This year, Doctors Nova Scotia honours eight physicians for exemplary achievement.
Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Robert Liwski, PhD, FRCPC
Hematopathologist Dr. Robert Liwski is being honoured with the Distinguished Service Award for his excellence in improving care and safety for organ transplant and stem-cell transplant patients in Atlantic Canada. He is head of the Division of Hematopathology, medical director of the HLA Laboratory and professor of pathology at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. Through his expertise and leadership developing advanced laboratory testing methods, the HLA Laboratory at the QEII is among the best in the world. He has helped establish the HLA laboratory services for the Multi Organ Transplant and Bone Marrow Transplant programs, and worked with his HLA laboratory team to improve diagnostic testing in transplantation at the QEII. One of the optimized test protocols he developed, called the Halifax crossmatch protocol, has been implemented nationally in Canada and by numerous HLA laboratories around the world, helping improve patient care. He maintains an active research program while teaching and mentoring trainees of all levels, and also sits on numerous national and international boards.
Dr. William Grigor Award: Dr. Morgan MacKenzie
Dr. Morgan MacKenzie is being honoured with the Dr. William Grigor Award for her outstanding contributions serving newcomers to Nova Scotia. A family doctor in Halifax, Dr. MacKenzie works at the Newcomer Health Clinic and the North End Community Health Centre. Since 2015, she has been a steadfast presence at the Newcomer Health Clinic, providing tireless service for some of Nova Scotia’s most vulnerable people. She joined the clinic during a large influx of Syrian refugees to the province and worked long days and nights to care for patients. She has become a comforting and calming voice for people who have faced years of trauma and instability, not only advocating for their health care but also helping them find their footing to rebuild their lives. Dr. MacKenzie always makes time for her colleagues, covering shifts and supporting them in work that can be frustrating and traumatizing. A gifted educator and mentor, she enjoys working with medical students and residents at the clinic.
Community Family Physician of the Year Award: Dr. David Nunn, M.Sc. FCFP
Dr. David Nunn receives the Community Family Physician of the Year Award in recognition of his contributions as a family physician, educator and leader. He has practised in Kentville for 31 years, where he works in a collaborative family practice with his wife, Janice, who is a family practice nurse. Over the course of his career, Dr. Nunn has been an integral member of his local medical community. He is a community preceptor for the Department of Family Medicine at the Annapolis Valley site, as well as its director of continuing professional development. Many Nova Scotia physicians have benefited from his guidance and have established practices in surrounding communities. In addition to his family practice, Dr. Nunn has provided emergency medical care at the Valley Regional Hospital throughout his entire career. He enjoys integrating his appreciation for emergency medicine into his teaching.
Community Specialist of the Year Award: Dr. Stacey Northgrave, M.Sc., FRCPC
Dr. Stacey Northgrave is being honoured with the Community Specialist of the Year Award for her dedication in providing dermatological care for people in Cape Breton and eastern Nova Scotia. A pillar of the Cape Breton medical community since starting her Sydney practice in 2003, Dr. Northgrave is currently one of just two dermatologists working east of Halifax. She practises comprehensive, community-based dermatology in an area with high rates of chronic disease. She treats both children and adults, and offers screening patch testing and phototherapy, as well as managing localized skin cancer. Despite working relentlessly to stay on top of her waitlist, she is always available for colleagues and goes out of her way to advocate for her patients. She is also a thoughtful and patient educator for medical students and residents, helping boost their confidence in dermatology. Dr. Northgrave was president of the medical staff at Cape Breton Regional Hospital for two years and loves championing her local medical community to potential recruits.
Physician Health Promotion Award: Dr. Leah Genge, CCFP AM
Family physician Dr. Leah Genge is being recognized with the Physician Health Promotion Award for her work and leadership with marginalized populations in Nova Scotia. Dr. Genge is the physician for the Mobile Outreach Street Health (MOSH) program, which provides care to people who are homeless, marginally housed and street involved. She practises at the Spryfield Medical Centre providing primary care and addiction medicine services, including opioid agonist therapy. She also works at Direction 180 in Halifax and with Nova Scotia Health’s Addiction Medicine consult service. Recognizing the challenges many people face with alcohol use disorder, Dr. Genge helped spearhead a managed alcohol program in Halifax. The program helps people stabilize their alcohol use and develop therapeutic relationships to improve their health.
Dr. Clement Ligoure Award: Dr. Robert Strang, MHSc., FRCPC
Dr. Robert Strang is receiving the Dr. Clement Ligoure Award in honour of his dedication and service leading Nova Scotia’s public health response during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Strang has been in practice for 25 years. Since the start of COVID-19, he has been both the public face and the behind-the-scenes leader of Nova Scotia’s pandemic response. In the role of chief medical officer of health, he has helped make Nova Scotia one of the safest places in the world, protecting Nova Scotians, front-line health-care workers and the health system. Dr. Strang has helped leaders make tough decisions and introduce policies that have stopped COVID-19 from taking hold in Nova Scotia. That has meant balancing competing interests from government, the business sector and non‐government organizations to keep people and communities safe. Before COVID-19, Dr. Strang’s work addressed issues like the opioid epidemic, alcohol use and the legalization of non-medical cannabis. He also played a key role in updating the public health system renewal in 2010.
Doctors Nova Scotia Senior Membership Award and Canadian Medical Association Honorary Membership Award: Dr. Margaret Casey
Dr. Margaret Casey is being honoured for her career as a champion of health care for underserved communities, her commitment to medical education and her advocacy for newcomers and older Nova Scotians. She is receiving two honours: the Doctors Nova Scotia Senior Membership Award and the Canadian Medical Association Honorary Membership Award. Dr. Casey spent 25 of her 37 years in practice in Halifax at the North End Community Health Centre, a pioneer of collaborative care in Nova Scotia. Through leadership roles with the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University, Dr. Casey has helped guide generations of physicians in Nova Scotia. For the past 15 years, she has volunteered with the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia to help international medical graduates adapt their skills to practise medicine in Nova Scotia. In her most recent leadership role as past chair of the Doctors Nova Scotia’s Section for Senior and Retired Doctors, Dr. Casey has been a strong advocate for seniors, connecting them with their colleagues and communities, and ensuring their voices are heard and reflected in government policy.
She has served as undergraduate education lead and assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at Dalhousie University, section head of cardiac imaging and member of the admissions committee for Dalhousie Medical School, among other roles.
Doctors Nova Scotia Senior Membership Award: Dr. Ismail Cajee CCFP(EM)
Dr. Ismail Cajee receives the Doctors Nova Scotia Senior Membership Award in recognition of his decades of service to emergency medicine in Nova Scotia. Dr. Cajee completed medical school in Durban, South Africa in 1975 and practised in Johannesburg before emigrating to Canada in 1991. In 1996, he and his wife Fatima and their young family moved from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia. He achieved his Canadian emergency medicine certification in 1999, and since then has become a stalwart of tertiary emergency care in the province. He has worked in the emergency department at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax since 1997, but his work does not stop there: he also provides care at several regional and rural community hospitals across the province, often travelling on short notice to prevent emergency department closures. Dr. Cajee is an assistant professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine and is the program coordinator for PGY1 and PGY2 residents in emergency medicine at Dalhousie University.