CMA recognizes Young Physician Leaders

    OTTAWA, Aug. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is
pleased to recognize four young physician leaders as the recipients of its 6th
annual Award for Young Leaders. The award celebrates the efforts of young
physician leaders of tomorrow for their efforts today.
    Two students have been chosen recipients of the 2009 Award for Young
Leaders, Juliet Emamaullee from Edmonton, Alberta and Charlotte Kfoury of
Pointe-Claire, Québec. The CMA is also awarding its Young Leaders award this
year to resident Dr. Devesh Varma of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Dr. Jordan
Cohen of Calgary, Alberta in the early-career category.

    Juliet Emamaullee, PhD (student)

    Juliet Emamaullee, PhD, is entering her fourth year at University of
Alberta medical school where she is also a postdoctoral fellow researching
islet transplantation. Future plans for this talented and outstanding young
woman include residency in general surgery and a transplant fellowship. When
she entered medical school she was chosen to represent her peers at the
Alberta Medical Association (AMA), and became the provincial medical student
representative to the AMA Board of Directors.
    "To be recognized by the CMA is truly an honour. I am the first person in
my family to go to university, let alone become a doctor. I would not be where
I am today without the influence of the incredible mentors I have encountered
over the years," said Dr. Emamaullee.
    In 2006 she co-founded a women's surgery interest group - aligned with
the Edmonton Women's Surgical Society to promote interaction between women
trainees and surgeons - and initiated a speakers' series and mentorship
program. Dr. Emamaullee also has been actively involved in the Association of
Women Surgeons (AWS). In her first year she initiated a membership drive and
mentorship program, and recently she chaired the AWS national medical student
committee. In 2008 she became the first medical student to be invited to serve
as a member of the American College of Surgeons' committee on women in
    "Women are becoming the majority in the physician workforce. As such, we
need to support women in all aspects of their careers and particularly
encourage more women to take on leadership roles in health care in Canada,"
she added.

    Charlotte Kfoury (student)

    This fall, Charlotte Kfoury will begin her third year of medical studies
at McGill University. Her leadership and commitment to the Community Outreach
Project (C.O.P.) is one of the highlights of her young medical career. Through
this philanthropic organization, McGill medical students engage with children
and adolescents to support healthy lifestyles and prevention of harmful
behaviour. A keen fundraiser for C.O.P., Ms. Kfoury is its Health Squad
project manager and this year she organized "Live Healthy, Live Happy", a
bilingual, full-day conference for parents and children about healthy living.
    A long-time Héma-Québec volunteer, she helps promote blood drives,
prepares the facilities and supervises recovery areas. She was a member of the
organizing committee responsible for a four-day blood drive near the McGill
campus that resulted in 532 blood donations. She has also served as
co-Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Journal of Medicine since 2008.
    An aquatics leader who works with children with special needs, Ms. Kfoury
also helps raise money for reconstructive facial surgery for children in
developing countries.
    "Social engagement is the natural extension of medical care. Through the
Community Outreach Projects, we were able to provide medical students with
opportunities to hone their leadership skills and become proactive with our
younger peers in terms of preventive medicine through public education," said
Ms. Kfoury. "As such, social implication furthers the scope of our clinical
experience and hopefully will stir an interest to remain involved in the
community after graduation. With enthusiasm and perseverance, there are
virtually no limits to what one can accomplish."

    Dr. Devesh Varma (resident)

    The resident recipient of the 2009 Award for Young Leaders, Dr. Devesh
Varma, is known for inspiring and mentoring his peers in medical politics to
strive to achieve more for themselves and their fellow residents.
    Dr. Varma was a member of the board of directors of the Canadian
Association of Internes and Residents (CAIR) from 2005 until 2008, serving as
treasurer for two years and as president in 2007. Employing a collaborative
and consensus-driven leadership style, as president he spearheaded a
governance review and strategic planning process that culminated in a new
board structure, bylaws, and strategic direction for CAIR. He also organized a
historic joint meeting of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada,
the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the College of Family
Physicians to bring clarity to the issue of leaves of absence for residents.
In addition, he has represented CAIR at the Canadian Medical Forum, the
Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors, and CMA General Council.
    Dr. Varma is a medical graduate of Dalhousie University who recently
completed his postgraduate training in ophthalmology at the University of
Saskatchewan. This fall he will pursue a fellowship at the University of
    "I am deeply honoured to receive the 2009 CMA Award for Young Leaders. I
am especially grateful to my talented colleagues at CAIR and the CMA for
supporting young doctors like me who wish to be part of a health care
solution," said Dr. Varma.

    Dr. Jordan Cohen (early career physician)

    Dr. Jordan Cohen's dedication to physician wellness has caught the
attention of Canadian physicians.
    Dr. Cohen, who is embarking on an academic career in psychiatry at his
alma mater, the University of Calgary, spearheaded the Happy Docs Study during
his residency. The study, a well-being survey, examined the stressors
affecting medical residents. In addition to presenting at national and
international conferences, he has also published the survey findings. Dr.
Cohen also subsequently developed and presented workshops on developing
physician health curriculum in residency training programs. In 2006 he was
awarded CAIR's Derek Puddester Award for making the greatest contribution to
medical resident health.
    Since completing his psychiatry residency in 2005, Dr. Cohen has been a
clinical assistant professor in University of Calgary's department of
psychiatry. As Director of Student Affairs, Dr. Cohen provides career
counselling, academic and health supports for all Calgary medical students. He
also chairs the physicianship course for medical students, which deals with
professionalism and attaining personal balance during training,
    "I believe I have been given a special opportunity to teach about
physician health at all levels of medical education and the responsibility for
caring for my colleagues who have family members with psychiatric illness. For
this I will always be grateful," said Dr. Cohen. "I strongly believe that in
order to maintain the health of Canadians, we must first ensure that we stay
well as health professionals."

    The Young Leaders Award recipients have demonstrated exemplary
dedication, commitment and leadership in one of the following domains:
political, clinical, education, research and/or community service.

    The winners have been selected based on three key criteria:
    -  having exemplified creativity, initiative and are committed to "making
       a difference";
    -  being active and effective at the local, provincial/territorial and/or
       national level; and
    -  acting as a positive and effective role model for their peers and

    "I continue to be thrilled and impressed by the quality of our young
leaders," said Dr. Robert Ouellet, the CMA president. "Given their
intelligence, commitment, innovation and determination, I believe that the
profession will be in good hands in the future."
    The CMA will present the 2009 Award for Young Leaders on Aug. 19 at its
142nd annual general meeting at the TCU Place in Saskatoon, Sask.

For further information:

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

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