Physician of the Year

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

Dr. Ryan Zarychanski

Before the pandemic, hematologist and critical care physician Dr. Ryan Zarychanski already had a well-established clinical practice and research program…

Before the pandemic, hematologist and critical care physician Dr. Ryan Zarychanski already had a well-established clinical practice and research program. When COVID-19 first arrived, he and his team diverted all of their clinical research infrastructure to quickly investigate potential new treatments for the disease. His work has been groundbreaking at a global level, both in the actual treatment options identified and the process he developed to identify them.

During the early days of the pandemic and lockdowns that disrupted clinical and research operations around the world, Dr. Zarychanski built a global network of researchers and developed collaborative processes to rapidly study the effectiveness of potential treatments for COVID-19. Within the first year, he and the team had multiple publications in the New England Journal of Medicine communicating research findings that changed how COVID-19 is treated around the world. Their work identified treatments that save lives and reduce disease progress, like steroids, IL6 antagonists and therapeutic-dose heparin, while also ruling out potential therapies that were ineffective, like hydroxychloroquine.

With increased reports of thrombosis and inflammation from COVID-19 infection, Dr. Zarychanski . quickly and collaboratively, developed, led, and launched a multinational trial to evaluate therapeutic-dose heparin in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. With the help of provincial catalyst funding, in a few short weeks, the team raised close to $10 million to fund the trial. Eight months later over 3,000 patients were enrolled from 121 hospitals in 104 countries. The trial found that therapeutic-dose heparin, an inexpensive and widely available drug, improved survival and reduced ICU admissions by minimizing infection progression. They simultaneously identified that therapeutic-dose heparin was not beneficial when given to critically ill patients or those on organ support. To complete the trials in a timeframe that would meaningfully inform the pandemic, the team developed a new type of randomized trial which has come to be known as the multiplatform RCT (mpRCT), which has been adopted widely by other clinical trial groups. The methods developed will speed the completion of clinical trials and foster global collaboration in medicine for years to come

As one of Manitoba’s most impactful clinician-scientists, Dr. Zarychanski and team are recognized for discovering 1 of only 4 therapies routinely given to patients hospitalized for COVID-19. Administration of therapeutic-dose heparin in COVID-19 has had the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of ICU admissions and thousands of deaths around the world.

Dr. Zarychanski continues to grow his local team of clinician-scientists and researchers and has supported faculty colleagues with numerous opportunities to lead large national trials. He is training a new generation of clinician-scientists to lead future practice-changing trials and helping to create a new paradigm for clinical medicine in Manitoba where clinical trials are embedded within clinical care as part of a learning health system.

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.

Dr. Margaret Morris

A soft-spoken and assertive leader whose presence can command a chaotic labour and delivery room, Dr. Maggie Morris is so…

A soft-spoken and assertive leader whose presence can command a chaotic labour and delivery room, Dr. Maggie Morris is so much more than an administrator, an educator and a clinician. She is described by colleagues as a physician who leads with integrity, humility, and patience. 

Since completing her residency in 1984, Dr. Morris’ commitment to providing medical education has left an indelible impact on more than 2,000 young physicians. She coordinated and delivered pre-clerkship medical school curriculum in Women’s health for 20 years and to the Physician Assistant (PA) Program for 14 years. Using an evidence-based method called a flipped classroom’, Dr. Morris prioritized student engagement. Those who have worked with and learned from Dr. Morris value her humility and patience, always able to rely on her for advice and wisdom. 

Dr. Morris has always valued a multidisciplinary team-based approach to medicine and, since its inception, has been an advocate for the PA program. At a time when midwifery was still new in Manitoba, and despite administrative barriers, Dr. Morris welcomed midwives to work alongside her in her prenatal clinic.

Dr. Morris was the Chair for the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Provincial Lead for Women’s Health for nearly 11 years, during which she was instrumental in the design of the new Women’s Hospital. 

Her name is synonymous with Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology and Obstetrics. Dr. Morris’ practice has always been patient-centered, using a holistic approach. She delivered babies for nearly four decades and in recent years expanded her practice to provide early pregnancy ultrasound and medical abortions. Throughout her career she cared for some of Manitoba’s most vulnerable obstetrics patients and worked in the child protection clinic examining and testifying for girls in sexual abuse cases. 

There is no question Dr. Morris’ retirement has left a significant gap in Manitoba’s obstetrics community. Luckily, her passion for obstetrics and commitment to education and recruitment for over 40 years of practice are providing a very necessary bridge to that gap. 

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. Tamara McColl

Over the last year, Dr. Tamara McColl has been a pillar of support for the Ukrainian community, both locally and…

Over the last year, Dr. Tamara McColl has been a pillar of support for the Ukrainian community, both locally and as part of the medical relief efforts in Ukraine. It’s her exemplary community service and humanitarian work locally and internationally that is being recognized with our 2023 Humanitarian Award.

Following the invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Dr. McColl needed to act. Already an active member of the large Ukrainian community in Manitoba, she rallied her colleagues from across Manitoba to form the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Community Mobilization Committee. Within two days of the invasion, Dr. McColl and the committee organized a rally of over five thousand people at the Manitoba Legislature. In an effort to sustain the focus on the continued need for assistance, Dr. McColl and committee members have organized six more rallies and several fundraising events. 

While she has been an integral part of organizing local community support, she’s also traveled to Ukraine to provide medical care with Canadian Medical Assistance Teams and the Canada Ukraine Surgical Aid Program. In May 2022 she was deployed as the CMAT Medical Lead for Team ECHO and worked to bridge the many gaps in patient care for the millions of displaced people in Western Ukraine. Dr. McColl treated a variety of acute and complex diseases and helped patients with psychological effects of the war. 

She also joined CUSAP missions to Poland and Ukraine, providing complex surgical and medical care to debilitated Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. After her first deployment, Dr. McColl helped establish the Canada Ukraine Foundation Medical Advisory Board, providing medical advice to the charitable organization responsible for CUSAP

Despite investing so much of her time to the efforts here and in Ukraine, Dr. McColl maintains a busy clinical schedule at St. Boniface as an emergency medicine physician. She sits on numerous local and national academic and administrative committees and dedicates a significant amount of time to faculty development, education scholarship and the education of her residents. 

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. Alwyn Gomez

Described as exceptionally driven and talented” by colleagues, Dr. Alwyn Gomez has a phenomenal academic record and has pioneered innovative…

Described as exceptionally driven and talented” by colleagues, Dr. Alwyn Gomez has a phenomenal academic record and has pioneered innovative research. A graduate of Dalhousie University’s medical program, Dr. Gomez is a resident Neurosurgeon who is also working toward a PhD, investigating cerebral autoregulation in traumatic brain injury. He continually works to improve postgraduate medical education at UM. His commitment to his profession and genuine passion for the pursuit of knowledge leaves an undeniable impact on colleagues and patients. 

Dr. Gomez has a strong track record of innovative and impactful research. While at Dalhousie, his interest in research led him to help develop an algorithm for the institutional ordering of blood products from Canadian Blood Services. This algorithm significantly reduces the wasting of blood products, saves the system money, and has been expanded to all institutions in Nova Scotia. 

Dr. Gomez also has a passion for medical education at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. This includes serving as an examiner and tutor for UGME OSCEs. In the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science he has served as a teaching assistant and instructor in multiple graduate level courses. In 2021, Dr. Gomez collaborated with Dr. Nafisa Dharamsi and anatomy faculty to source funding to develop an ongoing Summer Dissection Program benefitting residents in six distinct surgical subspecialties. During the pandemic, Dr. Gomez took the initiative to virtually demonstrate a live microsurgical cadaveric dissection to prospective residents for CaRMs. His ingenuity and dedication to neurosurgery left a strong impression with candidates, setting UM’s medical program apart from others.

With 38 co-authored publications and numerous awards, scholarships, bursaries and research and fellowship grants totalling over $300,000, his brilliance and hard work will continue to benefit patients, colleagues, and the health system throughout his career. Mentor Dr. Sabine Hombach-Klonisch attests to Dr. Gomez’s friendly demeanor, reliability and excellent communication skills” and believes his work and success to date positions him ideally to become a future leader in the non-invasive monitoring of cerebrovascular reactivity.”

Medals of Excellence

Recognizing those who demonstrate excellence in the medical profession and whose actions are a source of inspiration.

Dr. Katherine Kearns and Dr. Christina Raimondi

Described as medical change-makers, Dr. Katherine Kearns and Dr. Christina Raimondi co-founded The Winnipeg Breastfeeding Centre in 2017, responding to…

Described as medical change-makers, Dr. Katherine Kearns and Dr. Christina Raimondi co-founded The Winnipeg Breastfeeding Centre in 2017, responding to the many stories they heard from families about the often overwhelming challenges to accessing help with lactation and/​or infant feeding. As Manitoba’s first consultant physician clinic, the Centre is dedicated to providing evidence-based, diagnostic support to families requiring clinical assistance. In the five years since its opening, the Centre has grown to include five family physicians. The centre collaborates with pediatric surgery, is training a NICU nurse to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and provides clinical experience for midwife students and medical learners for clinical experiences. The centre is collaborating with the international community to create board certification in Breastfeeding and Lactation Medicine, with a goal to certify physicians in this work to elevate and set the standard of infant feeding care in their communities.

The Centre’s success is a direct result of Dr. Kearns’ and Dr. Raimondi’s leadership and dedication to service. Ground-breaking in its interdisciplinary approach, their work has been an essential part of perinatal medicine after considerable cuts to breastfeeding support in Manitoba hospitals and public health. They reached out into the community to connect families with additional educational and community supports and they integrated their work into the scientific community to ensure that clinical practice and community voices are incorporated into ongoing research. Providing the latest scientific evidence on breastfeeding, human milk feeding, and infant feeding practices, the clinic and its experts are now a trusted resource for family and physicians. They have done all of this while still both caring for patients in their regular clinical practice. 

Historically, physicians of all specialties have not been well-equipped to help families with breastfeeding support, receiving little to no training while in medical school. Dr. Raimondi and Dr. Kearns created a curriculum for medical school, delivered countless presentations and they are now working with the international community to develop training for practicing physicians and fellowship programs.

Their passion for improving access to breastfeeding supports and their attention to excellence, despite the uphill battle, has inspired colleagues to work harder to produce evidence to support the implementation of policies and practices that remove barriers to achieving breastfeeding intentions. Their work has improved clinical care, community efforts, and scientific discovery, leaving an unquestionable impact on increasing access to high quality breastfeeding support for Manitoban families.

Dr. Biniam Kidane

A source of inspiration and a rising star in the medical community, Dr. Biniam Kidane is a thoracic and foregut…

A source of inspiration and a rising star in the medical community, Dr. Biniam Kidane is a thoracic and foregut surgeon, clinician-scientist, and the Medical Director of the Wilf Taillieu Thoracic Surgery Clinic and Endoscopy Unit. Since arriving in Manitoba in 2016, he has established less invasive endoscopic techniques that allow physicians to treat stomach and esophageal conditions, resulting in shorter recovery times for patients.

As one patient described it, Dr. Kidane not only saved my life, but he also saved my quality of life” by advocating for a less invasive procedure rather than a complete esophagectomy. His dedication to patients is also recognized by his colleagues who see him taking a very personal approach to talking with each patient & family before and after every procedure. 

When lung and esophageal surgeries were being shut down around the world at the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Kidane worked with his physician colleagues to find innovative ways to minimize delays and keep patients and healthcare workers safe. This includes the FAST-TRACK project, which avoided surgery cancellations and COVID infections for more than 100 lung cancer patients. His collaboration with oncology colleagues also led to the development of the ground-breaking SABR BRIDGE protocol to provide non-surgical treatment for lung cancer patients during the pandemic. 

Dr. Kidane has embraced a collaborative team-based approach to patient care, training his colleagues in advanced endoscopic techniques, building up local pathology & radiology expertise in novel endoscopic therapies as well as helping to recruit another surgeon with advanced endoscopy expertise to Manitoba. His efforts have made HSC and Manitoba Thoracic Surgery one of the strongest minimally-invasive thoracic surgery centres in North America.

Dr. Kidane has advocated for diversity at the local level with the College of Medicine and at the national level, serving on the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Dr. Courtney Leary

Dr. Courtney Leary knew she wanted to be a doctor when she was just 12 years old. She never wavered…

Dr. Courtney Leary knew she wanted to be a doctor when she was just 12 years old. She never wavered from the plan, while maintaining her deep connection to her family, history, and culture. Today, she is the first Indigenous physician raised and now working in Norway House Cree Nation. 

Today, Dr. Leary works as a primary care physician with Ongomiizwin Health Services and serves as Chief of Staff for Norway House Hospital and Clinic. Her dedication to her community, willingness to collaborate, and commitment to education and leadership are just a few of the reasons she is a leader in Manitoba’s medical community. 

Described by colleagues and community members as a passionate problem-solver, Dr. Leary continuously asserts the rights of First Nations People and communities to have sovereignty over their health choices. She has been instrumental in modernising health care through her significant contributions to the creation of the new Health Centre of Excellence. Recognizing the mental health crisis in the community, Dr. Leary created a school-based program to help.

When the pandemic arrived, Dr. Leary found innovative ways to adapt medicine to ensure community-members continued to have access to health care. She envisioned and launched a virtual primary care program, which she staffed on her own for over a year. Her tireless efforts on the community pandemic response team helped to significantly delay the arrival of COVID-19 to the community, and her work in immunization efforts resulted in a high level of vaccine uptake. 

Practising medicine in northern Manitoba can be challenging and isolating. She has supported her peers, finding ways to fill the gaps created by fatigue and burnout. Indeed, three years into the pandemic, physician retention in Norway House remains at 100%.

As Post Graduate Medical Education lead and Director of Indigenous Health Education, Dr. Leary inspires the next generation of physicians to deliver high-quality, anti-racist and culturally safe care in First Nations communities. She ensures that medical learners are exposed to the challenges, successes and celebrations in the community. This passion for community-connected teaching has led to repeated requests from learners to rotate into Norway House, with many choosing to practise medicine in the North after residency.

Dr. Michael Loudon

Physician Health

Dr. Michael Loudon is a physician health champion. For nearly 15 years, he led the peer support programming for the…

Dr. Michael Loudon is a physician health champion. For nearly 15 years, he led the peer support programming for the Physician’s at Risk (PAR) Program. With a willingness to share his personal approach to help destigmatize substance use disorders, he helped normalize physicians seeking help and created a safe space for physicians and medical learners. His personal journey offered his colleagues reassurance about the effectiveness of the program, and what can be achieved with the support of one’s peers. 

He gave selflessly of his time and energy, making himself available day or night to support physicians and medical learners. Always open to suggestions from colleagues, Dr. Loudon liaised and collaborated with the PAR counselor, addictions consultants, MDCare and CPSM. His commitment and dedication to the peer support group meant driving from Teulon to Winnipeg — a two hour return trip — every Wednesday evening. 

Through those years he supported many physicians and learners as they worked to regain their health and continue practicing or studying medicine, all the while running a successful family medicine practice in Teulon and raising a young family. 

Preferring to avoid the spotlight, but willing to do so for the greater good, in 2020 Dr. Loudon joined the three-year Physician Health Community of Practice project in the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority. As a member of the Doctors Manitoba Physician Health and Wellness Committee from 2016 to 2020, he championed physician health at national meetings and conferences. Through this work and advocacy, he has been able to collaborate with colleagues and system leaders to identify and begin to address the systemic and organizational factors which negatively impact physician health and are the key drivers of burnout.