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Press Release

Alberta Medical Association Recognizes Six Extraordinary Albertans for Their Contributions to Health Care

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Sept. 24, 2015) - On Friday, September 25, the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) will honor six outstanding Albertans for their commitment to improving health care and the lives of all Albertans. The evening award presentation will take place during the AMA's Annual General Meeting and Representative Forum (RF) at the Sutton Place Hotel in Edmonton. The AMA's Medal of Honor and Medal for Distinguished Service represent the highest honors bestowed by the AMA. This year, the AMA will also present its inaugural Award for Compassionate Service.

The AMA Medal of Honor is presented to non-physicians who have made a significant personal contribution to ensuring quality health care for the people of Alberta. This year there are two Medal of Honor recipients.

Glen Baker is a PhD neurochemist with training in neuropharmacology, and was the first non-psychiatrist in Canada to become a full-time Chair of Psychiatry. Currently the Associate Vice-President (Research) at the University of Alberta and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry, he has made significant contributions to advancing medical research, elevating medical education and strengthening health care organizations. He is an accomplished researcher, whose work in relation to the pharmacology of antidepressants is considered seminal. Dr. Baker helped establish the Edmonton Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic and was involved in the establishment of a national mental health research secretariat and the creation of the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network, where he is on the interim board of directors.

Calgary philanthropist and entrepreneur, Alvin Libin, has worked tirelessly to ensure Albertans have the best care, expertise and resources available. He has built a successful business empire that spanned real estate, oil and gas, and financial services. He is president and CEO of Balmon Investments, a private management services company, and part owner of the Calgary Flames Hockey Club. In 2003, Mr. Libin and his late wife Mona donated $15 million to the University of Calgary and the Calgary health region to create the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. Opened in 2004, the institute pursues excellence in cardiovascular research and education, and delivers world-class cardiac care to southern Alberta. It is now recognized as one of the top three cardiovascular institutes in Canada.

The AMA Medal for Distinguished Service is given to physicians who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their community and passion for their work. Each of this year's three recipients have made outstanding contributions to the medical profession and to the people of Alberta and, in the process, have raised the standards of medical practice for our province.

Dr. Norman R. C. Campbell is a tireless champion in the fight to prevent and control hypertension, and has been instrumental in helping people understand the importance of reducing their salt intake. He is a professor of medicine, community health sciences and physiology and pharmacology at the University of Calgary, and a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. He is currently the Canadian Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is also president of Blood Pressure Canada, a public health coalition of 29 organizations dedicated to the prevention and control of hypertension. Dr. Campbell recently received the Canadian Medical Association's highest honor, the Frederic Newton Gisborne (FNG) Starr Award.

Dr. Luanne M. Metz is internationally recognized as a pioneer in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research, treatment and care. As the director the MS Clinic of Calgary from 1993 to 2014 she helped transform the clinic into one of the world's leading centers for MS treatment, care and research, dramatically increasing both its clinical and research capacities. She has mentored and trained many of Canada's MS specialists, and was the founding member and first president of the Canadian Network of MS Clinics. Since 2004, she has co-led the MS program at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Currently the head of the Division of Neurology at the University of Calgary, Dr. Metz has led numerous clinical trials, and her research has been described as groundbreaking.

Dr. Eldon A. Shaffer is one of the world's most preeminent gastroenterologists, who has revolutionized how physicians diagnose and treat gastroenterology and liver diseases. In 1977 he moved his Medical Research Council of Canada-funded laboratory to the University of Calgary (U of C) and established both the U of C's Division of Gastroenterology and a Royal College accredited training program in gastroenterology. He founded the U of C's residency-training program, which has produced over 60 trainees who have gone on to consultative practices across Alberta and around the world. Dr. Shaffer also facilitated the creation of the Heritage Medical Research Clinic, which is devoted to clinical trials of novel therapies. He continues to work closely with patients through his consultative practice at the Foothills Hospital.

This year, the AMA will also present the inaugural Award for Compassionate Service, given to a physician who has demonstrated outstanding compassion, dedication and extraordinary contributions to philanthropy or volunteer efforts to improve the state of his or her community.

The inaugural recipient of the AMA Award for Compassionate Service is Dr. Susan A. Christenson, a primary care physician who works with the people of the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta. Dr. Christenson first arrived on the Blood Reserve in 2006, and since then has made it her mission to deliver compassionate, comprehensive care to the people of the community. In 2013, she was asked by the Band Council to establish a clinic at the reserve's Levern townsite. Since then, Dr. Christenson has built a team of specialty providers in areas such as obstetrics/gynecology, rheumatology, nephrology, psychology and respiratory services who come to Levern to practice. This has created a medical home for Blood Reserve members that improves their health and wellbeing and creates a stronger, more vibrant community.

For more information or to request an interview:
Alberta Medical Association
Shannon Rupnarain
Assistant Executive Director, Public Affairs
Cell: 780.907.9003
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