2018 Doctors Manitoba Awards

Dr. John Embil

Dr. Embil is currently a full professor in the Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases and Department of Medical Microbiology. Dr. Embil is an accomplished clinician investigator who has focused his research activities on conditions that are of importance to the population of Manitoba and northwestern Ontario (diabetics and blastomycosis). As well, Dr. Embil is currently the Director of the Bachelor of Sciences in Medicine Research Program, which matches an undergraduate medical student with a research mentor for the first and second summers of the undergraduate medical training curriculum.

Through his research activities, Dr. Embil has become recognized as a world authority in the lower limb complications of diabetes and blastomycosis. Dr. Embil is a passionate and inspired teacher imparting knowledge to trainees at all levels, specifically, undergraduate students, medical and physician assistant students as well as residents and practicing physicians.

Dr. Embil’s research activities have focused on disease entities that affect persons that reside in our geographic area, specifically, Manitoba and northern Ontario. Through his research Dr. Embil has been able to advance the field of infections in persons with diabetes, particularly, the lower extremity and he has expanded greatly the broader understanding of endemic mycosis, Blastomyces dermatitidis.

Dr. Embil is actively involved in bedside teaching for trainees of all levels, specifically, undergraduate medical students, residents and post-graduate trainees, fellows, and other healthcare professionals. Dr. Embil is also actively involved in clinical teaching of nurses that work in northern and remote communities as well as physician assistant students. The clinical teaching focuses on basic clinical skills as well as clinical reasoning at the bedside. The Embil’s teaching also includes many academic half day programs for the Departments of Surgery, Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and any other program where trainees rotate through the Infectious Diseases Service at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Embil is best known for being the driving force behind Bug Day, a program focusing on infectious diseases, infection prevention and control and public health. It is the largest accredited continuing professional development program in Manitoba targeting all healthcare providers.

Scholastic Award

For scholarly activity in the heal professions (examples of scholarly activity are research, teaching, and writing).





Dr. Alecs Chochinov

Dr. Chochinov is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Regional Emergency Program, in addition to his clinical practice in Emergency at St Boniface Hospital. After obtaining specialty certification in Emergency Medicine from the Royal College, he received further training in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, before returning to Manitoba as director of Grace and, subsequently, St Boniface EDs. His academic and research interests are in hypothermia, near- drowning, ED operations and health policy as applied to patient flow. As Chair of the Emergency Cardiac Care Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, he was instrumental in the early development and dissemination of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training in MB. Dr. Chochinov continues to foster growth and inspire excellence beyond Manitoba, in his capacity as President-Elect of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP).

The specialty of Emergency Medicine is less than 40 years old in Canada and was built by a small cadre of academic leaders, including Dr Chochinov, who recognized that a special body of knowledge and expertise was required to look after acutely ill and injured patients. Prior to the mid-1980’s, Emergency Medicine in Manitoba was situated within Family Medicine. As the very first Academic Section-Head of Emergency Medicine, Alecs began a trailblazing career that would eventually see the specialty achieve departmental status within the University of Manitoba. The framework and vision pioneered by Dr. Chochinov have helped create highly sought after post-graduate residency programs, robust undergrad and CPD programs, collaborative research and educational scholarship. The development of these programs, from the ground up, within a well-organized administrative infrastructure, is directly attributable to his tireless efforts and consummate leadership skills.

In the midst of great change and instability due to consolidation of hospital services, we need capable and dedicated leaders to help guide Manitoba through these uncertain times. Dr. Chochinov’s wisdom and keen insight will prove invaluable as the lead for Emergency Medicine in the newly-created Shared Health MB. Their work will, in turn, be informed and guided by the recently commissioned Emergency Department Wait Time Reduction Task Force, of which Dr. Chochinov was co-chair.

Dr. Chochinov’s dedication to healthcare policy and administration, provincially and nationally, has been demonstrated in many other ways, including his extensive involvement with the Canadian Medical Association, where he chaired the Council on Education and Workforce, and Doctors Manitoba, where he served as President from 2001-2002.

Health Administration Award

For contribution to policy and/or in administration of health care.






Dr. James Bolton

Dr. James Bolton is the Director of Research for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba. He is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Community Health Sciences. He is also an Adjunct Scientist at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, and is the Medical Director of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Crisis Response Centre (CRC).

Dr. Bolton has been Medical Director of the CRC for 4 years.  His work has included overseeing medical operations at the CRC and has authored clinical guidelines in three key areas of patient safety:

  1. The transfer of mental health patients from CRC to emergency departments for emergent physical illness treatment
  2. Differentiating risk presentations and pairing them with appropriate clinical pathways, and
  3. Safety guidelines advising clinical staff when to admit and when to discharge patients.

Beyond guideline development, Dr. Bolton has also led the creation of new clinical programs to provide treatment to suicidal individuals and other patients in crisis.  Recognizing that the majority of suicidal individuals have not received direct treatment in conventional medical programs, he designed and implemented a novel, comprehensive post-crisis follow-up treatment program that incorporates evidence-based treatments.  The Urgent Follow-Up Integrated Treatment Team (UFITT) program offers urgent access to psychotherapy, individual counseling, psychiatric assessment, psychological assessment and medication management.

Over the past 10 years Dr. Bolton has established a strong track record of scientific research. He has published articles in high impact journals including the British Medical Journal and JAMA Psychiatry. He was a CIHR New Investigator (2011-2016) and is currently supported by a NARSAD Young Investigator Award. He has a strong commitment to research training, having directly supervised more than 50 students at the resident, undergraduate, PhD, and physician assistant level.

Health or Safety Award

For contribution toward improving and promoting the health or safety of Manitobans specifically or humanity generally.





Dr. Signy Holmes

Dr. Holmes is known by all in the Radiology program to be brilliant, kind and compassionate and always going the extra mile for her patients. She has been an outstanding role model for her peers even before she became chief resident. She is very active in teaching, both at the medical student and resident levels. As a consultant, she has garnered much respect not only from other residents but also from attending physicians of the many services that consult with radiology.

Dr. Holmes is currently in her PGY5 year and her co-residents are already dreading her graduation from the program because she has been a role model for all her peers and has been extremely influential within the program serving as a chief resident and as a mentor. In these roles she has served as a voice to advocate for our resident group.

Dr. Holmes is well known across the entire Manitoba medical community. She has done countless hours of medical school teaching and curriculum design, as well as teaching for other residency programs. She is frequently referred to and introduced as “our local superstar radiology resident.” As recognition for her hard work and her contributions to the resident body at large, she was recently awarded the PARIM Resident of the Month award by peer nomination.

Dr. Holmes has shown herself to be a role model for those in the radiology program as she often seizes upon opportunities not only to relay results but to also point out and teach the abnormalities to the ordering physicians. Dr. Holmes demonstrates what it takes to be a strong integral member of the healthcare team and sets the example for junior residents in the program to follow. She has spent many hours training junior residents, preparing documents and teaching fellow residents the skills and knowledge required to prepare them for finishing their residency.

Dr. Holmes is currently in her final year of residency which is filled with preparation for the Royal College exam. In addition, she has been juggling the recent birth of her first daughter with the rigors of residency. She continued to do call past when she was required to do so in order to aid the residency group when it is short staffed. In addition to call, she still participates in research and serves on the residency program committee, all while still preparing for the biggest exam of her professional career. Through all of this she has remained engaged with the program and her co-residents helping to strengthen the residency program.

Resident of the Year

For excellence in academic and clinical training and noteworthy contributions to the resident’s home program/specialty or residency program.





Dr. Robert Menzies (posthumously)

Dr. Menzies was born and raised in Morden, Manitoba. In 1976 he graduated with an MD from the University of Manitoba. He then returned to Morden where he began to practice Family Medicine, following in the footsteps of both his father and his grandfather, becoming the third generation of Menzies to be physicians in Morden. He was an active member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and was one of the ten “Family Physicians of the Year” for Canada in 2002.

Over his many years of medicine, Dr. Menzies was part of the effort to build Boundary Trails Health Centre (BTHC), and also played an integral role in establishing the Clinical Teaching Unit at BTHC. During the decades of being a doctor in Morden, Dr. Menzies was well known for his bedside manner and commitment to his patients.

Dr. Menzies began his practice in Morden in 1979 and raised his three daughters there. Because he was raised in Morden and had family in the area, it seemed a natural choice to move “back home”. He was able to join the practice with his father and continue the tradition of Menzies doctors in Morden (Dr. Menzies’ Great Grandfather Godkin homesteaded 6.5 miles northwest of Morden in 1870 and Grandfather Menzies came to Morden in 1920). Dr. Menzies has been recognized for his many accomplishments as a doctor, and as an active community member in Morden including being awarded the Morden Area Foundation’s Citizen of Distinction for 2017.

Physician of the Year

For significant contribution to the pratice of medicine and/or to the community by a member of Doctors Manitoba.





Dr. Mathen Mathen

Dr. Mathen Mathen is a retinal specialist and Department Head at the Winnipeg Health Region’s Eye Care Centre of Excellence at Misericordia Health Centre.

When the WRHA decided to consolidate all Ophthalmology services at Misericordia Hospital Dr. Mathen stepped forward to lead the ophthalmologists in the community during the negotiations and from there became the obvious choice to be the clinical department head. He has served in this role since then, while at the same time maintaining an extremely busy retinal practice. During that time he has led efforts to optimize care for Manitoba patients with diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, especially for patients in the north and on reserves.

His commitment to helping those in need has led him to take time out from his busy schedule to participate in medical missions in remote areas of the world helping the underprivileged. In 2005, Dr. Mathen went to Myanmar, followed by Bolivia in 2007, to the Philippines in 2009 and 2011 and most recently in 2017 to Mongolia.

Dr. Jack Armstrong Humanitarian Award

For outstanding contributions by a member or former member of Doctors Manitoba in the service of humanity either within Canada or abroad





Dr. Amarjit Arneja

Dr. Arneja came to Winnipeg in 1973 as an intern and completed residency and fellowship in Rehabilitation Medicine in 1979. He has worked as an active staff member of the Rehab Hospital, Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital since 1980 and is Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Manitoba. Dr. Amarjit Arneja is known within the Manitoba health services community as one of the most caring, compassionate and innovative physicians, who has done an outstanding job in the practice of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Province of Manitoba over a period of more than 37 years.

His work in the health care field should be recognized for the following reasons:

  1. As an active staff member of Rehabilitation Medicine in both Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital since 1980, he has improved the quality of life for over 15,000 patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain through his innovative treatment techniques. Particularly, his collaborative approach for the induction of a new injection treatment for myofascial pain is being adopted at the national level.
  1. In his capacity as Founding Director of the Amputee Rehabilitation Program during 1980-2008, Dr. Arneja built at the Health Sciences Centre one of the most comprehensive Amputee Rehabilitation Program in Canada. His excellent services and high quality care were recognized by the War Amps of Canada and he has been honored with Humanitarian and other Awards.
  1. Since 2008, Dr Arneja has been serving as Founding Director of Day Hospital Amputee Program at the Rehabilitation Program, Health Sciences Centre and has been treating about 300 patients per year. His coordinated and efficient rehabilitation efforts have resulted in reducing length of stay in hospital and promoting attendance in outpatient clinics. The barrier to health care access for the indigenous population with diabetic foot ulcers and amputation has been addressed by providing care at Day Hospital.
  1. During 1983-1985, Dr. Arneja was Founding Co-Director of the Stroke Rehabilitation Program at St. Boniface Hospital. He was successful in organizing the rehabilitation of about 100 patients per year and his dedicated services were recognized by several awards from different organizations.
  1. Throughout his professional career, Dr. Arneja has been deeply involved in improving the quality of life of elderly people with arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases as well as indigenous people living with diseases such as diabetes, foot ulcers, peripheral arterial disease, hypertension and atherosclerosis. His distinguished service for taking care of these people were commended by the Lions Club International and other institutions.
Distinguished Service Award

Given in recognition of services rendered to patients and the community which have enhanced the image of the physician through devotion to the highest ideals of the medical profession and in the promotion of the art and science of medicine through teaching, writing and administration.