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Press Release

CMA's Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics to be given to Dr. Eugene Bereza

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, Aug. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) announced today that Dr. Eugene Bereza, will be the recipient of its 2010 Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics. It recognizes a member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership, commitment and dedication to the cause of advancing and promoting excellence in the field of medical ethics in Canada.

"Dr. Bereza's passion has clearly ignited a movement to keep bioethics at the forefront in Canadian medical policy and practice," said Dr. Anne Doig, President of the CMA. "His leadership, expertise and exceptional work in Canada in research and clinical ethics has made a unique and remarkable contribution to the growing awareness of this important medical field."

"I couldn't be more thrilled to receive this recognition from my peers and mentors," said Dr. Bereza. "The CMA never shies away from tough political battles when it comes to advocating and fighting for the health and well-being of Canadians. As the leading professional medical organization in Canada, the CMA has always understood that the best interests of the profession are fundamentally linked to the best interests of patients. To be recognized for my work by such an organization is indeed an honour."

Eugene Bereza is a family physician and bioethicist with a background in biology, literature, music therapy, and palliative care. He studied medicine and completed his residency in family medicine at McGill University before pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Bereza is Director of the Biomedical Ethics Unit, McGill Faculty of Medicine; the Neuroethics Program at Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital; the Medical Ethics Program, McGill Department of Family Medicine, and the Ethics Program at CSSS de la Montagne. He teaches seminars in bioethics to graduate students in medicine, law, philosophy, and religious studies.

Dr. Bereza has extensive experience in health policy development. He has been Chair of the Committee on Ethics for the Quebec Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association. He has also been a member of the ethics committees of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He has been called to testify before Canadian Senate committees and provincial commissions on issues that include physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, reproductive technologies, and adaptation of health and social services in the context of cultural diversity. In 2001 he was appointed by the federal health minister as ethicist to the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation.

Dr. Bereza's expertise is in residency teaching, faculty development, and clinical and research ethics consultation. Over the last 20 years, he has been formally consulted on more than 2,000 clinical cases on subjects ranging from public health, primary care and preventative medicine to innovative technologies and research in tertiary care medicine. His main areas of interest are community mental health, cultural diversity in health care, transplantation medicine, reproductive technologies, and innovative neurosurgery in psychiatric disorders and complex pain syndromes.

"The motivations that sustain me in my work as a bioethicist are the exact same ones that sustain me as a physician. I can think of nothing more gratifying than to serve others as they face the wonderful and the terrifying challenges of life and death. Medicine and ethics require a true integration of intellect and emotion, of theory and practice, of normative principles and pragmatic wisdom. With these goals, I will never lack for challenge or inspiration," added Dr. Bereza.

The award is named after the first Chair of the CMA's Committee on Ethics, Dr. William Marsden, who later served as President of the Association in 1873-1874. It was under Dr. Marsden that the Committee drafted the first version of today's CMA Code of Ethics which was approved in 1868.

Dr. Bereza will receive his award on Aug. 25th during the CMA's 143rd annual meeting to be held at the Crown Plaza in Niagara Falls, Ontario.