Canadian progress in stroke care has had worldwide impact, says Dr. Antoine Hakim at this year’s uOttawa Gairdner Lecture
A capacity crowd filled the Amphitheatre at Roger Guindon Hall yesterday to hear from two internationally acclaimed scientists at the annual Gairdner Lecture Series.
Each year, the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine is a stop for the Gairdner Lecture Series as it tours universities across the country. This year was particularly special as it featured the Faculty’s own Dr. Antoine Hakim, one of only two University of Ottawa faculty to ever be named a Gairdner laureate. Dr. Hakim, recipient of the 2017 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science, shared insights on the prevention of dementia and stroke. He stressed the value of rapid coordination of emergency response in continuing to make stroke a treatable condition.
“In those provinces that have imposed stroke strategy, the benefits have been amazing,” Dr. Hakim said. “Canadian progress in stroke care has had worldwide impact.”
Also lecturing was Dr. Cesar Victora, laureate of the 2017 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award for his contribution to health in the developing world. He spoke about how instead of following the “Think global, act local” approach to research, he decided to switch things around when he saw patterns of things happening locally, which encouraged him to go into epidemiology.
“I began studies on exclusive breastfeeding, which ultimately led to change in global policy,” he said. “It is great to be part of this process, part of a team that led to a real change in policy, and defining breastfeeding as the norm.”
Event host Dr. Ruth Slack, interim vice-dean, research at the Faculty of Medicine, greeted guests and introduced the speakers. She also welcomed Dr. Janet Rossant, president and scientific director of the Gairdner Foundation, who gave an overview of the foundation, remarking on the pleasure it brings to “celebrate excellence in science.”
Guests enjoyed both lectures, followed by a chance to mingle with the speakers at a post-lecture reception.
The Faculty offers its congratulations to both laureates and thanks them for sharing their insights and inspiring us all to continue striving for excellence.
The Gairdner Lecture series is part of a yearly National Program that inspires discovery, innovation and scientific research in communities across the country. The National Program is unique among major scientific awards, bringing laureates from around the globe to all Canadian provinces to speak with faculty and fellow researchers, reaching more than 15 universities and attracting nearly 6,000 people each year. Laureates also inspire high school students through the Student Outreach Program. The Canada Gairdner Awards are recognized as among the most prestigious awards in biomedical science in the world.
Photo credit: Mélanie Provencher