Ottawa medical hero named to Canada’s 2013 Medical Hall of Fame

October 18, 2012

Canada has an enduring culture of health-care excellence – an achievement worth celebrating yet something we don’t do often enough. The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame – the only one of its kind in the world – aims to change that.

Every year, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame elevates a select few of our country’s most brilliant minds to laureate status. Laureates are those who have pushed the boundaries of discovery and innovation beyond the realm of possibility to make the world a better place.

This year’s inductees, like the 95 laureates who have been similarly recognized since 1994, truly stand out. All are Officers of the Order of Canada, a fitting honour as they embody the good Canadian spirit of grit, perseverance and an overarching sense of humility.

Worthy of the world’s recognition, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame announced Thursday that Dr. Antoine Hakim is one of six inductees who will enter the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2013.

Dr. Antoine Hakim is among the world’s greatest neurologists. His focus: stroke. Dr. Hakim is the visionary behind the Canadian Stroke Network (CSN) – a national cadre of researchers and clinicians representing universities, government and non-profit organizations whose goal is to alleviate the burden of stroke on individuals, families and societies. As CSN’s founding CEO and Scientific Director, Dr. Hakim and his team championed the Canadian Stroke Strategy in 2005 in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada which resulted in almost every Canadian province adopting a stroke strategy. Within five years, Ontario alone saw stroke patient admissions decrease by 11% and referrals to stroke prevention clinics increase by 34%. It takes steely resolve to change a health-care system to that degree. Dr. Hakim is a senior scientist who heads up the Neuroscience Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and is a professor of Neurology at the University of Ottawa.

The other five inductees for 2013 are:
  • Dr. David MacLennan (ON)
  • Dr. Arnold Naimark (MB)
  • Dr. Claude Roy (QC)
  • The Late Dr. Ian Rusted (NL)
  • Dr. Bette Stephenson (ON)
Dr. Arnold Naimark transformed a “clinically-focused Prairie school” (i.e. the University of Manitoba) into a school with areas of research excellence second-to-none in Canada. During his tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, he created the Northern Medical Unit which became a model for health care delivery to the First Nations, Metis and Inuit. As university President, Dr. Naimark built, shaped and reengineered an unfathomable number of organizations and institutions. His leadership, powerful analytical skills, strategic insight, and deep wisdom has to this day put him in high-demand on the national and international health circuit where he continues to contribute to initiatives that aim to address the world’s most pressing health issues.

One of Canada’s foremost biomedical scientists, Dr. David MacLennan of the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, studies the regulation of muscle contraction and relaxation by calcium ions. His research illustrates how basic science can be applied to saving lives. For example, his groundbreaking discoveries of how muscle membrane proteins pump and channel calcium and how their genetic codes are altered in inherited muscle diseases makes it possible to identify patients who are susceptible to malignant hyperthermia (MH) or to exercise-induced sudden cardiac death. MH patients are at risk of fatal reactions to anaesthetics – if identified, they can be treated with safe anaesthetics. With millions of anaesthetics given each year, MH reactions are a worldwide health concern.

Dr. Bette Stephenson is an exemplary role model for young women in medicine. In her early years, she inspired a breakthrough in the acceptance of women in medicine at the University of Toronto (now the majority of students) and, as one of the founders of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, she helped ‘right’ the imbalance of graduates choosing family medicine over other sub-specialties. Dr. Stephenson has led a full and rewarding life, balancing the roles of family physician (including heading up the family medicine department at Women’s College Hospital), mother of six children, politician (most notably Ontario’s Minister of Education), in addition to numerous other positions of responsibility (such as Chair of the Board and then President of the Canadian Medical Association – the first woman ever to hold these titles).

Considered one of the early pioneers in paediatric gastroenterology, Dr. Claude Roy is a man of science and humanism who always puts the child first. An outstanding researcher, teacher and clinician, Dr. Roy played a leading role in the transformation of Ste-Justine University Hospital in Montreal, now an internationally-respected health centre. His research, including infant nutrition, chronic liver disease in children and gastrointestinal and hepatobilliary manifestations of Cystic Fybrosis, has had a major impact on the health of children everywhere. Dr. Roy’s ongoing worry that today’s clinicians are becoming increasingly disengaged from scientific research has prompted him to take action both at a national systemic level and with his own local investigators. Not one to sit back, Dr. Roy works tirelessly to create training programs that are more effective in developing the Clinical Scientist – a key player for the future of the science and practice of medicine.

Without the late Dr. Ian Rusted there would be no medical school in Newfoundland and Labrador, which to this day is a world leader in medical education. What makes this singular accomplishment so remarkable is the vision and perseverance it took to establish a medical school in a poor, underserved province at a time when all of Canada’s medical schools were located in large, resource-rich cities. Since its inception, Memorial University’s Medical School continues to address one of the world’s greatest health challenges: how to effectively train and inspire doctors to serve patients in rural and remote communities. Today, the legacy and spirit of Dr. Rusted lives on in over 2,000 medical graduates who are scattered across Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout the world caring for the needs of humanity wherever they may be.

“These remarkable individuals have earned their place of honour among Canada’s most distinguished medical heroes. Their legacy will live on through the Hall of Fame where people everywhere can learn about their great service to humankind and be inspired to follow in their footsteps,” said Dr. Stewart Hamilton, Board Chair of the Hall of Fame. “This year’s inductees have overcome incredible challenges to improve the lives of countless others and as fellow Canadians we can be extremely proud.”

The 2013 Induction Ceremony, presented by BMO Harris Private Banking, will be held in Halifax on May 2. Over 700 of Canada’s leading citizens will join Honourary Co-chairs Dr. Richard Goldbloom and the late Ruth Goldbloom (in spirit) along with other distinguished guests for an evening of inspiration and celebration hosted by the Atlantic Canada region.

“We are proud to support great Canadian physicians who have given so much to our communities and continue to help the progression of medical achievements across the country,” said Daniel Theriault, Regional Director of Investments, BMO Harris Private Banking. “BMO Harris Private Banking congratulates the 2013 Medical Hall of Fame inductees and is pleased to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2013 Induction.”

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Photographs of the inductees are available at

Biographies of the current laureates are available at

Media Contacts

Paddy Moore
Manager, Communications and Public Relations,
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-737-8899 x 73687
613-323-5680 (cell)

Janet Tufts
Executive Director
The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
519-661-7785 /

About The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
Established in 1994, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is the only national Hall of Fame in the world dedicated to celebrating medical heroes. By creating an enduring tribute to those men and women who through discovery and innovation have contributed to better health in Canada and the world, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame inspires the pursuit of careers in the health sciences fostering future innovators and leaders.