2020 MSA Physician Awards
Congratulations to the winners of our 2020 Vancouver Medical Staff Association Physician Awards.
Bobby Miller Award for Excellence in Teaching 2020 winner: Dr. Sarah Finlayson
Dr. Finlayson has been on staff at VCH and BC Cancer for almost 15 years. During that time she has directed the education of medical students, initially on our service but most recently as the MD undergraduate program director in Obstetrics and Gynecology. During her time as the head of our department's undergraduate program, we have seen a large increase in the number of students applying to our specialty from UBC. Many of these students credit Dr. Finlayson with inspiring them to choose our program. She led the OB GYN “competency by design” transition at UBC.
Dr. Finlayson has also been the director for the residents rotating through Gynecologic Oncology for the last 10 years. She has been responsible for coordinating the learning opportunities for Post Graduate Program residents and the many elective residents from other programs as well as off service residents from Emergency Medicine and Radiation Oncology. She has been responsible for the program design, evaluations and helping struggling residents.
Nominated by: Dr. Dianne Miller, Division Head of Gynecologic Oncology
Clinical Excellence 2020 winner: Dr. Peter Kwan
Dr. Kwan’s early career involved basic science research with Drs. Freeman and Steinbrecher, which led to top-notch publications in ‘Gastroenterology’ as well as the ‘American Journal of Physiology.’ His interest in immunology took him to NIH on an MRC Fellowship where he worked with Dr. James and published in the area of mucosal immunology. Unfortunately, due to the lack of collaborations upon his return here in Vancouver, his research never fully realized the potential that he was capable of.
He went on to establishing himself as a top-notch clinical and much sought after gastroenterologist at the UBC/VGH sites. Although he has continued to practice in the area of clinical inflammatory bowel disease, he switched over to his other major clinical interest, that of viral hepatitis, where he has been involved in numerous trials as the PI or co-PI.
Dr. Kwan has been involved in resident and fellow teaching for many years now and has received departmental awards for this. His unique style of teaching both clinical as well as procedural gastroenterology continues to be very well received by all of his trainees.
Nominated by: Dr. B. Salh, VA Department Head Gastroenterology
Scientific Achievement 2020 winner: Dr. Andrew Krahn
Dr. Krahn joined the VGH and St. Paul’s Divisions of Cardiology in July 2012. He was appointed as the Head of the UBC Division of Cardiology at that time. He is a Professor in the Department of Medicine. He has a longstanding track record of research in heart rhythm disturbances and the outcomes of sudden cardiac death. He has developed a national and international reputation and has made very important contributions to this field.
He has made major contributions in long QT syndrome, suspected inherited cardiac arrhythmias, arrhythmogenic RV dysplasia, syncope and implantable arrhythmia device reliability.
Dr. Krahn has published over 390 peer-reviewed publications in many high impact journals including Circulation, Journal of Physiology, New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of American College of Cardiology. He has grant funded support through the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, and CIHR continuously from 1997 through to 2022. He has been involved as a leader in the Canadian Cardiovascular world and has been the Scientific Program Chair for the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress and is currently the President of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. He has been the Chair of the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society as well as the Chair of the CIHR CV System Grants Committee. He is on the Editorial Board of three journals and regularly reviews submissions to 10 journals.
He has made immense contributions to increasing academic productivity amongst the Division of Cardiology. He has supervised or co-supervised three PhD students, 11 fellows in Medicine, Cardiology or Electrophysiology, and four postdoctoral fellows. At Western University, he was the primary supervisor of 39 fellows or postdoctoral fellows. He implemented an academic practice plan amongst the UBC Division of Cardiology which has been highly successful in supporting early cardiologists and has boosted research productivity.
Nominated by: Dr. Kenneth Gin, VA Head, Cardiology Division, Vancouver Acute
Larry Collins Award for Committee Service 2020 winner: Dr. Bill Henderson
Dr. Henderson has been a Critical Care Physician at VGH since 2007, and a Clinical Professor of Medicine since 2019. His accomplishments over this time have been stellar in a variety of roles (administration, research, teaching), including successfully defending a PhD in Respiratory/Exercise Physiology. In terms of special achievements, he was on the Steering Committee for the NICE Sugar trial that was eventually published in the NEJM. In addition, he was the Founder and Past President of the BC Society of Critical Care Medicine.
From an Administrative Standpoint, he has been involved in the working of VCH for many years. These roles involve substantial commitments in terms of committee membership (e.g., Vancouver Acute Executive Committee, Medical Executive Committee). Just to highlight a few of these roles, he was the Director of the UBCH High Acuity Unit (2012-2017), and then became Site Lead of UBCH (2016-current). Most impressively, he really stepped up to the plate with respect to COVID-related activities (Chief Medical Officer, VA Emergency Operations Centre since 2020).
Nominated by: Dr. Najib Ayas, Associate Professor Medicine Faculty of Medicine UBC, Head, UBC Critical Care Medicine
Bringing Clinical Renown to Vancouver Hospital 2020 winner: Dr. Savvas Nicolaou
Dr. Savvas Nicolaou currently serves as the Division Head of Emergency and Trauma Imaging at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), Vice Chairman for Undergraduate Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development within the Department of Radiology, and the Undergraduate Curriculum Director for Medical Imaging at UBC Faculty of Medicine. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver Imaging.
Dr. Nicolaou is active in several national and international professional organizations including serving as Committee Chair for the American Society of Emergency Radiology, and Radiological Society of North America. He has been an invited speaker and has delivered lectures as a Visiting Professor at institutions in Canada and the United States, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Baltimore Shock Trauma Centre.
Thanks to Dr. Nicolaou’s efforts, dedication and passion, VGH made its mark as a Canadian leader in radiology when VGH became the first hospital in the country to develop the subspecialty of Emergency Trauma Radiology. The subspecialty, under Dr. Nicolaou's guidance, has significantly expanded over the past 15 years and now offers one of the largest Emergency Trauma Radiology Fellowship programs in the world, currently accommodating internationally trained radiologists from countries such as; the United Kingdom, Ireland, Pakistan, Italy, India, and Canada.
Through Dr. Nicolaou' s leadership and support, VGH has successfully developed and implemented a novel rapid imaging protocol in trauma (RIPIT) whole-body scan program that has revolutionized trauma patient imaging. This imaging protocol has reduced the time patients spend in the emergency room prior to imaging and decreased total scan time, while at the same time, reducing mean effective radiation dose to the patient. The protocol has been published and has been adopted by programs nationally and internationally. In addition, the Emergency Trauma radiology service offers a unique 24/7 on-site acute chest pain and stroke assessment imaging model, also recognized and adopted nationally and internationally leading to rapid diagnosis in critically ill patients.
Nominated by: Dr. John Mayo, Head and Medical Director, Dept. of Medical Imaging
Special Service 2020 winner: Dr. Peter O'Brien
Among his many contributions to the advancement of orthopaedic trauma care over the course of his career, we believe that Dr. O’Brien’s founding of and ongoing support for the Uganda Sustainable Trauma Orthopaedic Program (USTOP) is deserving of particular recognition. Many may be casually familiar with the USTOP program through the combined divisional Grand Rounds, where Dr. O’Brien and USTOP members have highlighted some of their achievements in education, research, and technological innovation. However, what may be understated from these glimpses into USTOP’s accomplishments is the many dedicated hours that Dr. O’Brien has tirelessly contributed. You will not have seen the time that has gone into planning the logistics of each trip, and designing the full two weeks of teaching. You will not have been told of the weekly case-based video teaching that Dr. O’Brien provides the Mulago Hospital’s orthopaedics residents, or the tireless effort he has put into securing tens of thousands of dollars of funding to maintain the program.
At the core of the USTOP program are bi-annual, two-week educational outreach visits by a multidisciplinary team, the majority of whom have been Vancouver General Hospital employees. The teams have consisted of a combination of orthopaedic surgeons, anaesthesiologists, orthopaedic residents, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, researchers and biomedical engineers. Rather than focusing on direct clinical care, the mission of the program has been on educating local surgical teams and support staff through formal teaching and clinical training. Dr. O’Brien has been instrumental in designing and teaching not just the orthopaedics courses, but in engaging others to teach courses in their own areas of interest.
Nominated by: Dr. Bas Masri, Head, Department of Orthopaedics
Excellence in Early Career 2020 winner: Dr. Paul Yong
Dr. Yong has been an active staff gynecologist at VGH/UBCH since 2013 (as well as at BCWH). Dr. Yong does VGH general gynecology call, sees patients at the VGH Gynecology Rapid Access Clinic and the VGH Centre for Vulvar Health, and has a tertiary referral surgical practice in endometriosis. Dr. Yong also serves as Director of the UBC OB/GYN Residency Rotation in Chronic Pelvic Pain and Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), and manages visiting residents for Gyne MIS electives as well.
Academically, Dr. Yong was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure on March 9, 2020. His achievements were exemplified when Dr. Yong was awarded the UBC Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Achievement for Excellence in Clinical or Applied Research in 2019.
Dr. Yong is Principal Investigator of the UBC Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Laboratory. He is also a member of the OVCARE/Gynecological Cancer Initiative. Dr. Yong was appointed last year as Co-Director of the UBC Graduate Program in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences.
Dr. Yong’s translational research program is focused on a common reproductive chronic disease, endometriosis, which affects 1 in 10 females of reproductive age or ~1 million women in Canada. He has particular interest in the role of somatic mutations and local neurogenesis in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, as well as clinical research and knowledge translation with respect to sexual pain in endometriosis.
Nominated by: Dr. Dianne Miller VA Department Head, Obstetrics & Gynecology