SRPC's 2020 Award Recipients


The Rural Service Award provides recognition to SRPC Physician Members of 5 years or longer who live and work in rural Canada, and have served their rural communities for 10 years or longer.

Dr. Peter Barnes

Botwood, NL

Dr. Bret Batchelor

Revelstoke, BC

Dr. Pamela Frazee

Tofino, BC

Dr. Randall Friesen

Prince Albert, SK

Dr. Joshua Greggain

Hope, BC

Dr. Steven Griffin

Bancroft, ON

Dr. Megan Grigg

Wiarton, ON

Dr. Samantha Harper

Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL

Dr. Timothy Heerema

Hanover, ON

Dr. Scott Kish

Dauphin, MB

Dr. Courtney Rennie

Revelstoke, BC

Dr. Modar Safar

Alliston, ON

Dr. Erich Van der Linde

Lake Newell Resort, AB


The Rural Long Service Award recognizes SRPC Physician Members of 5 years or longer who live and work in rural Canada and have served their rural communities for a minimum of 20 years.  Must be a previous recipient of the RSA.

Dr. Claudette Chase

Neebing, ON

Dr. Christopher Cressey

Palmerston, ON

Dr J. J. René Lafleche

Hearst, ON

Dr. Michelle Lajzerowicz

Chelsea, QC

Dr. Bruce Mohr

Whistler, BC

Dr. Anjali Oberai

Wawa, ON

Dr. John Reaume

Mount Forest, ON

Dr. Leah Seaman

Kaslo, BC

Dr. Tandi Wilkinson

Nelson, BC


The Fellowship of Rural and Remote Medicine of the SRPC is designed to recognize expertise in the practice of rural medicine in Canada.

The Fellowship award is presented to SRPC Physician Members who are previous recipients of the RSA and have acquired a minimum of 10 points.

Points are accumulated as follows:

  • each year serving as a rural preceptor for students and residents.
  • each SRPC sanctioned event attended.
  • each full year serving on an SRPC committee.
  • each skill: GP Surgery, GP Anesthesia, GP Obstetrics.
  • one point is awarded for having published in the CJRM.

Dr. Stephen Arif

Invermere, BC

Dr. Vanessa Cardy

Chisasibi, QC

Dr. Amita Dayal

Port Perry, ON

Dr. Stacy Desilets

New Liskeard, ON

Dr. Karen Forgie

Halfmoon Bay, BC

Dr. Sara Goulet

Winnipeg, MB

Dr. Michael Kirlew

Sioux Lookout, ON

Dr J. J. René Lafleche

Hearst, ON

Dr. H. Susan McArthur

Walkerton, ON

Dr. Marius Mostert

Fort Nelson, BC

Dr. Anjali Oberai

Wawa, ON

Dr. Terry Suggitt

Listowel, ON

Dr. Todd Young

Springdale, NL

Dr. Barbara Zelek

Marathon, ON


The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada Lifetime Membership Award recognizes longstanding SRPC Members of 10 years or more, who have reached the age of 65.

Dr. Gord Hutchinson

Victoria, BC

Dr J. J. René Lafleche

Hearst, ON

Dr. Hassan Lockhat

Stettler, AB

Dr. Peter Loveridge

Glenwood, NS

Dr. Michael Wright

Ft St John, BC


The Rural Leadership Award is presented to an individual or an organization that has made an outstanding contribution to rural medicine on a national level in Canada. The recipients are recognized for accomplishments that have impacted rural Canada in a truly significant way. 

Dr. Stuart Iglesias

McDougall, ON

Dr. Iglesias has worked tirelessly for decades to support, preserve and improve the provision of obstetrical, anaesthetic, and surgical skills in rural communities. He was instrumental in developing the Joint Position Paper on Rural Obstetrics between SRPC, CFPC, and SOGC released in 1999. He has been a staunch supporter of FP anaesthesia and built strong ties with the Canadian Anaesthesia Society. He establishes educational events and helped develop targets for training in anaesthesia and surgery for GPs for rural communities. Despite numerous political and philosophical barriers towards GP surgery in the Canadian Association of General Surgery (CAGS), Stu persisted and built a relationship with this organization. Ultimately, this paved the way for the Joint Position Paper on Rural Surgery and Operative Delivery in 2015, jointly endorsed by SRPC, CFPC, SOGC and CAGS. This legitimized the new training programs in Enhanced Surgical Skills training and was a factor in obtaining formal certification with CFPC for Certificates of Added Competence in Surgery, Anaesthesia, and Obstetrics under the CFPC. These achievements were the work of many dedicated people but Stu really has been the spark that got this process going.

(Excerpt from nomination letter.)

Student and Resident Leadership Award

The Rural Student and the Rural Resident Leadership Awards are presented to two students and two residents in good academic standing who have demonstrated a sustained interest in rural medicine through any of the following:

  • electives in rural or remote areas or in disciplines particularly important to rural practice (e.g. Indigenous health).
  • involvement with local or national rural or remote health groups.
  • promotion of rural or remote health initiatives at a local or national level.
  • involvement in volunteer or community-based projects in rural or remote areas.
  • published work relating to rural or remote issues.

The award is open to all student and resident SRPC members across Canada.

            Mrs. Mary Freymond

            Oakville, ON

             Ms. Aanchal Ralhan

             Torbay, NL

            Dr. Brooke Edwards

            Owen Sound, ON

            Dr. Kerry-Lynn Williams 

            Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL


NEW AWARD in 2020 - This award recognizes a physician that has had a significant impact on their community, through clinical services, teaching, research, volunteer work or other community involvement continually advocating for the best health care available. It allows the SRPC to recognize those making a difference for members of the community.

Dr. Onuora Odoh

Houston, BC

Dr. Odoh is well known for his community health advocacy efforts, and is a columnist on health topics for the local newspaper; Houston Today. He initiated and facilitated establishment of Narcotic Anonymous in Houston, leading the community to fight against opioid addiction. He also attends both Narcotic and Alcohol Anonymous to provide support to participants.   In partnership with Metabolic Syndrome Canada, he developed CHANGE BC for the community of Houston, an excellent, innovative primary care lifestyle support program for patients, a program that has been awarded by the BC College of Physicians, the Rural Coordinating Committee of BC, and the Canadian College of Family Physicians.  Dr. Odoh has developed a local pediatric lifestyle summer camp for children to increase nutrition and physical activity literacy in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s faculty of Kinesiology. Dr. Odoh leads the Houston Group Exercise Program; walk and group exercise program, and has hosted Doctors of BC’s “Walk With Your Doc” program to encourage and promote physical activity.  Recognizing the impact of poverty,  and seeing a high burden of dental disease, Dr. Odoh developed a collaborative partnership with the UBC’s Dentistry Faculty to provide school -based oral health education for his community. Dr. Odoh is an active and dedicated Board Director and Secretary of the Pacific Northwest Division of Family Practice, a role he has embraced as an opportunity to advocate for advancing primary care for patients across the Pacific Northwest of British Columbia.  Dr. Odoh is also a regular volunteer at the Houston Soup Kitchen serving the most vulnerable individuals at risk of homelessness and food insecurity. 

(Excerpt from nomination letter.)


NEW AWARD in 2020 - This award is a presented to a non-physician who has had a significant impact on rural health care delivery, either through clinical care or system level impact in a community, province, or nationally.

Ms. Brenda Fowler

Gabriola Island, BC

Brenda saw seniors under served by a lack of local resources and under staffing with Community Health Services.  She started first with a senior’s day program in order to support not only the seniors but their families as well, the program was named “Stepping Up Stepping Out.” This program focused on the social determinants of health by increasing physical activity, promotion of independence, education, fostering of new friendships, and connection to the community. The program runs eight times a month and provides a nutritious lunch, physical activity and exercises, a speaker series, seasonal activities, and puzzles.

Brenda then moved on to tackling the formal health care system and system change. Community Health Services and home support has been drastically understaffed for many years, causing strain for patients, families, and Health Authority staff. Over 50% of appointments were being cancelled due to lack of staffing coverage, the jobs were available but there was a lack of qualifies applicants. Brenda started a project in collaboration with the Local Health Authority- Island Health, and the University of Vancouver Island to bring a training program to Gabriola Island. She works diligently and tirelessly to do so, over 60 people expressed interest with 22 finally completing the rigorous application process. As Gabriola is a ferry dependent community it was essential this training program be offered on Gabriola, Brenda had to convince the university to provide classes on Gabriola, which she did. A Local church volunteered their space, funding was secured for the tuition and 22 students entered the program free of charge. 22 students have now completed the in-school training and have started their practicums this January and will be able to apply for positions in March 2020.Brenda has made significant changes to the health and wellbeing of our local seniors and families.

(Excerpt from nomination letter.)


NEW AWARD in 2020 - This award is presented to a rural physician that demonstrates outstanding commitment to mentoring and supporting future rural physicians, and/or rural physicians already in practice.

Special mention: We were overwhelmed at the number of Rural Mentorship nominations and wanted to thank all the Rural Mentors for everything you do to support rural Medicine and the future of our rural physicians.

Dr. Sean Moore

Keewatin, ON

Sean is one of only a handful of FRCP-trained emergency physicians in Canada who work in a truly rural environment. As a career-long locum, I have never come across a specialist who is so rabidly supportive of primary care providers. Sean is not “just” the Chief of Emergency Services at LWDH. He is a Medical Director of Education for ORNGE, the critical and acute patient transfer service in Ontario, and an Assistant Medical Director for CritiCall (the service that helps doctors across Ontario find beds and manage patients with life- or limb-threatening problems), all while teaching students and residents, and both formally and informally mentoring dozens physicians at all stages of their careers.Formally, Sean has mentored 12 rural family physicians in emergency medicine. Each mentorship consists of a four-month program requiring 32 hours per month. That’s 1536 hours of formal mentorship in just that program! He has also formally mentored 15 Royal College emergency medicine residents and seven physicians completing their fellowships in simulation education at the University of Ottawa. The above numbers do not recognize people like me whom Sean informally mentors to develop skills in simulation, leadership, transport medicine, and research. Sean has been instrumental in having me attend and present at nation-wide conferences and we are currently working together on a research project that I conceptualized and he has helped to make a reality.

(Excerpt from nomination letter.)


The Rural Heart Award is presented to an physician who has demonstrated support and passion for rural medicine, while not currently meeting the residence criteria for the Rural Service Awards or the FRRMS. 

The SRPC recognizes that without strong partnerships across the broader health care and educational system we cannot accomplish our goals of training, equipping and supporting physicians and other health care providers for the citizens of rural Canada. Therefore, we wish to acknowledge our partners whom, while not technically rural, have demonstrated that they have a rural heart.

Dr. Ian Whetter

Winnipeg, MB

Dr. Ian Whetter is a family physician, medical educator, and father of three. He lives and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he holds a leadership role with the University of Manitoba’s College of Medicine as the Education Director of the Northern Remote Family Medicine Residency Stream. Although he currently lives in an urban centre, Dr. Whetter continues to make important contributions to rural and northern communities and is a rural generalist at heart.

After completing his Family Medicine residency at Memorial University in the Northern Family Medicine Program in Labrador, Dr. Whetter worked in Indigenous communities across northern Canada for several years. Since he moved to Winnipeg, he has taken up several leadership roles in his community practice and medical education. Throughout his career, Dr. Whetter has demonstrated a commitment to increasing access to high quality, non-judgemental, and anti-racist healthcare for rural and remote communities.

In addition to his current role with the U of M’s northern residency program, Dr. Whetter is also the Lead for Social Accountability in the Max Rady College of Medicine, the Director of the Alan Klass Memorial Program for Health Equity, and the Medical Director with Ongomiizwin Health Services.

Dr. Whetter has been a member of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada since 2005, and has been a valued speaker at the Rural and Remote Medicine course.

(Excerpt from nomination letter.)


The Rural Specialist Merit Award is presented to a specialist who lives and works in rural Canada and has demonstrated a long term commitment serving their community. They are recognized for providing care for rural patients and supporting rural generalists.

Dr. Andrew Kotaska

Yellowknife, NT

Dr. Andrew Kotaska is a generalist Obstetrician Gynecologist practicing in Yellowknife NWT. He graduated from UBC Medicine in 1992 and started his career as a GP Surgeon in Smithers, BC. After about 7 years he returned to do his specialty residency and completed his training in 2006. He has been active in teaching throughout his professional life and has taught many family physicians and midwives as well as obstetric residents. He has supported bedside ultrasound training and enhanced surgical and obstetrical skills for family physicians. He has been hugely supportive of collegiality and teamwork between obstetricians, family physicians and midwives and has presented at many SRPC educational events. In addition to his research and faculty appointments he is the current President of the NWT Medical Association. But beyond this impressive list of accomplishments it is really the fact the Andrew is a specialist that understands rural, lives rural, and supports rural that makes him an obvious choice for the SRPC Rural Specialist Award.

(Excerpt from nomination letter.)


The Rural Medical Education Award is presented to a Canadian medical school that encourages students to pursue further training in rural medicine. It is awarded to the medical school program matching the most graduates to rural family medicine residency programs based on CaRMS data for the preceding year.

Congratulations to Memorial University with 66% Rural FM Matched in 2019


The Keith Award was the first award established by the SRPC. It is presented to a Canadian post-graduate program which has excelled in producing rural doctors. It identifies the university with the largest number of graduates practicing in rural Canada for the most recent 10 years after graduation. Family medicine residents are identified through the Canadian Post-MD Education registry and practice location is taken from the Canadian Medical Association database.

Congratulations to Université Laval who have 50% of their family medicine grads practicing rural 10 years after graduation.

Essay Winners

Each year the Nominations and Awards Committee hosts a rural essay contest for medical students and residents. Students are asked to submit a non-fiction essay with rural elective theme and residents are asked to submit a non-fiction essay about their rural experience.

To read the winning essays please visit the essay page.

      Ms. Anastasiya Lezhanska

      Hamilton, ON

             Dr. Laura Downing

             Dartmouth, NS

The SRPC feels it is important to provide recognition to persons or organizations that have made a significant contribution to rural medicine in Canada. A list of past recipients and details on how you could qualify or put forth a nomination for next year can be found on our Awards Page.

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