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Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada recognizes Dalhousie learners, faculty, and staff

Posted by Kate Rogers on February 27, 2024 in News
Left to right: Dr. Victoria Luong, Dr. Susan Howlett, Dr. Jasmine Mah, and Pamela Bourque. (images provided)
Left to right: Dr. Victoria Luong, Dr. Susan Howlett, Dr. Jasmine Mah, and Pamela Bourque. (images provided)

Each year, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the academic partnership of Canada’s faculties of medicine, recognizes distinguished individuals for their leadership, excellence, and achievements in academic medicine.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients from Dalhousie.

AFMC Scientist Award: Dr. Susan Howlett 

The AFMC Scientist Award is presented to an individual who has provided an exceptional research training environment for all learners and scholars and emphasizes the importance of excellence in all pillars of health research in advancing knowledge. 

Dr. Susan Howlett, a distinguished research professor of pharmacology and geriatric medicine at Dalhousie University, has made exceptional contributions to the research programs in the Faculty of Medicine for more than 30 years. She is an outstanding ambassador for women in science, leading discovery research into how age and sex steroid hormones affect cardiac function and predispose towards heart diseases. Her laboratory pioneered measurement of frailty in aging animals with a “frailty index” tool. Her work shows that frailty can be exacerbated by polypharmacy, attenuated by deprescribing, exercise and treatment with drugs known as “geroprotectors.” A translational scientist, she has used results from studies in animals to develop a new laboratory-based tool to measure frailty in people.

Her work has generated considerable attention internationally, has brought millions of dollars of research funding to Dalhousie University, and has resulted in the attraction and training of outstanding students who have advanced the reputation of the University.

AFMC Learner Changemaker Awards: Dr. Jasmine Mah

The AFMC presents two Learner Changemaker Awards each year. They each celebrate an exceptional 1) medical learner (medical student/resident) and 2) a health research graduate student/post-doctoral scholar who has created real and meaningful change for those training in Canadian faculties of medicine or health sciences faculties.   

Dr. Jasmine Mah, an internal medicine resident with a deep passion for geriatric care, is the embodiment of a changemaker in her field. She holds a medical degree from the University of Ottawa and an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Mah operates at the intersection of medicine, research, and policy, currently focusing on transplant systems in Europe. Her doctoral research delves into social vulnerability and frailty among older adults in Nova Scotia, aiming to uphold dignity and autonomy in challenging circumstances. Dr. Mah is also the co-founder of Let Science Connect, a social enterprise facilitating effective science communication between academia and society.

AFMC John Ruedy Award for Excellence in Graduate Health Professions Education Scholarship: Dr. Victoria Luong

The AFMC John Ruedy Award for Innovation in Medical Education was developed by the Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University in 1999 to recognize Dr. John Reudy’s retirement and honours individuals or groups pioneering innovative print materials, electronic learning aids, or other educational resources.  

Dr. Victoria Luong is a research associate and interdisciplinary Ph.D. candidate at Dalhousie University. She received her medical degree from the Université de Sherbrooke and her M.Ed. in Health Professions Education from Acadia University. While actively contributing to various research projects concerning the sociocultural aspects of medical education, her doctoral studies concentrate on underperformance and remediation within undergraduate medical education. Through the utilization of qualitative methodologies and a quest for deeper insights into the experiences of academic struggle, she aims to enhance current strategies for supporting academically challenged students.

AFMC Administration Award: Pamela Bourque

This award celebrates the contributions of the administration within a faculty of medicine where efforts and work have contributed to national discourse and the betterment of Canadian Academic Medicine. The award is aimed at celebrating and showcasing the contributions of non-academic, administrative staff in a Canadian medical school.

Throughout her illustrious 40-year tenure in academic medicine, Pam Bourque has held leadership positions in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education programs. In 2009, she assumed the role of the inaugural Chief Operating Officer of Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB), where she played a crucial role in overseeing the implementation of Dalhousie's distributed undergraduate program across the province. Pam is recognized for her solution-driven mindset, consistently bringing a pragmatic approach and optimistic demeanor to every undertaking. Her remarkable contributions have garnered her numerous accolades, celebrating her as an esteemed leader and trailblazer. Though she retired in 2023, her impact at Dalhousie will be felt for many years to come.