Schulich Medicine & Dentistry trailblazers earn national and provincial honours

collage headshots of the 4 trailblazers


By Communications

From family medicine, addressing the needs of the elderly and improving patient services, to saving the lives of premature newborns, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry pioneers have made a world of difference across Canada and around the world.

Now they are being recognized with appointments to the Orders of Canada and Ontario – two of the highest honours in the land.

Dr. Francine Lemire has been appointed to the Order of Canada, while Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, Joy MacDermid, PhD’99, and Fred Possmayer, PhD’65 are among eight from Western University being recognized with the Order of Ontario.

Dr. Francine Lemire Order of Canada appointee Dr. Francine Lemire, current MCISc student at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (CFPC photo)

Dr. Francine Lemire, current student, Master of Clinical Science in Family Medicine
Former Executive Director and CEO, The College of Family Physicians of Canada

For her accomplishments as a Paralympic medallist in cross-country skiing and for her exemplary leadership in family medicine.

Dr. Francine Lemire has worked in family medicine for more than 25 years. For the past two decades she has been involved with the College of Family Physicians of Canada, including most recently as the executive director and CEO. In that role, she helped to shape the delivery of family medicine on a “pan-Canadian scale.” She promotes family medicine and primary care as part of a robust health-care system. Speaking at parliamentary and senate committee meetings, she has helped influence federal health-care policy in areas such as medical assistance in dying, elder care, and health and human resources planning.

An above-the-knee amputee, Lemire came in fourth in cross-country skiing in the 1984 games and two gold medals at the 1988 Paralympic Winter Games in Austria.

Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke Order of Ontario appointee Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke (Health Sciences North photo)

Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, former visiting student and a geriatric medicine resident
Medical Director, North East Specialized Geriatric Care Centre

Her courageous and relentless efforts have led to the evolution of geriatrics care.

Described as “a transformational trailblazer and true visionary,” when Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke became the first geriatrician in Northeastern Ontario, she was addressing a glaring need throughout the region.

Clarke initiated a care of older adults training program and opened clinics in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay, Parry Sound and James Bay. She is being recognized for her “relentless efforts, which have led to the evolution of geriatrics care.”

Clarke said she had positive role models throughout her life, including grandparents who aged well. She completed both her internal medicine residency and geriatric medicine residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. Clarke credits the division of geriatric medicine as “key to helping establish the program in Sudbury,” with special mention to Dr. Michael Borrie. “Without him, it would not have been possible,” she said.

Joy MacDermid Order of Ontario appointee professor Joy MacDermid, BSc’87, MSc’92, PhD’99 (File photo)

Joy MacDermid, BSc’87, MSc’92, PhD’99
Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Her dedication to putting the patient first has created a powerful legacy.

Professor Joy MacDermid’s dedication to putting the patient first has created a powerful legacy. Her research in the research in the 1990s and subsequent global workshops brought patient-reported outcomes into the decision-making process for the first time. Her commitment to sharing knowledge with patients inspired a long-overdue paradigm shift. She is a founding member of the Canadian Institute of Public Safety Research and has attracted a new generation of surgeons and scientists, elevating the voices of women in fields where they had long been absent.

MacDermid’s expertise is wide-ranging as a physical therapist, hand therapist and epidemiologist. She is co-director of the clinical research lab at the Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre. MacDermid has been recognized as a Distinguished University Professor in both physical therapy and orthopedic surgery at Western, where she also teaches in the Advanced Health Care Practice program in upper extremity rehabilitation. She holds a Canada Research Chair in MSK Health Outcomes and Knowledge Translation and is the James Roth Chair in Musculoskeletal Measurement and Knowledge. MacDermid holds cross-appointments to the departments of surgery and epidemiology at both Western and McMaster University.

Fred Possmayer Order of Ontario appointee Professor Emeritus Fred Possmayer, PhD'65 (Schulich Communications)

Fred Possmayer, PhD’65
Professor Emeritus, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Possmayer’s gift of life to children the world over is incalculable.

When Fred Possmayer began investigating Respiratory Distress Syndrome in 1971, it was a leading cause of neonatal morbidity. Possmayer’s laboratory’s development of the Bovine Lung Extract Surfactant (BLES) changed these dire outcomes. BLES is now a standard treatment around the world, saving thousands of premature newborns. This breakthrough treatment was recognized as one of the top five discoveries in Ontario, along with insulin.

Possmayer has received many honours for his work. In 2009, he earned one of the first-ever Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Awards. In 2019, Possmayer received the Professional Achievement Award from the Western Alumni Association for his “superior achievement in his field and for serving as a role model for newcomers, setting standards of excellence to which others can aspire.”


With files from Keri Ferguson, Western News