CMA awards Medal of Honour to Mark A. Wainberg

    OTTAWA, Aug. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
will present the 2009 CMA Medal of Honour to Dr. Mark A. Wainberg, one of the
first Canadian scientists to study HIV/AIDS and tireless global advocate for
funding of HIV intervention programs and universal access to prevention, care
and treatment programs.
    "The CMA Medal of Honour recognizes personal contributions to advancing
medical research and education," said CMA President Dr. Robert Ouellet. "Dr.
Mark Wainberg's dedication to the advancement of medical research, public
health advocacy and the tremendous impact of his work in advancing knowledge
on HIV makes him a very worthy recipient of this award."
    "I am truly honoured to receive the CMA Medal of Honour. Although I am
not a clinician, I feel privileged to have contributed to the saving of lives
through the medical research programs with which my colleagues and I have been
associated over many years", said Dr. Wainberg. "I am also proud to have
contributed to the education of many medical students and physicians through
research and teaching, and I continue to be involved in a wide variety of CME
    Dr. Wainberg and his research team were credited with the first
identification of 3TC as an anti-viral drug in the late 1980s. He has also
contributed significantly to our knowledge about HIV drug resistance and HIV
replication. In addition to pursuing these lines of research and drug
development, today his laboratory looks at novel concepts in vaccine
development and prevention of HIV infection in developing countries.
    Dr. Wainberg studied science as an undergraduate at McGill University,
then did doctoral work in microbiology at Columbia University, New York. He
went to Hebrew University in Israel for a postdoctoral research fellowship. In
1974 he returned to his native Montreal, where he took up research
appointments at University of Montreal and McGill University. He was appointed
associate professor in McGill's department of microbiology and immunology
(1979) and associate professor at McGill Cancer Centre (1980).
    Following a sabbatical during which he worked in the laboratory of Dr.
Robert C. Gallo at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., Dr.
Wainberg returned to Montreal where he was funded as a research associate by
Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec. In 1984 he was named head of the
Laboratory for Research on AIDS at Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General
Hospital. In the late 1980s McGill appointed him professor at in the
departments of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and pediatrics. Since
1990 he has been professor and director of the McGill AIDS Centre, and he also
served as director of research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical
Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital from 2000 until 2009.
    Promising advances in AIDS research made possible by his research team's
work were acknowledged in 1990 by the federal government's National Health
Research Development Program, when he won the National Scientist Award for
AIDS Research. His team's research also won critical acclaim. In 1993 the
Canadian HIV Trials Network presented him with its award of distinction, and
in 1996 he was a co-winner, along with investigators from BioChem Pharm and
Glaxo-Wellcome, of the Prix Galien award for pharmaceutical research.
    A long-time member of the International AIDS Society, he served as
president (1998-2000) and was responsible for the organization of the XIII
International Congress on AIDS held in South Africa in 2000. He also
co-chaired the Global Strategies Conference for prevention of mother-infant
HIV transmission held in Montreal (1999) and the Microbicides 2000 conference
for prevention of HIV infection held in Washington (2000). In recent years he
co-chaired the XVI International Conference on AIDS held in Toronto (2006).
    The author of hundreds of scientific articles and reviews, in 2007 Dr.
Wainberg made the Institute of Scientific Information's list of the world's
most cited authors in the field of microbiology.
    "It worries me that Canadian government commitments and support for
medical research have fallen from previous levels. Scientists and clinicians
must work together to ensure that policymakers understand the important role
that high-level research plays both in the training of first-rate clinicians
as well as toward the conquest of disease," added Dr. Wainberg.
    Dr. Wainberg has been honored at all levels - from the grassroots, by
people affected by HIV/AIDS, to the elite organizations that acknowledge only
the top scientists in the world. Citations include Public Health Hero by the
Pan American Health Organization (2002) and Hero of HIV Research by the
Fondation Farha (2005). He was presented with the Pride Toronto Award (2007)
and has received awards in China, India and Argentina.
    Selected awards include: fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada
(2000); investiture in the Order of Canada (2001) and l'Ordre National du
Québec (2005); a second Prix Galien for research (2003); fellowship in the
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2008); and induction in France's Legion
of Honour (2008). He is a lifetime honorary member of the International AIDS
Society. The Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation presented him with
its Distinguished Scientist Award (2003) and he has received the
Sanofi-Pasteur Award for Excellence in Scientific Leadership and
Accomplishment (2006). Dr. Wainberg is also an honorary fellow of the Royal
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (2003).
    Dr. Mark Wainberg is the 26th recipient of the CMA Medal of Honour, the
highest award bestowed upon a person who is not a member of the medical
profession. He will receive this award at a special ceremony at the TCU Place
in Saskatoon, Sask. on Aug. 19th as part of the CMA's 142nd annual meeting.

For further information:

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

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