OTTAWA, Aug. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Dr. Richard L. Cruess will receive the 2012 Canadian Medical Association's (CMA) Medal of Service in recognition of his outstanding and exceptional contribution to the advancement of health care in Canada.
"The principles of professionalism - altruism, accountability, honesty, service, transparency, humanism and competence - lie at the very core of the medical profession, said Dr. John Haggie, CMA president. "Yet how does one go about teaching and measuring them in a standardized, reproducible way?" This is a question that Dr. Richard Cruess and his wife, Dr. Sylvia Cruess, have endeavored to answer on behalf of the medical profession worldwide.
"Thanks to Dr. Cruess's remarkable work in medical professionalism, thousands of patients have benefited from an improved quality of life. He has done an enormous amount to advance this important area of medicine and his accomplishments deserve our admiration," Dr. Haggie said.
"To be recognized by the CMA, to which I have belonged for my entire career and for which I have great admiration, is quite wonderful," said Dr. Cruess. "My wife and I have been blessed with the opportunity to study, write, and teach professionalism during what would normally have been a post-retirement period of our life.
"Much of what makes us all proud to be physicians is wrapped up in that elusive word "professionalism" that has been with us for centuries. As we have participated in this activity, we have come in contact with wonderful people in Canada and around the world and come to the realization that we are involved in a very important activity which, if successful, will benefit both society and the medical profession," Dr. Cruess said.
An arts graduate of Princeton University and a medical graduate of Columbia University, Dr. Cruess did an internship and served as a junior assistant surgical resident at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital before serving with the Medical Corps of the U.S. Navy in New York. After his military service, he finished his residency, did a fellowship in orthopedic surgery, and served as a research associate at Columbia University before being certified by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada in orthopedic surgery in 1963.
Dr.Cruess was orthopedic surgeon-in-charge at Royal Victoria Hospital (1968-1981), and held appointments as surgeon-in-chief at the Montreal Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children (1970-1982) and honorary consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (1970-1996).
He joined the faculty of McGill University in 1963, became professor of surgery in 1972 and was dean of the McGill Faculty of Medicine from 1981 to 1995. He then took on the role of associate director of McGill's Centre for Medical Education. It was during this time that he began publishing on the subject of professionalism in medicine. Dr. Cruess, along with his wife and Yvonne Steinert, published the book Teaching Medical Professionalism (2008), which was the result of years of study, teaching, and presentations on this subject. The book declared that professionalism used to be transmitted by respected role models, but that that method depended heavily on the presence of a homogeneous society sharing values, which is no longer the case.
Dr. Cruess's perspective on medical professionalism has been sought by universities, hospitals and professional organizations around the world. He and his wife have been invited to speak at many medical schools in Canada, the U.S., and around the world. His research has been funded by the McConnell Family and Bronfman Foundations, the Royal College of Medical Education, the American Medical Association, and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. In 2010, in recognition of their achievements, McGill University established the Richard and Sylvia Cruess Chair in Medical Education. Dr. Richard Cruess is a member of the core faculty of the McGill Centre for Medical Education.
Dr. Cruess is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1985) and a recipient of honorary membership in the Canadian Orthopaedic Association (1991), the Duncan Graham Award of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for outstanding contributions to medical education in Canada (1997), the Order of Canada, Officer (2000), the Order of Quebec, Officer (2003), the Ian Hart Award of the Canadian Association of Medical Teachers (2006) and the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Medical Council of Canada (2007). He was named chief of staff emeritus of the Montreal Shriners Hospital for Children in 2009.
Dr. Cruess is the 42nd recipient of the CMA Medal of Service. The medal will be presented at a ceremony in Yellowknife during the CMA's 145th annual meeting.
SOURCE: CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
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