January 22nd, 2021

Canadian Medical Association honours city doctor

By Jensen, Randy on August 12, 2020.


Lethbridge physician Dr. Vanessa Maclean has been selected as one of 16 Canadian Medical Association Award recipients, announced this week.

The award program is an annual recognition of individuals who’ve made an exceptional contribution to medicine or the health-care system. The 16 award recipients will be officially recognized during a virtual ceremony later this year.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen the impact health workers have in our lives. When you look at the list of award recipients, I’m humbled by what they’ve accomplished and thank them for their outstanding contributions to our health and our health-care system,” said Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president.

Maclean is the recipient of the May Cohen Award for Women Mentors. In 2017, Maclean conducted a review of the female physician leadership experience in Alberta. What she uncovered was eye-opening, according to a release from CMA, namely the underrepresentation of women in health-care leadership positions and the barriers many still faced in achieving those roles. In the end, many of the recommendations in the seminal report that resulted from her review were implemented by Alberta Health Services (AHS), and today Maclean continues to practise what she preaches, actively mentoring emerging physician leaders to develop their leadership skills.

“The nomination did surprise me,” said Maclean, who was nominated for the award by Dr. Dion Walsh and Dr. Jennifer Burke. “I found out a few months ago I was selected, but with COVID happening, I’ve kept it under my hat.”

Maclean was asked to conduct the study by Dr. Francois Belanger, Chief Medical Officer for Alberta Health Services. She started the study in July 2017 and the report was released in December 2018.

“It was a good experience and it was quite an honour to be asked to do it,” said Maclean.

Maclean started her practice as a family physician in Lethbridge in 1987 before moving on to become an emergency room doctor, then Medical Officer of Health for the South Zone.

She continues to work for AHS helping implement Connect Care, which, according to the AHS website, is a new way of using and sharing health information to improve patient care.

Connect Care will give health-care providers at AHS and its partners a central access point for more complete, up-to-date patient information and best practices. Patients will have better access to their own information, and it will be easier for health-care providers to communicate with patients and each other.

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