Aug 7, 2012
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is pleased to recognize three young physician leaders as the recipients of its 9th annual Award for Young Leaders. The award celebrates the efforts of young physician leaders of tomorrow for their efforts today (August 1rst)
The recipients of the 2012 Award for Young Leaders are medical student Colin Casault of Calgary, medical resident Dr. Brock Debenham of Edmonton, and, in the early career category, Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam of Toronto.
Colin Casault (student)
Colin Casault has been training for medical leadership since he was a science undergraduate at the University of Alberta. A 2012 medical graduate of the University of Calgary, he has put his training in leadership and political advocacy to good use in professional societies and associations at the local, provincial and national levels.
One of his early volunteer activities was with the Canadian Blood Services youth committee, where he served a term as president and received its 2008 leadership excellence award. Before beginning medical school, he was a medical volunteer in Tanzania.
In 2009, he was elected vice-president (external) of the Calgary Medical Students' Association and in this capacity organized a symposium on activity-based health care funding; he became president in 2010. He also has served on the university's medical student appeals board, political action committee and faculty council. He has served on the boards of the Professional Association of Residents of Alberta and the Alberta College of Family Physicians.
He became chair of the Alberta Medical Association's student affairs committee in 2009. He attended the AMA Representative Forum as a student delegate and gave presentations on such topics as funding for rural clerkship and representation of low socioeconomic status students in medical school. As a 2011 delegate to the CMA General Council, he represented Alberta student interests on such issues as resident work hours, the sale of Canadian medical training suits, recruitment and retention of medical graduates to rural training programs, and curriculum changes.
"There are so many great applicants and it's humbling to be recognized this year for the numerous projects I have been involved within recent years. Three years ago, I was ecstatic to simply be joining the University of Calgary Medical School. I don't even think I could have fathomed being selected for such a prestigious award three years later," said Mr. Casault. "As with many people, my entry into the world of political advocacy was a combination of planning and serendipity. My original intention was simply to gather experience and knowledge about the medical profession outside of simply the medical textbooks. As I delved deeper into the political landscape, I found there were many deserving projects and causes to lend a hand with. Needless to say, these projects brought me into contact with many influential people who helped push and motivate me to further."
Mr. Casault's next career step is residency in neurology at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Brock Debenham (resident)
Brock Debenham won several awards for student leadership during his medical undergraduate and postgraduate years at the University of Alberta.
After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 2003, he began medical training. One of his outreach activities was the SHINE Clinic, which provides free health care in the inner city of Edmonton; in addition to his clinical work with SHINE, he served as vice-president finance. While a medical trainee he represented the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry on the University of Alberta Students' Council and General Faculty Council; he also was the information technology officer for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students.
In 2007 he began a residency in radiation oncology. That same year he was chosen to represent residents on the Calgary and Area Physicians Association as well as the Professional Association of Residents of Alberta (PARA). In 2008 he was elected president and board chair of PARA and in this capacity attended the Alberta Medical Association Representative Forum and the CMA General Council as a delegate. He also represented Alberta on the Canadian Association of Internes and Residents, for which he chaired the finance and audit committee. Throughout his residency he remained active on the PARA executive, serving as vice-president of operations and finance, chair of the board of directors, and chair of several committees.
"I was thrilled to have learned that I won this award. It felt great to be recognized for leadership activities within the medical field," said Dr. Debenham. "I have always loved volunteering throughout my studies and giving medical students and resident-physicians a voice within the medical community. Being involved in leadership positions has allowed me to build tremendous relationships with people that will last my whole career. I plan on continuing my leadership work during my fellowship and during my career."
In 2011 he became co-chief resident in the radiation oncology residency program. "His future plans include a fellowship in genitourinary and head and neck brachytherapy at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, beginning in 2012.
Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam (early career physician)
Since earning his fellowship in psychiatry in 2008, Sanjeev Sockalingam has quickly become an innovator in psychiatry education at the University of Toronto, where he is assistant professor. He is a member of the U of T research, innovation and scholarship in education program, director of training for international medical graduates (IMGs), and Psychiatry postgraduate education University Health Network site coordinator.
During his senior residency and first two years as faculty, Dr. Sockalingam co-developed the Department of Psychiatry physician-manager curriculum, which offers interactive workshops longitudinally over three years and includes resident participation in quality improvement projects. The scholarly value and innovation of the curriculum was recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, which awarded it a CanMEDS research grant. As a result of this innovation, the department created a physician-manager coordinator position, to which Dr. Sockalingam was appointed. He has co-authored several papers on the model and the curriculum has been recognized as an innovative way to provide physician-manager training for residents in other specialty programs.
He also has enhanced the postgraduate training experience of IMGs. After conducting a national multi-site needs assessment survey for IMGs training in psychiatry, he developed a psychiatry-specific orientation curriculum for foreign-trained physicians. An orientation manual that he developed has been adopted by the Canadian Psychiatric Association as a national resource for all 16 training programs.
"I am humbled by this honour. I would not be accepting this award had it not been for the instrumental experiences I obtained through the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and the University Health Network. I am indebted to all of my mentors, esteemed colleagues and family who have supported me along the way. I would like to thank the CMA for their recognition and I hope to build on this achievement in the years to come," said Dr. Sockalingam. "Much of my early career has focused on medical education - specifically, developing future physician-managers and enhancing international medical graduate training; two areas I am passionate about."
A medical graduate of the University of Manitoba, he has received several awards for teaching excellence at the University of Toronto, where he did his psychiatry residency.
Recipients of the Young Leaders Award have demonstrated exemplary dedication, commitment and leadership in one of the following domains: political, clinical, education, research and/or community service.
"I continue to be thrilled and impressed by the quality of our young leaders," said Dr. John Haggie, CMA president. "Given their passion, commitment and creativity, I am certain that we will be hearing about the accomplishments of these young leaders for years to come."
The CMA will present the awards on Aug. 15 during its 145th annual general meeting in Yellowknife.
For more information :
Canadian Medical Association
1867 Alta Vista Drive
Canada, K1G 5W8