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Canadian Public Health Association

2018 honorary awards

Each year, we honour individuals or organizations who provide outstanding service to their community and profession. Our members nominate candidates for the following prestigious awards.

R.D. Defries Award

Richard Massé

Richard MasséDr. Richard Massé has devoted the majority of his career to public health. From 1998 to 2003, he was Québec's National Director of public health and Assistant Deputy Minister of Québec's Department of Health and Social Services. From 2003 to 2008, he was Chief Executive Officer of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec's national public health institute, and then the first Director of the University of Montréal’s School of public health from 2008 to 2011. 

As Montréal's Director of Public Health, he emphasized two priorities: reducing social inequalities in healthcare and in chronic disease prevention. As a leading developer of Quebec’s Public Health Act — one of the first in Canada — he helped make this province a pioneer in health promotion. He also led the work that gave birth to Québec's first, national public health program, paving the way to a healthier and more equitable Canada. To Dr. Massé, prevention, health promotion and social justice are of the utmost importance.

Honorary Life Membership Award

Isra Levy

Isra LevyDr. Isra Levy’s extensive achievements have covered the breadth of public health work, from building healthy public policy to emergency preparedness and response initiatives. In his decade as Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, he showed exemplary leadership when guiding the city through the H1N1 pandemic, expanding smoke-free spaces legislation and, most recently, in the opioid crisis. 

Perhaps his most enduring contribution has occurred out of public view in organizational performance and quality improvement in public health practice. Dr. Levy possesses a deep understanding of the power of effective public health organizations in creating healthier, safer and more vibrant communities. He has fostered a culture of responsible governance and management at Ottawa Public Health and successfully leveraged strong local partnerships to achieve shared goals. 

In January 2018, he joined the Canadian Blood Services team as vice president of medical affairs and innovation.

Ron Draper Health Promotion Award

Billie Thurston

Billie ThurstonDr. Billie Thurston has long dedicated her professional life to health promotion practice and research.  A former addictions and family services professional, and director of a shelter for abused women, Dr. Thurston has dedicated her career to women’s health promotion, social justice and health policy — here in Canada and internationally. Before retiring, Dr. Thurston’s research examined Indigenous health issues, including a national study on youth resilience, best practices in addressing intergenerational trauma, and urban Indigenous homelessness. 

R. Stirling Ferguson Award

Jake Pauls

Jake PaulsWhen it comes to employing environment codes and standards for the good of public health, Dr. Jake Pauls is the pre-eminent voice in North America, if not the world. He has nearly five decades of research, consulting, advocacy, teaching and standards development experience in built environment usability and safety — for example, fire and building codes. He serves on 15 national committees in the USA and Canada, developing safety standards and model building codes.  Dr. Pauls has raised the visibility of this oft-overlooked critical determinant of public health, and led the fight for improved safety codes.