2020 award winners

2020 award winners

Nova Scotia is home to many innovative and talented physicians. The association’s annual achievement awards are one way that Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) celebrates the dedication of its members, physicians who go beyond the call of duty, but are rarely acknowledged for their hard work.

This year, Doctors Nova Scotia honoured eight physicians for exemplary achievement. 

Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Stephen Couban, FRCPC

A medical leader in bone marrow transplant, Dr. Stephen Couban is being honoured posthumously with the Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Couban’s career highlights encompassed his many roles at Dalhousie University, including professor in the Department of Medicine, division head of the Hematology Department, director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, and medical director of the medical teaching unit in the Department of Medicine. He also served as president and vice-president of the Canadian Hematology Society. Dr. Couban advanced patient care innovation and program development through the QEII Health Sciences Centre Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, and in the Hematology Department, including its Ambulatory Chemotherapy Program, infrastructure support, clinical research and triage system.

Dr. William Grigor Award: Dr. Janneke Gradstein, CCFP(EM) FCFP

Amherst family physician Dr. Janneke Gradstein is being recognized with the Dr. William Grigor Award for her efforts to enhance the health and well-being of Nova Scotians. In practice for 14 years, Dr. Gradstein became the Cumberland Regional Health Care physician site lead in 2018—one of many ways in which she has applied her knowledge to maximize resources and meet health care demands. She has organized committees to recruit and retain physicians to Cumberland County, created the first collaborative practice in Amherst to expand access, and was one of the first core preceptors of the North Nova Family Medicine Resident Program. She also organizes grand rounds and presents at educational events for students and medical staff. 

Rural Physician of the Year Award: Dr. Kelly Morris, CCFP

Dr. Kelly Morris is being honoured with the Rural Physician of the Year award for providing exemplary care to her patients and for her outreach to underserved populations. For 10 years, Dr. Morris has served the community of Amherst, N.S. as a family physician and through the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, where she works in prenatal care, obstetrics, neonatal resuscitation, surgical assists and in-patient medical care. She has structured her practice to benefit the most vulnerable people in her community who are often marginalized in the health-care system. She treats patients with addictions conscientiously and carefully, provides care for transgendered patients and sees adolescents at the local high school.

Physician Health Promotion Award: Dr. Lisa Barrett, FRCPC, PhD

Clinician scientist Dr. Lisa Barrett is being recognized with the Physician Health Promotion Award for her research on chronic viral infection and immune function, and how infection can be treated and cured.Dr. Barrett conducts her research in part as the principal investigator with the Senescence Aging Infection and Immunity laboratory at Dalhousie University, which she also established. Dr. Barrett joined the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Nova Scotia Health Authority in 2013. She is an assistant professor in the departments of Medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases), Microbiology and Immunology, and Pathology at Dalhousie Medical School, and a clinician scientist with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, in addition to being an infectious disease physician and attending staff.

Senior Membership Award: Dr. Rebecca Dobson, FRCPC

Dr. Rebecca “Becky” Dobson receives the Senior Membership Award in recognition for her contributions in cardiac radiology. Practising medicine for 40 years, Dr. Dobson began her medical career as a GP anesthetist in the Arctic. She dabbled in internal medicine before finding her home in radiology at the QEII hospital in Halifax. Over the course of her career, Dr. Dobson was a devoted teacher and mentor to hundreds of medical learners and colleagues. She not only taught radiology and cardiac residents, but also physicians in many other specialties, including internal medicine and emergency medicine.

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.

CMA Honorary Membership Award

Dr. Minoli Amit, FRCP(C), CCPE
Pediatrician Dr. Minoli Amit receives the CMA Honorary Award for her dedication and excellence in the delivery of health care in rural Nova Scotia. Based in Antigonish, N.S., Dr. Amit is a consulting pediatrician and chair of the Department of Children’s and Women’s Health at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital. She also co-chairs the Pediatric Operational Group for the Nova Scotia Health Authority and is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie. Over the years, Dr. Amit has ensured that the rural perspective for specialist medical services has been represented locally and nationally as an active member and leader of organizations such as Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS), the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She also helped establish and chairs a section of regional specialists with DNS.

Dr. Sally Helme Jorgensen, FRCSC
Dr. Sally Helme Jorgensen is being honoured with the CMA Honorary Membership Award in recognition of her contributions in obstetrics and gynecology. Practising for 35 years, she has spent over three decades providing exemplary care to women on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Over her career, Dr. Jorgensen has held leadership positions in both regional and national organizations. She is the current council member for Nova Scotia on the Canadian Medical Protective Association and is a former president of the Atlantic Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she has lent her guidance to the Nova Scotia Surgery Network and the Nova Scotia Reproductive Care Program, and was instrumental in developing Nova Scotia’s midwifery program. At her own hospital, she has served as chief of obstetrics and chief of surgery. 

Dr. Paul van Boxel, MBChB, FRCS(C)
Dr. Paul van Boxel is the recipient of the CMA Honorary Award for exemplifying the CMA’s ideals of integrity and compassion. Originally from South Africa, Dr. van Boxel has established a legacy of excellence during his 56 years in medicine. He spent 30 years as a general surgeon in Sudbury, Ont. where he served on multiple committees and was chief of surgery and chief of staff. In 2002, he joined the Cumberland Regional Health Care and helped build a culture where surgeons assist and support one another, inside and outside the operating room. That spirit of collaboration in the surgical department has been embraced throughout the institution. He also helped found the Cumberland Taskforce on Healthcare to improve physician recruitment and engagement with the Nova Scotia Health Authority.


Melissa Murray
Communications coordinator
1-800-563-3427 ext. 4923