CIHR-CMAJ Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Awards

Monday, September 28, 2009

Drs. Bob Litchfield and Fred Possmayer are among eight outstanding Canadian individuals and teams honoured today with the first ever CIHR-CMAJ Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Awards, which recognize and celebrate Canadian health research and innovation excellence. The winners were selected by a peer-review panel of Canadian and international experts, who looked for the discoveries and innovations that had the biggest impact on the health of people in this country and around the world.

The winners are:

- Drs. Paul Armstrong, Robert Welsh and Padmaja Kaul, of the University

of Alberta, who trained ambulance crews to liaise with doctors and

begin treatment of heart attack victims about one hour earlier on

average, dramatically improving chances of a full recovery.

- Dr. Adolfo de Bold, of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, for

the revolutionary discovery of hormone secretion by the human heart.

This knowledge now allows physicians to control water and salt levels

in the body, reducing hypertension and helping the heart recover

after heart attacks.

- Drs. Geoffrey Fong, Mary Thompson and David Hammond, of the

University of Waterloo, for their outstanding work with the

International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project in assessing

the effectiveness of various programs to reduce smoking around the


- Dr. Bob Litchfield, of the University of Western Ontario, for a

ground-breaking study of patients with arthritic knees, proving that

knee surgery provided no extra value over physiotherapy and patient


- Dr. Michel LeMay, of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, who

developed a new way to handle heart attacks that empowers paramedics

to read electrocardiograms and identifies patients with blocked heart

arteries who need to be fast-tracked for angioplasty surgery -

reducing mortality by 50 per cent.

- Dr. Nizar Mahomed, of the University Health Network in Toronto, who

led a team involving some 35 hospitals that introduced new procedures

for hip and knee surgery. These procedures reduced wait times, cut

rehabilitation stays and dramatically improved patient outcomes.

- Dr. Stephen Moses, of the University of Manitoba, who demonstrated

the effectiveness of male circumcision in reducing the transmission

of HIV in Africa.

- Dr. Fred Possmayer, of the University of Western Ontario, who

developed a technique to purify and sterilize lung surfactant - a

substance that allows lungs to expand and breathe - so it could be

used in premature babies to greatly improve their chances of