Researchers honoured for outstanding work in anesthesiology, blood disease and cancer

June 4, 2021

A number of outstanding researchers and research teams have been honoured through The Ottawa Hospital’s Excellence Awards program for 2021.

“Research allows us to offer new therapies to our patients and improve health and patient care at The Ottawa Hospital and around the world,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa. “I congratulate all the winners on their outstanding work, as well as all the excellent nominees.”

Research Award-Winners

Research Excellence Team Award: Aging Innovation in Perioperative Medicine and Surgery (AIMS) Research Group
The AIMS Research Group, led by Dr. Daniel McIsaac, won The Ottawa Hospital’s Research Excellence Team Award. AIMS conducts research to improve care for older people having surgery at The Ottawa Hospital and around the world. They are currently leading the largest clinical trial in the world of “pre-habilitation”, a pre-surgical exercise program to get older people in better shape before surgery. They also played a lead role in a ground-breaking study comparing different kinds of anesthesia for vascular surgery. The results, which were published in a top medical journal, could improve surgical recovery and save lives around the world. They have also developed an app that provides patients with personalized risks related to surgery. Patient engagement is very important for the AIMS team and their patient-engagement council is involved at all stages of the research process. Team members: Daniel McIsaac, Emily Hladkowicz, Brittany Warren, Karina Branje, Joanne Hutton, Keely Barnes, Julia Shaw, Flavia Dumitrascu, Melissa Tessier.

Inspire Clinical Research Staff Award: Penny Phillips, Ottawa Blood Disease Centre
Penny Phillips, Senior Research Program Manager for The Ottawa Hospital’s Ottawa Blood Disease Centre, won the Inspire Clinical Research Staff Award. Penny is a highly principled leader who ensures her staff are aware of and respect the many policies that govern clinical research. As a leading expert in her field, Penny has made significant improvements to the hematology research program and has established strong relationships with her colleagues in other areas of the hospital. Penny is also known as a trusted mentor and is highly supportive of professional development for her staff members.  “We are so lucky to have Penny as our research manager,” said one of Penny’s nominators. “Our research team has truly flourished under Penny’s leadership.” 

Physician Philanthropy Award: Dr. Rebecca Auer, Cancer Therapeutics Program
Dr. Rebecca Auer, a surgical oncologist, senior scientist and head of cancer research, won The Ottawa Hospital’s Physician Philanthropy Award. Dr. Auer has been one of The Ottawa Hospital’s most active ambassadors, helping to raise funds to enable all aspects of cancer care and research, including clinical trials, equipment and molecular oncology, as well as core resources such as the Ottawa Methods Centre and Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre. She also helped establish the Arnie Vered Family Chair in Hepato-Pancreato Biliary Research. Dr. Auer has proven to be forward thinking by providing suggestions for prospective donors — and she always found time to meet with them personally, whether by Zoom/Teams, at Foundation events or as a guest at donor events speaking on behalf of The Hospital and Research Institute. Dr. Auer’s dedication has helped to engage our community and make real change and discovery a reality for The Ottawa Hospital and the patients it serves.

Additional awards for members of OHRI

Notable nominations

Research Excellence Team Award:

  • COVID Ontario Pregnancy Event (COPE) Network: Darine El-Chaâr, Jessica Dy, Sarah Lawrence, Bill Cameron, Michaeline McGuinty, Ruth Rennicks White, Alysha Dingwall-Harvey, Romina Fakhraei, Malia Murphy, Rosemary LaRose, Erica Erwin, Katherine Muldoon, Kimberly Grattan, Mark Walker plus external COPE Network Team Members
  • Ottawa Viral and Metabolic Liver Disease Research Group: Angela Crawley, Curtis Cooper, Mary-Anne Doyle, Erin Mulvihill, Angela Cheung, Morgan Fullerton, Erin Kelly, Seung-Hwan Lee, Cynthia Tsien
  • Doug Manuel, Warsame Yusuf, Alan Forster, Rostyslav Vyuha, Yulric Sequeira, Andrew Fitches, Carol Bennett, Mary Scott, Michaela Schreiter, Amira Ali, Toby Barker, Jacqueline Willmore, Dara Spatz, Robert Delatolla, Alex MacKenzie, Patrick D’Aoust, Élisabeth Mercier, Antoine Cantin, Tyson Graber

Inspire Clinical Research Staff Award:

  • Katie McIlquham, Orthopedic Surgery Research
  • Katherine Reilly, Bone and Joint Research Laboratory
  • Meltem Tuna, ICES
  • Ruth White, Obstetrics, Maternal & Newborn Investigators (OMNI) Research Group

Innovation and Creativity Award:

  • Nicol Lum, OHRI Business Systems Integration Team

Watch the virtual Awards Ceremony video and read a summary in The Ottawa Hospital Journal.