Doctors of BC’s 2023 award recipients

January 29, 2024

Each year, we recognize the many extraordinary contributions of physicians, residents, and medical students around British Columbia by way of our Doctors of BC Awards. Three awards are also open to members of the public, either individually are as part of an organization, who are working to improve the health and safety of British Columbians.
Congratulations to all our 2023 recipients who were recognized at our annual Awards Celebration in late January 2024. If you know an individual or group whose work is deserving of an award, please consider nominating them for the 2024 Doctors of BC Awards. You can learn more and access the nomination forms and criteria on our Awards page. Questions? Email .

Dr Don Rix Award for Physician Leadership

Established in memory of the late Dr Donald Rix, this award recognizes lifetime achievements and exemplary physician leadership so outstanding that it serves as an inspiration and a challenge to the medical profession in British Columbia.

Dr Renee Fernandez

Dr Renee Fernandez is a family physician, advocate, and changemaker. Her leadership skills as Executive Director of BC Family Doctors guided family physicians through the choppy waters of the early COVID-19 pandemic. Only a couple of years later in early 2023, Dr Fernandez helped usher in the seismic shift in BC’s primary health care landscape, with the introduction of the Longitudinal Family Payment model—one that has changed the lives of many family doctors. As one of five family physicians who met weekly with the government since June 2022 to make this change a reality, Dr Fernandez’s resolve is remarkable. Her motivation, candour, and drive for equity make her an exemplary medical leader in British Columbia today.

Dr David M Bachop Gold Medal for Distinguished Medical Service

The Dr David M Bachop Gold Medal is given to a BC doctor who has made an extraordinary contribution in the field of organized medicine and/or community service. Achievement should be so outstanding as to serve as an inspiration and a challenge to the medical profession in BC.

Dr Christine Loock

A developmental pediatrician and Professor of Pediatrics at BC Children's Hospital, Dr Christine Loock is an internationally recognized leader in Social Pediatrics. She leads and co-founded the RICHER (Responsive Interdisciplinary Intersectoral, Child/adolescent, Education and Research) program, which began as a Specialist Services Committee funded initiative. It serves as a teaching site for UBC medical students, residents, nurses, and nurse practitioners, providing invaluable experience in reaching populations marginalized by health and social systems, such as those in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. As she steps into retirement, she is slowly handing over her role as specialist lead to her mentees. Dr Loock is a recipient of the 2012 Queen Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service, and the BC Pediatric Society Judith Hall Award 2015. 

Dr David M Bachop Silver Medal

The Dr David M Bachop Silver Medal in general medical practice is presented annually to the UBC family practice resident or the practice-eligible British Columbia registered general practitioner who achieves the best overall result in the Family Practice Certification.

Dr Emily Evans

Dr Emily Evans has always been interested in practicing full scope rural medicine and is currently travelling around northern Ontario to small towns and remote First Nation communities providing primary care, emergency medicine services, and hospital-based care. She loves her job and has thoroughly enjoyed exploring different provinces, meeting new people, and continuing to learn more in medicine along the way.

Doctors of BC Silver Medal of Service

The Doctors of BC Silver Medal of Service is awarded to physicians who have made outstanding contributions to medicine and/or the improvement of British Columbians’ welfare.

Dr Karen Forgie

Based in the coastal community of Sechelt, Dr Karen Forgie is an advocate for change and a dedicated rural family physician and medical leader, whose commitment, heart, and clinical acumen are undisputed. A medical leader on the Sunshine Coast, and within BC, she served as president of BC Family Doctors during its transition from the Section of General Practitioners and remains chair of BCFD’s Economics Committee. She was chair of the Sunshine Coast Division of Family Practice’s board for four years and was Sechelt Hospital MSA president from 2018-2022. Since retiring from her longitudinal family practice in 2022, Dr Forgie continues to care for long-term care patients and visit elderly patients at home, providing care with her trademark compassion and humility. 

Dr Jay Slater

Dr Jay Slater has truly embraced the full scope of Family Medicine during his storied career, from providing primary care in rural and urban areas, to his many years as a hospitalist at Vancouver General Hospital and UBC hospital, eventually becoming medical manager. A keen interest in caring for the frail elderly led to his co-development of the Home VIVE Program as Physician Lead. The program provides home-based primary care to frail elders in Vancouver, allowing patients to avoid unwanted placement in nursing homes and needless hospitalizations. Home VIVE recently received the BC College of Family Physicians Award of Excellence – Innovation in Primary Care. Dr Slater is also a co-founder of the Vancouver Division of Family Practice, a generous mentor, and a published scholar, particularly relating to geriatric palliative care. 

Dr Carole Williams

A family physician in Duncan, Dr Carole Williams is a clinical instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at UBC, a past president of BC Family Doctors, and later served as BCFD’s Executive Director. Her work with Doctors of BC spans many years and committees and includes a term as Board Chair. She received the Bachop Gold Medal in 2015. Currently the co-chair of the Cowichan Division of Family Practice, Dr Williams is an exemplary role model for young people in medicine, and has more than three decades of extensive, effective, and inspiring advocacy work under her belt. Her dedication to the medical community is exemplified by her work with the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), in which she was a member of the board and many committees.

Excellence in Health Promotion Awards

These awards recognize an individual, a non-profit, and an organization that are working to improve the health and safety of British Columbians. Nominees must have demonstrated a concern for health and safety through specific actions or initiatives that show ingenuity and creativity, and result in change with the potential for positive, long-term improvement.

Individual: Kim Hall

A registered physiotherapist, Kim Hall has applied her creativity and expertise as a former aquatic fitness instructor alongside the city of Richmond fitness staff to create the joint replacement for knees and hips (JR2) program. The six-week long, community-based exercise program based in Richmond BC, enables joint replacement patients to continue their recovery in a supervised fitness environment that includes both gym- and aquatic-based exercises. Since 2010, JR2 has helped thousands of post-operative total joint arthroplasty (TJA) patients increase their mobility and their joint health, while improving their overall confidence and quality of life. JR2 also benefits patients by connecting them with their local community centres and encouraging an active lifestyle beyond the program itself. Hall also founded Physio2U, which provides home physiotherapy and kinesiology services to people who have mobility challenges.

BC-Based Non-Profit: Papapalooza

Created by two Nanaimo physicians, Dr Christine Layton and Dr Christie Kyle, Papapalooza is a public health initiative that provides access to pap smear screening in a timely fashion. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the difficulties many face in accessing a family physician, the doctors announced their first event in Nanaimo in November 2021. All 60 available appointments were booked within six hours. As well as cervical cancer screening, Papapalooza also offers sexually transmitted infection screening and referrals if other health concerns are identified. It continues to grow, with events at all UBC Medicine campuses, and in the towns of Victoria, Prince George, and even Ottawa. More than 1,000 individuals in BC have updated their cervical cancer screening results through this innovative initiative.

BC-Based Organization: South Asian Women’s Health Talk (SAWHT)

SAWHT is an initiative founded by two medical students, Japneet Gill and Navjit Moore, to normalize conversations of South Asian women related to their physical and mental health. SAWHT has set up various information booths across Metro Vancouver at Sikh Gurdwaras and community events, providing information on reproductive and sexual health, screening tests, chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, as well as providing information about local community resources and services. These booths have been held in Punjabi, Hindi, and English. The group has helped improve community awareness and education, connecting with organizations such as the BC Cancer Agency and BC Papapalooza.

Changemaker Awards

Each year the Changemaker Award honours one medical resident and one medical student who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and dedication in advancing the policies, views, and goals of Doctors of BC or of a resident or student organization through grassroots advocacy efforts.

Student Changemaker: Bader Al-Zeer

Bader Al-Zeer grew up in a refugee family in Jordan and is a driven advocate for marginalized communities. Throughout his academics, he was elected leader of the Pearson College Medical Responders and the International Affairs Student group, was awarded SFU’s Craig Asmundson Award for his engagement and impact on the SFU community and, moved from volunteer to president of the UBC Refugee Health Initiative. He also created the Refugee Health Research Committee aimed at researching refugee health from the perspectives of both refugees and healthcare providers, as well as in medical training and curriculum. His leadership skills and commitment to reduce disparities in health care have earned him the respect of his peers and faculty advisors.

Resident Changemaker: Dr Devon Mitchell

Dr Devon Mitchell is a passionate leader who has spearheaded meaningful impact on a provincial and national level in the fields of public policy, healthcare leadership, and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). His commitment to LGBTQ+ health resulted in helping create the go-to resource on LGBTQ+ health for the entire provincial group of emergency physicians and in establishing the first Canadian LGBTQ+ Health Fellowship for Emergency Medicine residents, among many other achievements. From representing the voice of residents on Doctors of BC’s Representative Assembly, to leading Resident Doctors of BC, to his recent election as president of the Resident Doctors of Canada, Dr Mitchell demonstrates exemplary leadership and effective grassroots advocacy efforts.

Presidential Scholars Award

The Doctors of BC Presidential Scholars Award provides an endowment covering textbooks, and student and tuition fees for one medical student on an annual basis, for the full four years of their medical education at UBC.

Fiona Huang

Fiona Huang attributes her rural upbringing for influencing her decision to pursue a medical career. She is passionate about advancing equitable healthcare for marginalized groups with a strong interest in patient-focused and preventative medicine. And while she is particularly drawn to contributing to rural family medicine, she is keeping an open mind to exploring the diversity of experiences across all specialties. Fiona also worked on the Ontario University Athletics Anti-Racism Project to address racial discrimination in university sports and was a RISE Professional Scholar at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Germany.

CMA Honorary Membership

Honorary membership of the Canadian Medical Association is awarded to doctors who, at the age of 65, have been active members of the association for at least 10 years. Our BC awardees are held in high regard by their colleagues; they are humanitarians who have put into practice the aims and ideals of the medical profession and exemplify the words of the CMA Coat of Arms: integritate et misericordia—integrity and compassion.

This year's honorary BC-based CMA awardees are:

  • Dr David Ross Brown

  • Dr Marshall Dahl

  • Dr Francis Ervin

  • Dr Richard Feige

  • Dr Arun Garg

  • Dr Trina Larsen Soles

  • Dr Carole Williams