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2022 MSA Physician Awards


Once again, the Medical Staff Association (MSA) awards are unable to take place in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is disappointing that we cannot gather to celebrate the amazing contributions of the award recipients, we recognize the importance of adhering to physicial distancing guidelines in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Physicians are on the frontlines of combatting this virus with other health care professionals, and their commitment to serving the community during this challenging time is commendable.


Please join the MSA in congratulating the following award recipients on their well-deserved recognition!



Family Medicine Award Recipient: Dr. Kimberley Bender


Dr. Bender was nominated by Dr. Ana Hategan, who writes:


Dr. Bender is a family physician working at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital community practice and as the physician leader at St. Peter’s Hospital Restorative Care Unit. Dr. Bender is a woman in leadership who continues to make a difference throughout the pandemic, leading her colleagues exemplarily through these unpreceded times.


Improving patient care is always a priority to Dr. Bender, she is always on the unit to engage with her fellow clinicians, listen to us, and remind us that taking care of ourselves is also important by emphasizing ways to improve work-life integration.


Dr. Bender has always been available, approachable and has given all her attention when needed, yet always with an eye for systemic change, creating a psychologically safe space for all of us on the unit. Dr. Bender’s dedication to patient care and staff wellness during the pandemic is remarkable and must be acknowledged. Although we don’t get to tell her often, we appreciate and she inspires all of us to want to be more. This is one of her greatest gifts.


Congratulations, Dr. Bender!


The Dr. Geoffrey Coates Award (MUMC) Recipient: Dr. Tracey Bruce


Dr. Bruce was nominated by Dr. John Donnellan, who writes:


Dr. Bruce embodies all that is good in Pediatric Medicine. Her kindness, compassion and skill is known throughout the children’s hospital - both in how she deals with her patients, but also with her colleagues. She has long been an advocate for patients, most recently in her endeavours to build a pediatric burn dressing clinic within the structure of the pediatric sedation team. Prior to this, she was going to various procedure rooms providing analgesia and sedation to patients undergoing painful dressing changes - not as her rostered activity, but as voluntary work on her days off, as she knew it was in the patients’ best interests.


Dr. Bruce has expertly handled multiple complex cases with the calm composure of a stalwart anesthesiologist. Her knowledge of procedural sedation and the art of medicine has led her to be the “personal physician” to many of our most challenging cases, with many complex pediatric patients asking for her by name. Dr. Bruce is an exemplary colleague, who never says no if asked for help. She will stay to the end of a list and always come running to help if needed. The children’s hospital is a better place because she is part of it.


Congratulations, Dr. Bruce!


The Dr. Clive Davis Award (HGH) Recipient: Dr. Sharon Grad


Dr. Sharon Grad was nominated by Dr. Nora Cullen, who writes:


Dr. Grad looks after two vulnerable populations using exceptional care and skill: patients who have had amputations, and people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). These two groups are medically complex and in need of a great deal of attention with few resources available. She treats both populations holistically using a biopsychosocial model of care. Throughout the pandemic, and before, Dr. Grad has gone out of her way to support these patients to ensure optimal health and well-being. The amputees typically have a comorbidity of diabetes, associated with poor wound healing, making prosthetic fitting particularly difficult. During the pandemic, many services for these people were closed and staff redeployed to other areas of need. Dr. Grad worked diligently and often independently to treat patients living in high risk housing situations, such as tents, without access other health care professionals.


The MS population has had diminishing supports over time due to financial constraints. They are vulnerable to financial and housing insecurity and they are often without social supports or access to care. The illness itself is unpredictable and progressive in nature. Dr. Grad provides exceptional medical care to them. Recently she has been working to establish a community support program in partnership with the YMCA to enable patients with MS to function as well as possible, for as long as possible.


Concurrently, Dr. Grad teaches many learners and has received teaching awards in the Division of PM&R. She assists at the Royal College to establish criteria for national standards in PM&R education.


Congratulations, Dr. Grad!




Community Action Award Recipient: Dr. Dale Guenter


Dr. Dale Guenter was nominated by Dr. Doug Oliver, who writes:


Dr. Dale Guenter has worked in the Hamilton community for over 20 years, providing compassionate care for the most vulnerable people in our city. He was a founding member of the Hamilton Shelter Health Network and continues this work tirelessly 2 decades later. Dr. Guenter’s approach to supporting all marginalized people is person-centred, respectful and focuses on bringing dignity to many who have never received it.

In addition to the day-to-day medical and social supports he provides to HHS’ homeless and precariously housed patients, Dr. Guenter has been a leader in education and research around best practice for marginalized patients. Community-based projects he has either led or been involved with in the last year include mass vaccinations of homeless patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of an innovative virtual COVID-19 clinic for patients who do not have a family physician, and he was a key part of an emergency response team for 3-weeks in a Residential Care Facility during a massive COVID outbreak.


Congratulations to Dr. Guenter!



West Lincoln Colleagues’ Award Recipient: Dr. Denise Marshall


Dr. Marshall was nominated by Dr. Allison Grice, Dr. Joan Bellaire, Dr. Anne Aube and Dr. Mat Noble-Wohlgemut, who write:


Dr. Marshall is someone who embodies our culture at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) - she is knowledgeable, a strong leader and educator, and a wonderful colleague to work with. Dr. Marshall has been a professor of Palliative Care at McMaster University since 1989. She founded the Niagara West Palliative Care team and co-founded the McNallly Hospice in Grimsby, also serving as Board Chair and Medical Director. Dr. Marshall holds provincial and national leadership roles in palliative care and is recognized nationally as a leader in palliative care.


We are so fortunate to have Dr. Marshall as a pillar at WLMH. She believes strongly in a Family Medicine driven hospital with specialist support and primary care skill and knowledge development. In addition to her work in palliative care, Dr. Marshall has been a strong advocate for the West Lincoln new hospital build and has sat on numerous committees helping to define and promote our WLMH primary care hospital culture. Dr. Marshall is always a friendly face on the wards, and always stops to ask how you are doing professionally and personally. She is approachable and always willing to discuss difficult cases and provide insight and direction. In her patient assessments, she goes above and beyond by approaching patient issues in a holistic manner, advocating for them and offering support to their families. In her consultant role in palliative care, Dr. Marshall has through the years made herself exceedingly available at any time to support her colleagues both in the hospital and in the community and this support is very appreciated by the medical community. Denise is truly an inspiration to all who know her!


Congratulations, Dr. Marshall!



The Dr. Dan Dwyer Award (JHCC) Recipient: Dr. Clare Reade


Dr. Reade was nominated by Dr. Lua Eiriksson, who writes:


Dr. Reade is an exceptional clinician. She excels in all domains of gynecologic oncology, including surgical management, administration of systemic therapies, and palliative care. She is compassionate and exceedingly considerate of the needs of her patients, their families, all levels of trainees, the administrative staff and nurses, and her colleagues. Even when she is busy, her office door is always open and she is always willing to debrief a case or give advice about a dilemma. Dr. Reade can be counted on to provide expert opinions regarding the management of complex cases and is able to break down a problem into its relevant components and apply evidence and experience to aid in treatment decisions. When consulted clinically or intra-operatively, Dr. Reade is able to help with almost anything and she is always willing to help. In fact, she will offer to scrub in on cases that are at risk of going overtime, to the benefit of the patient and the OR team.


Dr. Reade is dedicated to the advocacy of patients and improving the standard of care. She works on national, provincial, and local/hospital committees in developing training programs, diagnostic and treatment pathways, and quality improvement projects, as well as quality improvement and patient safety rounds. Dr. Reade sees the best in people, but also sees the potential in people and builds them up to be more than they could have imagined. She is a colleague I look up to and admire for all that she is and does.


Congratulations Dr. Reade!



This article was also published on the HHS Hub on February 22.2022

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