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Physician changemakers applauded


Vancouver physicians celebrate their colleagues changing and saving lives

Every year VCH-Vancouver's Medical, Dental and Allied Staff (MDAS) Association honours remarkable physicians whose professional, research and academic achievements inspire and change the world for the better. Nominated by their peers and chosen by a selection committee, this year's award winners exemplify our values for caring, learning and striving for better — and are nothing short of exceptional.  

Congratulations to all the winners and we thank you for your commitment to keeping caring at the heart of all we do.

Dr. Alana Flexman

Bobby Miller Award for Excellence in Teaching


“Education and research are in Dr. Flexman's DNA, and the anesthesiology and neurosurgical community has strongly benefitted from her strong leadership." Dr. Hamed Umedaly

Dr. Flexman began her career with VCH-Vancouver's Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care in 2010 after completing her residency at UBC. She was appointed head of Neurosurgical Anesthesia in 2016.

Dr. Flexman has received three VCH-Vancouver Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care Financial Merit Awards to support her research, as well as Canadian Anesthesia Society Research Awards. However, she is perhaps best known for her excellence as a teacher. Over the past eight years, she has received the Master Teacher Award three times and the UBC Giannoulis Resident Appreciation Award in 2017 and 2018. 

Dr. Flexman also led the UBC Anesthesia Journal Club for five years and initiated joint journal clubs between anesthesiology and neuro and spine surgery. She has served on the organizing committee for the Whistler Anesthesia Summit for six years, as well as acted as a moderator and speaker, and she has presented at many national and international meetings. 

An outstanding anesthesiologist and a much-admired mentor, Dr. Flexman has taught and inspired a multitude of anesthesia residents and fellows, many of whom now work at VCH.

Dr. Alissa Wright

Clinical Excellence Award   

“Dr. Wright's style of clinical practice is exemplary and always patient-centred. She consistently puts her patients' interests first and foremost and serves as a powerful patient advocate." Dr. Peter Phillips

Dr. Alissa Wright, B.C.'s first expert in the treatment of infectious diseases among transplant and immunocompromised patients, began working at VGH in 2014. As Director of the Transplant Infectious Diseases (ID) program, she has become recognized as an outstanding clinician and expert in her field.

As the number of bone marrow and solid organ transplants performed every year increase, Dr. Wright's expertise is increasingly in demand. She provides guidance and numerous services — including infection surveillance, diagnostic algorithms, pre-emptive therapy, preprinted orders, infection control recommendations, management guideline development and regular attendance at transplant-related rounds — for various transplant programs.

Dr. Wright's talent, commitment and patient-centred approach ensure transplant recipients have the exceptional care they depend on us to deliver.

Dr. Chris Carlsten

Scientific Achievement Award 


“I strongly believe Dr. Carlsten is a model clinician scientist and contributes significantly to the scientific community here at VCH." Dr. James Johnson

Dr. Chris Carlsten is a recognized national and international leader in the field of air pollution and the health effects related to inhaled exposures. A professor and Head of the Respiratory Medicine Division at UBC, he also holds the Astra-Zeneca Chair and Canada Research Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease, as well as positions at UBC's Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation.

Director of the Air Pollution Exposure Laboratory, Dr. Carlsten leads investigations of cardiopulmonary and immunological health effects of exposures. He has more than 120 peer-reviewed articles to his name.

Dr. Carlsten is also a member of the B.C. Occupational and Environmental Health Research Network and a member of the B.C. Lung Association. Internationally, he has numerous leadership roles with the American Thoracic Society, including Chair of its program committee for the Environment and Population Health Assembly and is member of its executive committee. 
A strong and well-respected advocate and spokeperson for air quality, Dr. Carlsten is striving for a healthier environment we all can enjoy.

Dr. Charles Scudamore and the Hepatobiliary Team

Bringing Clinical Renown to Vancouver Community of Care Award 


“We started hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery in 1985, when these surgeries were a new concept." Dr. Charles Scudamore

Since arriving at VGH in 1976, Dr. Charles Scudamore has blazed a trail of firsts that have transformed care for patients. The leading surgical expert in liver transplantation and hepatobiliary oncology and trauma — who originally planned to be a plastic surgeon — set out to develop a Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Program when these surgeries were all but unheard of.

Dr. Scudamore was the first to perform a sphincterotomy and stone retrieval, the first to put a pancreatic stent in place, the first to use balloon manometry in the biliary tree, the first to use a biliary stent for cancer in the hepatobiliary region, the first to endoscopically resect an ampulla of Vater and the first to perform a transgastric pseudocyst drainage. These are standard procedures today.

Dr. Scudamore and his team performed their first liver transplant in 1989 and their first living-related liver transplant in 1995. Under his leadership, the VGH team developed radiofrequency ablation. They also started tumour boards because of the rapidly expanding pool of knowledge in cancer. 

A recipient of the Order of B.C. and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Dr. Scudamore has overseen the growth of VCH-Vancouver's Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Program from one to five surgeons and the expansion of expertise to other areas of B.C. through our training program.

Today, patients diagnosed with serious cancers live longer and more productive lives thanks to Dr. Scudamore and the Hepatobiliary Team.

Dr. Kelly Mayson

Special Service Award 


“Her unwavering commitment to improving patient safety and quality in a collaborative model has led to the development of inspiring programs across the province as well as nationally." Dr. Hamed Umedaly

Quality improvement has been a touchstone for Dr. Kelly Mayson throughout her career and she has made enormous contributions to improving standards in the quality of health care, starting with her role as Medical Director of VGH's Post-Anesthesia Care Unit from 1995 to 2006. 

Dr. Mayson led the introduction of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) to VCH-Vancouver in 2012. This program benchmarked our departments with other NSQIP hospitals and provided risk-adjusted comparisons. Dr. Mayson initiated the tracking of certain anesthetic variables into the NSQIP database over the last five years. Her involvement started a pneumonia prevention initiative, iCOUGH, as well as the active pre-warming of patients to decrease perioperative hypothermia and the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program both at VGH and the provincial level.

Dr. Mayson has mentored and coached numerous medical students, residents and fellows in quality and safety initiatives over the past 15 years and contributed strongly to the Regional Quality Steering Committee. She was recently appointed the co-lead for a Specialist Services Committee-funded provincial initiative known as the Surgical Patient Optimization Collaborative. 

Dr. Andrea Townson

Larry Collins Award for Committee Service 


“Dr. Townson is actively involved in clinical teaching with medical students and residents on the spinal cord injury unit at GF Strong, as well as scheduled clinical skills teaching for medical students in the musculoskeletal and bedside clinical skills teaching blocks." Dr. Marshall Dahl

Dr. Andrea Townson's reputation as a dedicated physician serving her patients in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation is rivalled only by her reputation as a generous, active colleague whose contributions can be felt at VCH, UBC, as well as to the Vancouver Physician Staff Association through the Facility Engagement Initiative

Dr. Townson was head of VCH-Vancouver's and UBC's Divisions of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the medical site lead at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, from 2007 to 2017. Since then, she has been the interim Co-Head of the UBC Department of Medicine. 

Dr. Townson has served as Co-Chair of the Regional Rehabilitation Program for VCH and PHC since 2013. She's contributed as a reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed journals and served on many UBC committees, including the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Research Committee since 2003, the Department of Medicine Executive Committee since 2008, the Department of Medicine Equity Committee since 2009, and as an ad-hoc member of the Department of Medicine Recruitment and Resources Committee since 2011. 

Mentoring the next generation of physicians and fostering advancements in her field, it's easy to see why she was the recipient of the Theo van Rijn Award for Contribution to the UBC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program in 2012.

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