2018 Awards Recipients

Dr. John EmbilDr. John Embil


It’s amazing to be recognized by your peers for the work that you’re doing. Every day we go to work and we do what we do never realizing that people recognize you for that. It’s wonderful.

We’re helping people, we’re advancing science. It’s what we trained to do. We’re spreading knowledge, the knowledge that took me years to acquire. I’ve been able to synthesize, distill and condense to make it easier for others and hopefully have them avoid the effort I had to put in to acquire the knowledge.


Dr. Alecs ChochinovDr. Alecs Chochinov

Health Administration

Winning an award like this is fantastic, but it is important to acknowledge that there are many physicians who aren’t honoured in this way who are equally deserving.

You develop deep and enduring relationships in medicine. These are people you work with every day to provide the best patient care and so it’s extra special to have people who know you in that way, honour you like this.

It might be somewhat surprising to some for an emergency Physician to get an award for health policy and administration, because we usually choose this career for its clinical challenges and excitement. But every ER physician who practices for more than a few years learns that the system, like our patients, is unwell. The system needs healing and if it is not healed, our patients won’t have access to the healthcare they need. Outside the realm of health, we see the results of social inequity in the vulnerable populations who come to the emergency department. These are people who maybe didn’t have the parental support like I did, or proper nutrition, who are impoverished, addicted or are victims of trauma, broadly defined. Until we address the broad social determinants of health, we’re never going to stop the avalanche of patients who come into our emergency departments. So, that’s how an emergency doc gets into health care administration, policy and advocacy. I’m very grateful to have had a career in medicine that gave me the opportunity to do both.


Dr. BoltonDr. James Bolton

Health or Safety Promotion

Receiving this award is very meaningful and a great honour. All aspects of my work — clinical, research, administrative, and teaching — focus on suicide prevention and health promotion. We have worked tremendously hard in the Mental Health Program to develop new care pathways that provide evidence-based treatment for people who are in great need. This award acknowledges the work of many people, and most of all reflects our commitment to helping people in crisis achieve a stable and hopeful life. This award provides a wonderful foundation on which I will continue to innovate, to pursue new research, and develop better care systems for people with mental illness. It provides recognition for the work of our team and motivation for our continued efforts to move science forward.


Dr. Signy HolmesDr. Signy Holmes

Resident of the Year

I’m very grateful to be able to thank all the people I have worked with over the last five years and the four years proceeding that in medical school. It means that I have a lot of support, not only in my program but from colleagues I have worked with over the past five years. I always felt that I had a very good residency experience. Radiology is kind of removed, we’re kind of in the background so we don’t necessarily see patients on the frontline. We don’t necessarily get involved that way so it would be kind of easy to miss out on a lot of things. I’ve always been a little bit snoopy in the sense that I always wanted to find out things from the physician’s perspective. I would be wandering around the emergency department at three in the morning to actually see what’s going with the patients that we’re scanning. So to have the emergency department, and my program director, and my co-residents support (my work) as something helpful to the other services and good for patient care and not just my own education, it does really mean a lot to me. In particular, I was on maternity leave when I was nominated so I didn’t actually know I had been nominated until after I was back. Having that support here just reinforces what a great five years it has been.


Dr. Menzies' familyDr. Robert Menzies

Physician of the Year (posthumously)

It’s a profound privilege to accept this award on behalf of our dad. His job gave him a lot of joy and it was a big part of his identity. It’s a beautiful recognition of the work he did. He was always honoured but never felt worthy of the awards and recognition he received throughout his lifetime. So, though he would have said he is not the only deserving person nominated for this award, he is, without mistake, top among them. He worked tirelessly to bring and provide the best quality of care to his community and it was his honour to do so. It has become common practice these days to refer to people as clients, but he always thought of them as patients. For him, medicine was not a business exchange but a personal encounter in which, for the gift of trust from his patients, he offered healing and hope. We are truly grateful to accept this award on behalf of our father. It’s a privilege to be able to honour our father. He worked tirelessly at his job. He was very humble when he received awards like this. Personally, I’m his daughter so I believe he deserves the recognition but he was always very humbled.


Dr. MathenDr. Mathen Mathen

Dr. Jack Armstrong Humanitarian

Thank you very much. I would like to thank my colleagues for honouring me with this award. Travelling to foreign countries and working there is very difficult. As Manitobans we are very blessed with the health care system we have. It’s a privilege. My partner and I, when we were on our second trip to the Philippines, on our very first day we were in an earthquake zone with a Richter rate 6.8, and we watched the total destruction of the health care system. The hospital we were at didn’t have a single physician present. It was totally managed by nurses and we tried to help out. We are very privileged in what we have and I hope Doctors Manitoba tries to maintain what we have.


Dr. ArnejaDr. Amarjit Arneja

Distinguished Service

I am truly honoured to receive this award. This is a moment of great joy, pride and gratitude for me. With collaborative efforts in patient care, we have been able to address many complex issues in patient rehabilitative care and thereby improve the quality of life for patients in many areas. We have helped patients with chronic musculoskeletal myofascial pain with innovative treatment techniques. These techniques were demonstrated and promoted by local physicians and visiting faculty. We have developed a comprehensive Amputee Rehabilitation Program for amputees in Manitoba since 1980, including for war veterans and indigenous peoples. Veterans have made sacrifices for our safety and our security. They have made our country proud. Soldiers deserve the best rehabilitation care possible. Better access to care for indigenous people remains a significant health care issue. I am proud of the work we have been able to do at the Day Hospital and Rehab Clinic for diabetic foot ulcers and amputations in this population.

I am also proud for being founding co-director of the stroke rehabilitation program at St. Boniface Hospital and was involved in treating a significant number of patients in this unit. I have been deeply involved in improving the quality of life for seniors with arthritis and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. Seniors have helped build our cities and communities and they deserve extraordinary attention and care to improve their quality of life.

I am also very proud of being an active member of the College of Medicine, at the Faculty of Health Services at the University of Manitoba, and have been actively involved in mentoring and teaching students and residents throughout my career.

I am the one standing here accepting this honour but the award should be shared with the great teams of doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health-care providers that I have had the good fortune to work with at various stages of my career.