On Saturday May 13, we celebrated 9 incredible physicians at the 2023 Doctors Manitoba Awards Gala, generously sponsored by MD Financial and Scotiabank. With over 550 people in attendance, it surpassed last year’s attendance and now stands as the largest in-person event in Doctors Manitoba history. 

The award winners accepted their honours with great humility and offered moving acceptance speeches. Their personal and professional stories were inspiring and their commitment to their patients and their colleagues was unquestionable.

This year’s winners include the following, each with a link to watch a short video about their accomplishments:

  • Dr. Biniam Kidane — Medal of Excellence — Dr. Kidane is a thoracic and foregut surgeon, a clinician-scientist, and the medical director of Wilf Taillieu Thoracic Surgery Endoscopy Unit. He is recognized for his constant dedication to his patients and his pioneering work to maintain care for patients during the many disruptions to surgical and hospital care through the pandemic, including for lung and esophageal cancer patients. Through his leadership, Manitoba has become a leader in minimally-invasive thoracic surgery and interventional endoscopy, resulting in shorter recovery times and better patient outcomes. Watch Dr. Kidane’s video.

  • Dr. Courtney Leary — Medal of Excellence — Dr. Leary is the first physician to be raised in and now serve the people of Norway House Cree Nation. She is now the Chief of Staff for Norway House Hospital and Clinic, and her leadership was pivotal to the development of the new Health Centre of Excellence. Her deep roots and commitment to her community were vital during the pandemic, when she found innovative ways to ensure health care was available, delayed the arrival of COVID-19 in the community, and the relationships she built were pivotal to achieving a high level of vaccine uptake. Watch Dr. Leary’s video.

  • Dr. Michael Loudon — Medal of Excellence Physician Wellness — Dr. Loudon is a champion for physician health. While maintaining his rural family medicine practice, Dr. Loudon spent 15 years leading physician peer support programming and helping to destigmatize substance use disorders. His work helped physicians regain their health and continue their medical practice. He has also been a pivotal member of several physician health initiatives, including efforts to tackle the system and organizational causes of physician burnout and distress. Watch Dr. Loudon’s video.

  • Dr. Katherine Kearns and Dr. Christina Raimondi — Medals of Excellence — Dr. Katherine Kearns and Dr. Christina Raimondi worked together to establish The Winnipeg Breastfeeding Centre in 2017, responding to the overwhelming challenges many patients had in accessing help with lactation or infant feeding. Utilizing the latest scientific evidence on breastfeeding, human milk feeding, and infant feeding practices, the clinic and its experts are now a trusted resource for patients and physicians. They achieved all of this while maintaining their regular clinical practice. Watch their award video.

  • Dr. Ryan Zarychanski — Physician of the Year — Dr. Ryan Zarychanski led truly groundbreaking work during the pandemic to rapidly assess the effectiveness of potential treatments for COVID-19. His work has been trailblazing at a global level, both in the actual treatments identified as well as the process he developed to identify them. By developing a global network of scientists, he raised significant funding, led life-saving clinical studies spanning 104 countries, and developed a new method of conducting and analyzing randomized clinical trials to speed knowledge generation. Ultimately, these trials identified effective treatment options for patients with serious COVID-19 infections. Watch Dr. Zarychanski’s video.

  • Dr. Tamara McColl — Humanitarian of the Year — Dr. Tamara McColl is an emergency medicine physician who has dedicated the last year to supporting the Ukrainian community both here in Manitoba and in Ukraine. Her community service and humanitarian work has included leading local efforts to mobilize support through fundraising and rallies while also joining multiple medical relief missions to Ukraine through the Canadian Medical Assistant Teams and Canada Ukraine Surgical Aid Program. Watch Dr. McColl’s video.

  • Dr. Alwyn Gomez — Resident of the Year — Dr. Alwyn Gomez is an exceptionally talented resident physician specializing in neurosurgery. He has a passion for research and is also completing his PhD, focusing his research on traumatic brain injury. He also has a strong dedication to supporting medical education, helping to develop new programming in dissection and showcasing Manitoba’s post-graduate medication education program to prospective learners. Watch Dr. Gomez’s video.

  • Dr. Maggie Morris — Distinguished Service — Dr. Maggie Morris has served Manitoba for nearly 40 years as a physician, educator, and leader in Women’s Health. As a clinician, she has dedicated much of practice to vulnerable patients. She has played a pivotal role in the education of thousands of physicians and physician assistants using innovative and engaging techniques. As Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Provincial Lead of Women’s Health, she oversaw major improvements in care and the design of the new Women’s Hospital. Watch Dr. Morris’ video.

The Doctors Manitoba awards are the highest honour bestowed upon physicians in the province. Award recipients are nominated by their physician peers and selected after a thorough evaluation by the Doctors Manitoba Awards Committee.

Throughout the evening Doctors Manitoba staff circulated the ballroom selling 50/50 tickets in support of the Canadian Ukraine Surgical Aid Program (CUSAP). The charity was chosen by this year’s Humanitarian of the Year, Dr. Tamara McColl, who has been on many medical missions to Ukraine and Poland to provide medical relief to Ukrainians affected by the war. CUSAP, a Canada-Ukraine Foundation program, also builds local medical capacity by working with local physicians and health providers. Gala attendees embraced the cause and we raised $17,250 for CUSAP

With several physicians rotating as hosts and presenting awards throughout the evening, we introduced our new Board President, Dr. Michael Borodisky, who delivered an impactful speech, acknowledging the profession is facing challenges that feel bigger than ever. He pledged to push for the resources and support physicians need to thrive in their work and deliver exceptional care to Manitobans. He called on all physicians and medical learners to pull together and support each other in the weeks and months ahead and stressed that understanding, empathy and unwavering hope as we stand united for better health care, must be our course of action going forward.”

After the program, the dance floor opened up with live music. We were happy to see many gala attendees stay until the very end. 

Nominations for the 2024 Doctors Manitoba Awards will open this fall. In the meantime, you can nominate a colleague for our Top 40 Under 40 award, a special honour to recognize medical students, residents and early-career physicians.