Chochinov to receive top CMA award

Recognizes work done in palliative care

Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov will receive the F.N.G. Starr Award from the Canadian Medical Association.
Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov will receive the F.N.G. Starr Award from the Canadian Medical Association.
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When answers are everything

Virtual Hospice

F.N.G. Starr Award

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On August 15, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) will present the 2012 F.N.G. Starr Award to Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, a world-renowned expert in palliative care from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

"The vigour and driven approach with which Dr. Chochinov approaches palliative care make him an internationally recognized leader in palliative care research," said CMA president Dr. John Haggie. "He has taken great strides to advance medicine, and has helped define worldwide standards for end-of-life care."

"Considering the extraordinary men and women who have won this award, I feel profoundly honoured and humbled to be this year's recipient," said Dr. Chochinov. "Research in palliative care is vitally important, for while dying is inevitable, dying poorly ought not to be."

The Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award is for serving humanity under conditions calling for courage or the endurance of hardship in the promotion of health or the saving of life, in advancing the humanitarian or cultural life of his or her community or in improving medical service in Canada. Such achievement should be so outstanding as to serve as an inspiration and a challenge to the medical profession in Canada. The award represents the highest award that lies within the power of the Canadian Medical Association to bestow upon one of its members.

Dr. Chochinov is based at the University of Manitoba. He holds professorial appointments in the departments of family medicine and community health sciences and is a Distinguished Professor in the medical faculty's department of psychiatry. He is director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, a research affiliate at the Riverview Health Centre; and a founder and chair of the Canadian Virtual Hospice.

He did his undergraduate medical training and residency in psychiatry at the University of Winnipeg, and in 1986-1987 pursued a fellowship in psychiatry oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He was named a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in 1987. He later earned an arts degree in English at the University of Winnipeg (1993) and a PhD from the community health sciences faculty at the University of Manitoba (1998).

Local, provincial and national granting agencies have funded his research in palliative care since 1990. He developed a novel brief on individual psychotherapy for patients nearing death, coined dignity therapy. Dignity therapy teaches end-of-life caregivers how to facilitate the expression of thoughts, feelings and memories by individuals with life-limiting illness, and provides a means by which these all-important works can be preserved for future generations. Dignity therapy is being studied or offered within various palliative care programs worldwide. His book, Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days, was recently published by Oxford University Press.

Dr. Chochinov has been a guest lecturer at many major academic institutions throughout Canada and the United States. He has lectured in South America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Cuba, Israel, China, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, and made hundreds of presentations at international symposia. His remarkable publication record includes more than 200 books, book chapters, articles in leading peer-reviewed medical journals, conference abstracts, and newspaper opinion pieces. He is the co-editor of the Handbook of Psychiatry in Palliative Medicine, published by Oxford University Press, and the journal Palliative & Support Care, published by Cambridge University Press.

He has been a member of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) governing council for the past six years and the chair of the CIHR standing committee on ethics. Dr. Chochinov is also a member of the international scientific expert panel of the Cicely Saunders Foundation and the scientific advisory board for the National Palliative Care Research Center in New York, which is committed to stimulating, developing and funding research directed at improving care for seriously ill patients and their families.

His awards include the American Association for Hospice and Palliative Medicine Award for Excellence in Scientific Research (2011); the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award and the International Psycho-Oncology Society Bernard Fox Memorial Award (2010); the Dr. John M. Bowman Memorial Winnipeg RH Institute Foundation Award (2009); the O. Harold Warwick Prize of the National Cancer Institute of Canada (2008); fellowships in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2007) and the Royal Society of Canada (2006); the Order of Manitoba (2004); the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal; and Soros Faculty Scholar, Project on Death in America, Open Society Institute (1996-1999).

Dr. Chochinov will become the 46th recipient of the CMA F.N.G. Starr Award at a ceremony held at the Shorty Brown Arena in Yellowknife as part of the CMA's 145th annual meeting.

Source: Canadian Medical Association

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