award recognizes an exceptional accomplishment or innovation achieved in the past 24 months in areas of family medicine like patient care, community service or education.
Alarakhia was recognized for his leadership in digital health. He helps improve the clinician and patient experience as managing director of the eHealth Centre of Excellence.
Arya was recognized for his leadership, advocacy and commitment to long-term care (LTC) residents. He founded Doctors for Justice in LTC, which brought together over 1,000 physicians and researchers to advocate to the Ontario government for the protection of long-term care residents.