2019 Alumni of Distinction Award and Dean’s Distinguished Lecture recipients

The 2019 Schulich Medicine & Dentistry Alumni of Distinction and Dean’s Distinguished Lecture recipients have left an indelible mark on the world through their commitment to education, medicine, research, and social accountability. Their tireless dedication to improving the human condition is above reproach.

Congratulations to the seven recipients:

Dr. Richard J. Hawkins, MD’69
Professional Achievement Award

Dr. Hawkins is recognized as a gifted teacher, a pioneer of the surgical repair of shoulder injuries, and an outstanding and innovative surgeon. He completed his BA, MD and residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University and then pursued a fellowship in cervical spine research and shoulder surgery.

He was the founding member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, past president of numerous surgical and orthopaedic organizations, as well as the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine and the former Director of Sports Medicine Council of Canada, former team physician to the Canadian Olympics in 1988, former consultant to the United States ski team, and team physician for the Denver Broncos amongst many other leadership medical roles with sports organizations and teams.

Dr. Hawkins has published more than 200 articles and made more than 800 presentations at national and international meetings. He has also trained more than 200 fellows worldwide.

He has distinguished himself as an exemplary teacher, ensuring his students always understood the importance of family and their own personal health and well being.
He is described as a first-class individual and a great tribute to Western University.

Dr. Antonios Mamandras
Honorary Alumni of Distinction – Dentistry

Dr. Mamandras came to Western University in 1982 and joined the education team in Schulich Dentistry. Since then, he has worked with and trained more than 120 residents in the graduate orthodontics program, supervised the research of more than 40 master’s students and guided the care and treatment of hundreds of patients.

In 1994, he was appointed the Chair of the graduate orthodontics program at the School and is credited for creating one of the best orthodontic specialty educations in North America.

Known for his big and inviting smile, Dr. Mamandras has engendered tremendous respect and admiration from his trainees and is described by faculty, alumni and learners as extraordinary.

Sean Bendall, PhD’08
Young Alumni Award

Before Bendall graduated with his PhD focused on pioneering research on human embryonic stem cells, he had achieved eight publications serving as first author on five of those, and with one publication in the prestigious journal Nature. He was recognized with the Dr. William Zaharia Award and the Collip Medal upon graduation.

He became an assistant professor at Stanford University in 2014 where he established his own laboratory. He then began receiving a long list of awards including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award in 2016 and received designation as a Rising Star in Immunology from the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies in 2017. He has also obtained nine patents from his research and has been sought out by a number of leading biotech companies.

Bendall is a strong ambassador for the Biochemistry program and an inspiration and role model for all graduate students at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

Jane Rylett, PhD’80
Excellence in Basic Science Research

Rylett has distinguished herself as an academic leader and an outstanding researcher. She graduated with her PhD in 1980 and following completion of postdoctoral training in England accepted a position at Western University in 1981. As a leader, she has served as the Chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology from 2005-2017, Associate Director of Robarts Research Institute from 2010-2015 and is currently the Associate Dean and Director of Animal Research Facilities. She also served as the Chair of the Institute Advisory Board of the CIHR Institute of Aging from 2008-2012 and Vice Chair of the CIHR College of Reviewers from 2016-2019.

Her research is in the area of cellular and molecular neurobiology with particular emphasis on cholinergic signalling in Alzheimer’s disease and related pathologies. She has published more than 100 peer reviewed publications and has given more than 100 presentations to scientific and community audiences. She has supervised 12 master’s and 10 PhD trainees and is known as a fantastic mentor.

Rylett’s peers describe her research as truly impressive and it has been recognized with numerous awards from national organizations including the Claude P. Beaubien Prize for Research from the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Alta Pharm Senior Scientist Award from the Pharmacological Society of Canada.

Rylett is a Distinguished University Professor at Western University and was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Dr. Penelope Thornton, DDS’81
Community Service Award

A community dentist and adjunct professor at Schulich Dentistry, Dr. Thornton has been serving as a volunteer with the Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS) since 2008. In her role with DOCS, she is known for her kindness, humility, compassion and commitment to teaching the next generation of dentists and treating some of the community's most vulnerable patients with compassion.

In addition to her commitment to DOCS, Dr. Thornton has been a strong supporter of Community Living London, Sharing Smiles Day, and actively provides services in support of the CNIB. More recently, Dr. Thornton has become an active member of the London Community Dental Alliance, a new initiative to establish the first permanent low-cost dental clinic to service marginalized Londoners.

Dr. Gordon Payne, DDS’86
Alumni of Distinction – Dentistry

A paediatric dentist and adjunct faculty member at Schulich Dentistry, Dr. Payne is being recognized for his steadfast support of quality dental education and his leadership in the dental and broader community.

Amongst his many professional appointments, he has served in leadership roles with the London & District Dental Society, on a number of committees with the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and Chief Examiner in paediatric dentistry with the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.

He is described as a highly-respected paediatric dentist who has served as a strong advocate for maintaining high standards within paediatric dentistry and for the dental profession in general.

Dr. Danyaal Raza, MD/BEng’09
Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Award

Dr. Raza is described as an exemplary physician leader who is passionately committed to improving the well-being of patients through the enhancement of social determinants of health for all Canadians.

Following his graduation with his joint MD/BEng degree, he pursued a residency in Family Medicine and then a fellowship in Global Health and Vulnerable Populations. While working as a family physician in Ottawa and Toronto he completed his Master of Public Health degree at Harvard University.

He has combined his work as an inner-city physician with advocacy work and public policy development. In his work, Dr. Raza has become a leader in building awareness about refugee health, pharmacare, proper housing, sick time for employees, right to work legislation, interventions for poverty, climate change, expanded and improved Medicare, essential medicines and racism in medicine.

Dr. Raza is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. In 2016, he received a national Early Career Award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and in 2018 he was awarded The Louise Naismith Award and the Excellence in Advocacy Award from University of Toronto.

Dr. Raza’s nominators were unequivocal in their support for him and his recognition from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.