Nine Nova Scotia physicians receive special honours
Doctors Nova Scotia honoured nine physicians for exemplary achievement at the association’s annual conference on Saturday, June 8 in Halifax, N.S.
Psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kutcher was honoured with the Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contributions in the treatment and understanding of adolescent mental illness. Dr. Kutcher has been practising since 1985, when he started working at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, where he helped pioneer research on youth with major mental illnesses. He went on to become head of psychiatry and associate dean of international health at Dalhousie University, and the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health. He also developed global mental-health strategies as director of a WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre. He has worked as a clinician, researcher and educator, helping bridge areas that sit as silos within medicine. Following his appointment to the senate in January 2019, he is now focused on making change through public policy.
Halifax psychiatrist Dr. Sue Zinck received the Dr. William Grigor Award for her ongoing commitment to strengthening mental health care access for children and adolescents of all genders. She has worked at the IWK for almost 14 years. An outpatient child and adolescent psychiatrist at the IWK Mental Health and Addictions Program, she practises at the Community Mental Health Clinic in Halifax and at the IWK Bipolar Disorders care clinic. From this clinic, she consults across the hospital, and to other mental health clinicians, increasing access to evidence-based care for youth with bipolar and severe and persistent depressive disorders. She uses her diagnostic skills to understand how someone’s condition affects them as a unique individual. Dr. Zinck co-founded the IWK Trans Health Team, the first transgender health clinic for youth in the Maritimes. She also teaches and supervises medical students, residents and fellows.
Ophthalmologist Dr. John Rosborough Hamilton was honoured with the Rural Physician of the Year award for his dedication in providing surgical and medical vision care for people across northern Nova Scotia and eastern Cape Breton. Based at Saint Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish for 37 years, Dr. Hamilton has been caring for patients across six counties. His satellite clinics have brought continuity of care for patients, many of whom are older diabetics. Thanks to his dedication, diabetic eye screening and treatment in this region is one of the highest in the province. Even on his busiest days, Dr. Hamilton takes calls from his colleagues and always squeezes in extra patients, often working late into the night. He has also recruited other ophthalmologists, advocated for and bought much-needed equipment, and established a network of clinics and services.
Dr. John Fraser is a Halifax family physician specializing in addiction and pain management who was honoured with the Physician Health Promotion Award for his dedication and leadership serving marginalized Nova Scotians. Since he began practising medicine 40 years ago, Dr. Fraser has worked at the North End Community Health Centre, a community-based, collaborative health centre on Gottingen Street. He has devoted his career to bringing crucial services and support to people who are stigmatized by the health-care system. In addition, Dr. Fraser practises at the Pain Management Unit at the QEII, providing care to people suffering from the co-morbidities of chronic pain and opioid use disorder. He enjoys mentoring medical learners in chronic pain, addiction and harm reduction, and gives talks on these topics across Atlantic Canada.
Neonatologist Dr. Dora Stinson received the Senior Membership Award in recognition of her distinguished contributions to the care of newborns in the Maritimes. When she chose her speciality in 1963, neonatology was a field on the cusp of discoveries that would improve newborn survival. After practising for five years in Pittsburgh, Dr. Stinson came to Halifax in 1975. Based at the Grace Maternity Hospital, and then the IWK, she helped establish the neonatal intensive care team and develop the practices of neonatal care. Dr. Stinson has trained thousands of medical students, residents and fellows. In addition, she has participated in the Nova Scotia Reproductive Care Program, including as neonatal co-director. In her retirement, Dr. Stinson continues to assist her colleagues in newborn care and teaching, and provides clinical care through the Nova Scotia Perinatal Follow-Up Program. She also sits on the provincial and national neonatal resuscitation program advisory committees.
Dr. Herbert Orlik received the Senior Membership Award in recognition of his 45-year career as a psychiatrist, educator and advocate for child and youth mental health. An early fascination with emotional and behavioural issues inspired him to pursue medicine. Dr. Orlik has worked as head of child psychiatry at the IWK for 22 years and was director of undergraduate psychiatry at Dalhousie University for 10 years. He developed undergraduate and postgraduate programs and helped establish psychiatry as a core subject for medical students in Canada, strengthening the understanding of mental illness among physicians. In addition, he helped pioneer telehealth psychiatry, working on the national level to help more Canadian children access care. A devoted educator, he teaches and supervises both undergraduate and postgraduate trainees, noting that one of his greatest joys is seeing his students succeed in their chosen fields. Nearing the end of his career, Dr. Orlik continues to serve on numerous education-focused committees at Dalhousie.
Dr. Sherry Litz received the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Honorary Membership Award in recognition for her contributions in pediatric anesthesiology. Her speciality combines her interest in anesthesia, which she describes as “the perfect mix of pharmacology, physiology and technical procedures,” with her joy of working with children. During her more than 30 years in practice, Dr. Litz has helped usher in best practices for pediatric cardiac surgery and pediatric critical care in the Maritimes. She quickly became a go-to colleague for managing care of the sickest patients, spending hours bedside with infants in the pediatric intensive care unit and supporting their families. While chief of pediatric anesthesia at the IWK for 12 years, Dr. Litz enjoyed recruiting new physicians. She continues to work in pediatric anesthesia at the IWK and at the South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater, N.S.
Dr. Kim Crawford received the CMA Honorary Membership Award for his excellence in the practice of general internal medicine in rural Nova Scotia. For 34 years, Dr. Crawford has been practising at Queens General Hospital in Liverpool, N.S. He also provides a weekly clinic in Shelburne and works on-call in Bridgewater. Dr. Crawford has become an invaluable mentor and ally for family doctors, helping them give their patients fulsome spectrum of care. Whether in hallway consults, after-hour phone calls or unofficial patient rounds, he always gives his colleagues support. Over the decades, he has also lent his expertise to several leadership roles, including chief of medicine and chief of staff, and numerous key positions with Doctors Nova Scotia, the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Protective Association.
Dr. Albert Doucet received the CMA Honorary Membership Award for his long and distinguished career practising family medicine and strengthening the medical community of Liverpool, N.S. For 35 years, he ran a comprehensive family practice in Liverpool, N.S. He was the occupational medical consultant for Bowater Mersey Paper Company, chaired the occupational medical committee for Doctors Nova Scotia and did audits for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia. After retiring in 2009, he continued to work ED shifts and served as medical director in continuing care for the region. Retiring from clinical practice three years ago, he became chair of the Queens General Hospital Foundation. His leadership has helped the hospital invest in equipment and infrastructure. He loves championing the region to potential recruits and he has helped make Liverpool a sought-after destination for physicians.