Two outstanding physicians to receive the CMA's Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action



    OTTAWA, Aug. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - For the first time ever, the Canadian
Medical Association (CMA) Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action will
be awarded to two Ontario physicians. Dr. Alan Drummond of Perth and
Dr. Andrew Affleck of Thunder Bay will each receive be recognized with the
2008 award in recognition of their tireless efforts to educate government,
policymakers and the public and to advance healthy public policy.
    "The understated leadership of both Dr. Drummond and Dr. Affleck, their
hard work and their unwavering commitment to advocate at both the federal and
provincial level in pushing for critical improvements in the Emergency
department are a model for others to emulate," said CMA President, Dr. Brian
Day.
    Dr. Alan Drummond has a long history of health care advocacy. After
serving as president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
(CAEP) in 1992/93, he led a campaign that changed the debate about gun control
to one of public health and injury prevention which assisted in the passage of
Bill C-68, the Gun Control Bill. He has shown this same tenacity and
conviction over the issue of Emergency department (ED) overcrowding and wait
times.
    Long active in CAEP, he has been a member of many committees and working
groups and has chaired the public affairs committee since 2001. He has also
been active in the Ontario Medical Association's Section on Emergency Medicine
where he has dedicated his time to initiatives to reducing ED overcrowding and
improve access to emergency care. He is also a member of an ED expert panel
set up by the OMA and provincial government.
    "I am deeply honoured to be recognized by my peers, but far more
importantly, I view this award as an important acknowledgement by the
profession that ED overcrowding is indeed a significant and serious public
health threat that undermines the confidence of Canadians in the integrity of
their health care system," said Dr. Drummond. "For most Canadians, their
highly valued, almost iconic, universal health care system is all about timely
access to quality care when it's needed most. Perhaps, within our life time,
we will see ED overcrowding relegated to being simply a historical anomaly."
    Dr. Andrew Affleck has worked tirelessly to change public opinion about
the ED overcrowding crisis. The lack of physicians providing trauma coverage
in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario inspired his early advocacy activities
in the mid-1990s. Working with municipal leaders, local MPs and the minister
of health, he was instrumental in establishing a Community Development Officer
(recruitment) position that became a model for underserviced sites in Ontario
and other provinces.
    "Having worked in Emergency Medicine for 22 years emergency department
overcrowding for me became the single most important barrier to providing
proper patient care," said Dr. Affleck. "The issue had grown to the point
where the effects were experienced on literally every shift. The impact
affected not only ED care but admitted patients and was the main contributor
to physicians and nurses leaving the ED."
    "I enjoy the work I do and simply wanted to be an advocate for the
patients and ED staff and make a contribution that would change the ED
environment."
    In 2002 Dr. Affleck joined the board of the Canadian Association of
Emergency Physicians (CAEP), serving as president from 2004-2006. Under his
leadership CAEP committed to vigorous efforts, including a national "Stop the
Waiting" campaign, to highlight that ED overcrowding was the consequence of
drastic reductions in bed capacity. His direct lobbying of politicians, their
staff, and health policy experts resulted in the addition of ED wait times to
the Ontario Wait Times Strategy and the national Wait Times Alliance, and made
ED overcrowding an election issue in Ontario.
    "While Dr. Affleck and I may be receiving this award, it really is in
honour of the two thousand men and women who are Canada's emergency
physicians," said Dr. Drummond. "They consistently strive to provide
excellence in patient care despite overwhelming odds. They inspire us."

    The Sir Charles Tupper Award was created to recognize physicians who
demonstrate exemplary leadership, commitment and dedication to the cause of
advancing the policies, views and goals of the CMA at the federal level. Award
winners demonstrate a high level of commitment to effective participation in
grassroots political activities.

    Drs. Drummond and Affleck will receive the CMA's 2008 Sir Charles Tupper
Award for Political Action at a special ceremony on Wednesday, August 20 at
the Association's 141st annual meeting to be held at the Sheraton Centre in
Montreal, Quebec.




For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Manager, Media Relations, (613)
731-8610, 1-800-663-7336 ext. 1266, (613) 447-0866 (mobile)


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