Federation of Medical Women of Canada Honours Dr. Sajni Thomas with the 2008 FMWC May Cohen Award and Dr. Cheryl Levitt with the Enid Johnson MacLeod Award

    CALGARY, June 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Federation of Medical Women of Canada
honoured two of their long-time members during Annual General Meeting held
June 23 at the Palliser Fairmont in Calgary.
    Dr. Sajni Thomas of Saint John, New Brunswick has been selected as this
year's FMWC May Cohen Award Recipient. The FMWC May Cohen Award is an annual
award which recognizes a member of the FMWC for her role in the promotion of
women's health. The Award is named for Dr. May Cohen, former FMWC national
president, who through example put the FMWC vision statement into action.
    Dr. Cheryl Levitt of Hamilton, Ontario was honoured with the Enid Johnson
Macleod Award. This award recognizes either a woman physician or non-physician
for the promotion of women's health research and/or women's health education.
The award was established to honour Dr. Enid Johnson MacLeod, a long-time
member of the FMWC, known internationally for her research into the use of
curare for anaesthesia, and remembered for her generosity and warmth of

    A biography of both Drs Sajni Thomas and Cheryl Levitt are attached.
Photos are available upon request.

    FMWC Mission Statement

    The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) is committed to the
development of women physicians and to the promotion of the well-being of all

    2008 FMWC May Cohen Award Recipient
    Dr. Sajni Thomas

    Dr. Thomas has been practicing Family Medicine in Saint John since 1981.
After completing her undergraduate degree and medical degree at Dalhousie
University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she interned at hospitals in Saint John
and Fredericton, New Brunswick..
    Dr. Thomas is recognized for her accomplishments and dedication to
advocate for issues related to women and children in poverty, domestic
violence, sexual assault, single mothers, teen mothers, drug related problems,
women's rights and freedom of choice. Her particular strength in supporting
women from underprivileged backgrounds has allowed her to develop an expertise
with pregnant women receiving methadone treatment. Dr. Thomas has been
outspoken regarding women's rights in general and continues to advocate for
New Brunswick women to have access to emergency contraception and abortion
services on par with the rest of Canada.
    Dr. Thomas' interest in women's health ranges from adolescence to
menopause. She is currently the mainstay of the menopause clinic at the
community hospital.
    Finally, Dr. Thomas is a wonderful role model for physicians in her
community. She continues to offer office-based, full spectrum family medicine
(including obstetrics). She is involved at the national executive level of the
FMWC and regularly organizes educational and social gatherings for local
female physicians.

    2008 Enid Johnson Macleod Award Recipient
    Dr. Cheryl Levitt

    Dr. Cheryl Levitt is currently a Professor in the Department of Family
Medicine at McMaster University and the Provincial Primary Care Lead for
Cancer Care Ontario. She was the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at
McMaster University, Hamilton, from 1996 to 2006 and past president of the
Ontario College of Family Physicians from 2005-2006.
    Since she became an academic family physician in 1984, Dr. Levitt has
worked consistently to remedy systematic discrimination against women
physicians and women patients. She was the first woman full-time faculty
member to be recruited to the Herzl Family Practice Centre at McGill
University, and the first woman Clinical Department Chair to be recruited to
the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. She has worked to
ensure that the academic work environment is an attractive and sustainable one
for all faculties, especially for the many women family physicians she has
recruited, trained and mentored in her career. In 2001, she conceived and
obtained funding for an innovative interdisciplinary model for the provision
of family medicine obstetrics, which she designed to recruit and retain family
physicians in providing high-quality obstetrical care.
    Internationally, as the Chair of the Wonca Working Party on Women and
Family Medicine from 2004 -2007, she led an international initiative to bring
about gender equity in family medicine and health care through the Hamilton
Equity Recommendations - The HER Statement, a statement developed by 25
leading women family physicians from 16 different countries and all six Wonca
regions. The statement was endorsed by the Wonca Council in 2007.
    Dr. Levitt believes passionately that by tackling and removing
institutionalized gender barriers, changing gender-based values and habits
that support systematic discrimination in the profession, and focusing
attention on women's health, the whole world will benefit from a stronger more
resilient and sustainable physician work force.

For further information:

For further information: Andrée Poirier, Executive Coordinator, FMWC,
(613)569-5881,1-877-771-3777, fmwcmain@fmwc.ca

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