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BC’s prestigious Robinson and Elliot awards presented

Apr 01, 2015 |

On March 26, 2015 at the BC Health Officers Council annual meeting, the School of Population and Public Health presented two prestigious public health awards.

Dr. Marcus Lem (SPPH) presents Dr. Reka Gustafson with the James M. Robinson Award

Dr. Marcus Lem (SPPH) presents Dr. Reka Gustafson with the James M. Robinson Award

The James M. Robinson Award for significant contributions to public health is a mid-career award, named for Dr. James McClure Robinson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology. Dr. Robinson joined the Department in 1974 and passed away in 1982.

This year’s recipient is Dr. Reka Gustafson. Dr. Gustafson has almost single-handedly, changed hospital and community physician HIV testing practice in Vancouver, as part of the STOP HIV/AIDS initiative. She accomplished this through good science, excellent knowledge translation, unrelenting advocacy, and extraordinary persistence. She has been the voice of reasoned science in CDC projects and programs across the province and continually links the most thoughtful reflection on data with the realities of public health practice and ethics.

The George Elliot Award for lifetime contribution to public health is a mid to late career award, named for Dr. George Robert Ford Elliot. Dr. Elliot was the Acting Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of British Columbia in the 1960s and was both the Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister of Community Health Programs in the 1970s. In recognition of his outstanding contribution as a leader in Public Health in British Columbia and in Canada, Dr. George Robert Ford Elliot was awarded CPHA’s Honorary Life Membership in 1975.

Dr. Marcus Lem (SPPH) presents  Dr. Eric Young  with the George Elliot Award

Dr. Marcus Lem (SPPH) presents Dr. Eric Young with the George Elliot Award

This year’s winner is Dr. Eric Young. After completing his community medicine specialization in 1996, Dr. Young served as Associate Medical Officer of Health at the Scarborough Health Department and then moved to Regina to become Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer and Director of the Communicable Disease Control for Saskatchewan Health. From May 2004 to Sept. 2014, Dr. Young was the Deputy Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, supporting the work of the Provincial Health Officer and participating in a wide range of committees at both the provincial and national level.

His contributions to public health in BC are many:

  • He was instrumental in pandemic preparedness and response, contributed significantly to progress for safe drinking water in BC and diligently maintained a high profile for road safety and injury prevention in BC. He convened the CIHI process to develop policy-relevant, evidence-based, indicators for measuring and monitoring child and youth health and he has been a passionate advocate against smoking and energy drinks.
  • His commitment and foresight to allocating program resources for research and evaluation has led more cost-effective public health interventions such as the recent decision to move from a 3 dose to a 2 dose HPV.
  • He has been a crucial link between BCMA (now Doctors of BC) and public health physicians in BC and has contributed with distinction to the Fellowship program at SPPH UBC, teaching and mentoring many residents through their placements at the Ministry of Health.
  • And finally he has always been a solid supporter of Health Officers Council and never missed a meeting during his tenure as DPHO.