Alumni of Distinction recipients exemplify School values

Join us September 20 at the Homecoming Dean's Gala as we honour the following Alumni of Distinction recipients. Purchase your tickets before September 12.

They are innovators, entrepreneurs, advocates, mentors and leaders, and they all exemplify the values of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

This year, the five recipients of the Alumni of Distinction Awards - Medicine are being recognized for their outstanding contributions and distinguished careers.

Congratulations to Rebecca Fahrig, PhD’99, Susan McNair, MClSc’94, David Palma, MD’04, Brad Thompson, PhD’81, and Al Yuzpe MD’64, MSc’67.

Professional Award
Dr. Al Yuzpe, MD’64, MSc’67

Dr. Yuzpe has been called a pioneer and innovator in all of his academic and professional endeavours.

Completing his medical degree, master’s and residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. Yuzpe joined the staff at Victoria and St. Joseph’s Hospitals and became a faculty member at the School.

It was then that his journey of innovation began.

Early in his career Dr. Yuzpe first introduced the use of laparoscopy. As one of only a few in Canada to use the minimally-invasive surgical approach, he established a course for Canadian gyneacologists for certification and taught the technique around the world. Thanks in part to his work, London is considered a mecca of endoscopic surgery.

In 1974, he developed another innovation when he reported on the use of estrogen and progesterone as a method of emergency contraception, which is now known worldwide and “The Yuzpe Method.”

This was followed by his development of the Centre for Assisted Reproductive Technology at London Health Sciences Centre for the investigation and treatment of infertility. The Centre, now known as The Fertility Clinic, has provided service for more than 30 years, helping hundreds of families.

In addition to his clinical achievements, Dr. Yuzpe has served in many leadership positions across North America, including the presidency of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, and the Foundation for Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health. He is a professor emeritus with the Department of Obstetrics and Gyneacology, Western University and a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia.

Describing Dr. Yuzpe as a great teacher, superb clinician and an innovator, Dr. George Vilos, called him a “lightening rod and great inspiration to countless medical students, residents and fellows in the field of reproductive medicine and infertility.”

Community Service Award
Susan McNair, MClSc’ 94

In addition to her family practice at St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre, Dr. McNair is the medical director for the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Centre. For decades she has worked to meet the needs of patients from the Centre, caring for them with dignity and compassion and ensuring easy access to health care, medication and emotional support.

She has also provided education to community agencies, presented lectures to medical residents and she has participated in provincial events, which serve to raise awareness about care practices for this patient population.

Dr. McNair makes herself available 24 hours a day to the Centre and its vulnerable patient population, often times with little or no compensation.

She has been described as passionate, innovative and tirelessly committed to collaborative, patient-centred care. Dr. McNair leads by example, inspiring all those who work in partnership with her.

Young Alumni Award
Dr. David Palma, MD’04

David Palma is emerging as one of the most promising academic radiation oncologists nationally and, increasingly, internationally. Since joining the Department of Oncology at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry in 2010, he has established himself an outstanding researcher, valued collaborator and wise mentor to trainees.

The impact of his research has been profound, as he currently co-leads two randomized clinical trials and has implemented two other single-arm prospective studies. Today he serves as resident coordinator, supervising several residents. His success has been recognized through several awards, including the ASTRO Abstract Award, the Award for Best Radiation Oncology Paper and, more recently, the Department of Oncology Excellence in Academics Award.

Dr. Palma has been described as individual who works with intensity and purpose in everything he does both inside and outside medicine. “He is open-minded and nimble-minded and is a consummate optimist,” said John Yoo through his support of Dr. Palma’s nomination. “At such an early stage of a career, he has already established himself as an opinion leader with gravitas that is deeper than his years. I have no doubt that Dr. Palma will make a profound impact on the care of patients and be among the world’s leading radiation oncologists for years to come.”

Basic Science Research Excellence Awards
Rebecca Fahrig, PhD’99

Since her graduation, Rebecca Fahrig, PhD’99, continues to set a standard of excellence as a researcher. Now an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at Stanford University, Fahrig’s research activities have blossomed and grown. These include a unique program of applied medical imaging, involving x-ray imaging, computed tomography, conebeam reconstruction, hybrid imaging and interventional application.

She is an extremely productive researcher with more than 90 manuscripts and 1600 citations. Most importantly, her research has had a tremendous impact on the field and has resulted in innovations that have improved patient care around the world.

Brad Thompson, PhD’81

Brad Thompson, PhD’81, is being recognized for his many seminal discoveries that have directly impacted several areas within the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

As the CEO of Oncolytics Biotech Inc., he is considered one of Canada’s foremost veterans in the biotech industry. His achievement and excellence represent a mark of true leadership in the application of basic science research into practical applications that improve lives and generate economic opportunity and prosperity through the biotech sector.