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Dal prof receives prestigious McNeil Medal from Royal Society of Canada

Posted by Michele Charlton on September 29, 2016 in News
Françoise Baylis, this year's recipient of the Royal Society of Canada's McNeil Medal. (Provided photos)
Françoise Baylis, this year's recipient of the Royal Society of Canada's McNeil Medal. (Provided photos)

One of Dalhousie’s outstanding researchers has been honoured for her ongoing commitment to increasing the public awareness of science.

Françoise Baylis has been awarded the prestigious McNeil Medal from the Royal Society of Canada. Established in 1991, the McNeil Medal recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public within Canada.

Making complex issues more accessible

Dr. Baylis, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine and the Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, is the second Dalhousie faculty member to receive the McNeil Medal. She has served as an expert voice in the public policy making process, and is an outspoken advocate for women’s health issues, particularly those pertaining to assisted human reproduction.

“It is truly an honour to be receiving this important national award,” says Dr. Baylis. “Making science inviting and engaging to all Canadians is critically important and something I am deeply committed to.”

As a regular guest on CBC and Radio Canada, Dr. Baylis encourages global discussion on important scientific developments. She frequently uses film and other media in her work to simplify complex issues, such as stem cell research and new reproductive technologies, and make them more understandable and accessible to the public.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Baylis,” says Martha Crago, vice-president research at Dalhousie. “This award recognizes her significant contribution as a champion of science in Canada, and we thank her for all of her work.”

A champion of science in Canada

In addition to the McNeil Medal, Dr. Baylis has been the recipient of several other major accolades this year. These include the Order of Nova Scotia, the Order of Canada and the Distinguished Academic Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

“As you can imagine, I was both surprised and greatly honoured to receive all of these awards in one year,” says Dr. Baylis. “It is very gratifying to be recognized for my contributions to public discussion and debate on ethics, medicine and science and especially heart-warming to know that so many different people took the time to nominate me for these awards.”

The McNeil Medal is one of 15 medals bestowed by the Royal Society of Canada for making an outstanding contribution to a particular field of study. They are awarded annually, biennially or at irregular intervals, depending on the nature of the award. Previous winners of the McNeil Medal have included David Suzuki, Jay Ingram, and Bob McDonald.