Honouring and Celebrating our Outstanding Members
The ACFP is proud to celebrate the physicians, students, residents, and clinics who demonstrate what “Excellence in Family Practice” truly means. Read about our 2020 Award Recipients below.
Nominate a Colleague for our 2021 awards today!
ACFP Family Physician of the Year
Dr. Andrew Cave, Edmonton
ACFP Family Physician of the Year – South Zone
Dr. Brenda Ireland, Lethbridge
Recognition of Excellence
Dr. Allen Ausford, Edmonton
Dr. Debra Putnam, Calgary
Dr. Roxanne Swiegers, Medicine Hat
Patient’s Medical Home – Outstanding Family Practice
Boyle McCauley Heath Centre, Edmonton
ACFP Student Leadership – Rising Star Award
University of Alberta – Catherine Palme
University of Calgary – Helen Tam-Tham
Family Medicine Resident Leadership Award
University of Alberta – Dr. Derek Chan
ACFP Champion Award
Dr. Kiran Dhillon, Edmonton
ACFP Long-term Service Award
Dr. Donna Manca, Edmonton
Dr. Andrew Cave
Dr. Cave grew up in Manchester and graduated from the University of Manchester in 1971. In 1982, he took a sabbatical year and joined the life-altering Masters in Family Medicine program under Ian McWhinney and Moira Stewart at Western Ontario where he also discovered family medicine research. Dr. Cave later moved to Edmonton in 1992 as a researcher and teacher based at the new Grey Nuns family medicine centre.
When family medicine was reinstated at the University of Alberta Hospital, he was one of the founder members of the Family Medicine Clinic and as co-chief organised the in-patient service there.
He now practices in the Family Medicine Clinic in the Kaye Edmonton Clinic in a multidisciplinary team. He teaches students and residents and pursues a busy research life focused on respiratory diseases in practice.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: Meeting a variety of great people.
My family medicine mentor is: Gerry Clayton and Ian McWhinney.
One thing that surprises me about being a family physician is: How totally engrossing it can be.
If I wasn’t a family physician, I’d be: A teacher.
Dr. Brenda Ireland
A graduate of UBC medical school and the UWO FP program, Dr. Ireland earned her CCFP in 1985. After she moved to Lethbridge, a family practice rich with elderly patients nurtured a growing interest in palliative care. She joined the regional palliative team in 2000 and combined that work for a number of years with involvement at a geriatric rehab program, and later with GP oncology. She considers it a profound privilege to walk beside these patients and their loved ones at a difficult and vulnerable time of their lives.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: The enormous variety of practice options.
My family medicine mentor is: Dr. Cheryl Levitt.
One thing that surprises me about being a family physician is: How incredibly satisfying end-of-life care is.
If I wasn’t a family physician, I’d be: No idea!
Dr. Allen Ausford
Dr. Ausford was born in Edmonton and attended the UofA for his MD and FP residency. The Lynnwood teaching clinic, where Dr. Ausford practices, is a free-standing, community-based, fee-for-service Medical Home. Dr. Ausford started precepting FP residents in his first year of practice in 1981 and the experience of teaching learners in a real-world clinic continues to be very rewarding for him. After 39 year in practice Dr. Ausford will be retiring this year. He was the regional Chief Medical Information Office and has been closely involved in developing PIN, Netcare, POSP, eCLINICIAN and Connect Care allowing him to contribute to all patients in Alberta rather than just his practice of 1,200 patients. Dr. Ausford will continue to teach and do IT consulting work for the next few years.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: The deep connection with patients and their families. You can walk into an exam room or do a house call and immediately know how they are doing or if they have something going on other than their presenting complaint.
My family medicine mentor is: Dr Gerald Higgins – was my Family Physician as a child and my family practice role model.
One thing that surprises me about being a family physician is: How much you learn from your colleagues, students/residents and patients.
If I wasn’t a family physician, I’d be: An Astronaut – is the only thing that could possibly elevate someone higher than Family Medicine.
Dr. Debra Putnam
Born in Calgary, Debra Putnam has lived in Calgary all of her life aside from her undergraduate years in Victoria. After obtaining her MD at the University of Calgary and doing family medicine residency at the Foothills Hospital, Debra started practising in 1991. Teaching has always been an important part of her practice and Debra has enjoyed teaching medical students, residents and more recently, primary care providers since beginning her career. Over the years, Debra have enjoyed doing low risk obstetrics, hospitalist work, and long term care in addition to office practice. However, her growing passion for child and youth mental health eventually became a focus for her. In addition to her office practice, Debra started working at the Alex Youth Health Center and on the Youth Health Bus, which she loves! Debra became CanREACH trained in 2016 so that she would be more skilled at assessing and managing pediatric mental health conditions, and was honoured to be invited to join the CanREACH faculty in 2017, teaching primary care providers those same skills. She feels so fortunate to have been able to grow this aspect of her work as a primary care provider, helping so many patients who struggle with mental health issues. Debra hopes to inspire more family physicians to do this very rewarding and impactful work!
The one thing I love about family medicine is: The relationships that form over time as we get to know our patients and their families.
My family medicine mentor(s): Dr Sheila Malm, a very accomplished family physician (2 years are president of CPSA, winner of YWCA Women of Distinction award in 1992). I was her patient starting in my early teens and the passion and caring that she showed in her work truly motivated me to pursue family medicine, and she provided mentorship to me during and after my medical studies. She died tragically in a plane crash in 2008.
One thing that surprised me about being a family physician is: How much of a positive impact family physicians can have on patients simply by offering empathetic, non-judgemental care.
If I wasn’t a family physician I’d be: A psychologist
Dr. Roxanne Swiegers
Roxanne Swiegers was born and raised in Paarl, South Africa. She obtained her MBChB ’84, BSc(Hons) Pharmacology ’86, and Diploma in Onco-chemotherapy ’87 through the University of Stellenbosch and completed her BSc(Hons) Psychology ’96 at the University of South Africa.
Roxanne moved to Kipling, Saskatchewan in 1995 and worked as a Rural Family physician acquiring her CCFP designation in 2001. In 2003 she moved to Medicine Hat, AB where she presently works as a family physician at the Connections Medical Clinic – This clinic is in the Medicine Hat College and patients are predominantly children, adolescents and youth. Since 2014, Roxanne has been a part of the CanREACH faculty and REACH faculty since 2017. She has also acquired the Family Physician Specialist Certification from the College of physicians of Canada (FCFP).
Roxanne also has a special interest in neuro-developmental disorders and have a firm belief that early diagnosis and comprehensive management is essential to minimize disability and prevent the development of co-morbid conditions. Roxanne has a loving, supportive husband, 4 boys, and 2 grandchildren.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: The diversity of my patient contacts and being an integral part of their lives throughout the life cycle.
Family medicine mentor: My best friend’s mother – Dr Frieda de Jager. Humble, down to earth, personable, empathetic.
One thing that surprised me about being a family physician is: The ever-changing nature of the field. Never a boring/ dull moment.
If I wasn’t a family physician I’d be: Developmental pediatrician/ Child psychiatrist.
Boyle McCauley Health Centre
The Boyle McCauley Health Centre (BMHC) has been serving some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable patients as their medical home for 40 years. As greater Edmonton’s only community owned and operated health centre, the BMHC provides interdisciplinary, team-based, integrated, comprehensive and person-centered primary health care for Edmontonians with complex needs. At its core, the care that is provided at the clinic is a trauma-informed approach to meeting clients that struggle with homelessness, mental health issues and addictions at their personally chosen stage of healing.
The best thing about working at our clinic is: The team approach that the BMHC has adopted for many years makes working here such a joy. Knowing that you always have a caring, empathic, like-minded teammate to help problem-solve is one of the best parts of our job.
The biggest challenge or success we`ve had in adopting PMH in our clinic: The greatest challenge to adopting the PMH is the paradigm shift in how we interact as healthcare providers. We have to consciously work at seeing the whole team – not just our fellow physicians – as our peers, and to take direction from one another. This shift has allowed us to be so successful in providing care because the care is directed by the patient and not solely by the physician.
What advice would you give to other clinics? It is crucial to intentionally deconstruct the traditional medical hierarchy. One example would be that everyone needs to be on a first-name basis: if the doctors are all ‘Dr. So-and-So’, but everyone else is ‘Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice’, what message does that send about teamwork and mutual respect? If only your physicians have reserved parking spots, are you truly showing your teammates how valued and “equal” they are?
One thing that you will be surprised to learn about our clinic: Over 50% of our patients are homeless at their intake encounter! Also, many people are surprised to know about all medical and social supports we have for our patients outside of our main clinic! Please visit www.bmhc.net for more information.
Catherine Palme is a third-year medical student at the University of Alberta and about to start her clerkship with a 10-month placement in Hinton, which she is very excited for. Catherine is originally from South Africa, and has completed previous education in physiology, psychology and business at UBC. In medical school she is involved with the Family Medicine Interest Group, and through the SOMS Catherine is part of two national working groups. Through the SRPC, she is the liaison for the University of Alberta, and the Rural Specialists student representative. Catherine is interested in pursuing rural family medicine given the diversity of practice that is available and the ability to care for those in rural and remote locations. She also tries to spend as much time outdoors as she can and enjoys hiking, skiing, running, and is currently working on her climbing skills. Being outside with her partner is what makes Catherine happiest.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: From what I have seen so far, the thing that I love the most is the ability to help people who come in with a broad array of presentations, and yet be able to direct them or offer meaningful assistance with their concern.
My family medicine mentor(s): I have been lucky to have a few mentors outside of medicine prior to starting my medical studies, but some individuals that I admire in Family Medicine include Dr Joseph Abraham, Dr Cameron Barr, and Dr Jessica Kirkwood.
One thing that surprised me about being a family physician is: I am not yet a family physician, but as a student the thing that continues to surprise me is how much patients trust you and feel comfortable sharing information.
If I wasn’t a family physician I’d be: If my future career did not involve healthcare, I would probably be studying fungi in the forests. They fascinate me and being outdoors is a huge benefit!
Professional student and life-long learner. Currently a clinical clerk with a keen interest in care of older adults and palliative care especially as it pertains to primary care and health services research.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: A career in family medicine aligns seamlessly with my interests to collaborate within a network of healthcare providers to promote health and community-based care for patients, families, and communities.
My family medicine mentor(s): Hands down the family physicians I worked with at the South Health Campus Teaching Clinic, Dr Penelope Borghesan and Dr Divya Garg in particular are model family physicians and exceptional mentors.
One thing that surprised me about being a family physician is: Family medicine’s unique opportunity to fulfill a variety of clinical interests, in addition to providing continuity of patient care in a variety of environments including supported and independent home settings.
If I wasn’t a family physician I’d be: As a generalist at heart that would like to continue to develop my communication and procedural skills, family medicine is the ideal environment for my interests. If I was not in medicine, I would continue to challenge myself in health services research!
Dr. Derek Chan
Derek is a proud graduate of the University of Alberta’s Family Medicine residency program and the Family Medicine – Emergency Medicine enhanced skills program. Having served as Co-Chief Resident for both programs, ACFP Resident Board Representative, CFPC Section of Residents Council Member, and Resident Doctor’s of Canada (RDoC) Board of Director, family medicine advocacy has always been at the forefront of Derek’s leadership focus during residency.
Through this work, Derek has been able to advance the priorities of family medicine residents at the local, provincial, and national levels including through his work on the 2019 Guide for Improvement of Family Medicine Training (GIFT), exam advocacy during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and curriculum development for the CFPC Outcomes of Training project.
Prior to residency, Derek graduated from the University of Melbourne with his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in 2016. Before embarking on a career in medicine, leadership aspirations led him to take on roles both in the health leadership field as a corporate negotiator and project manager, as well as in the military working as a Naval Warfare Officer with the Royal Canadian Navy on the west coast of Canada. Derek is looking forward to a rewarding career as both a Family and Emergency Physician and is excited to continue advancing the specialty of Family Medicine in Canada.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: Being a specialist in generalism and the patient medical home!
My family medicine mentor(s): Dr. Doug Klein, Dr. John Chmelicek, Dr. Sudha Koppula, Dr. Michelle Rico, Dr. Mike Allen, Dr. Randy Naiker, and Dr. Tim Kolotyluk
One thing that surprised me about being a family physician is: How much value and trust patients place on the family physician and patient relationship.
If I wasn’t a family physician I’d be: Sailing on the high seas with the Royal Canadian Navy!
Dr. Kiran Dhillon
Originally from BC, Kiran Dhillon finished medical school at UBC in 2016 before moving to Edmonton with her husband to complete her family medicine residency at the University of Alberta. After finishing residency, she set up her practice in Spruce Grove. Kiran is also quite interested in teaching, and is currently completing her Masters in Health Sciences Education. Outside of work, Kiran loves to go running and hiking, travel, and play the piano… although she finds she doesn’t have much time for these things right now as she just had her first baby in June!
The one thing I love about family medicine is: the great community of colleagues in our profession!
My family medicine mentor(s): Dr Jack Chang, Dr Elizabeth Thompson, Dr Preet Rai
One thing that surprised me about being a family physician is: how much I learn from my patients and colleagues every day.
If I wasn’t a family physician I’d be: An English teacher.
Dr. Donna Manca
Dr. Donna Manca is a family physician, a professor and the Director of the Research Program in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. Dr. Manca became acutely aware that family physicians need to seek answers to their questions to improve their practice; however, they are isolated in their practices. Family physicians lack good sources of information and lack the infrastructure to engage in practice improvement and research. She saw research networks as a method to increase research capacity and improve knowledge exchange between policy, research and practice. She is the Director of the Northern Alberta Primary Care Research Network (NAPCReN), a network contributing data to the Canadian Primary Care Research Network (CPCSSN). NAPCReN extracts information from Electronic Medical Records, cleans and structures the information for the purpose of quality improvement, surveillance and research.
Dr. Manca’s research interests include primary care, implementation science, privacy, ethics, research networks, cancer and chronic disease prevention, screening, and management. She is a Diabetes Action Canada investigator contributing to the National Diabetes Repository. She is also a Medical Director of the Physician Learning Program and the Medical Director of the BETTER training institute aimed to improve chronic disease prevention and screening across Canada.
The one thing I love about family medicine is: You are continually able to reinvent yourself (learn – grow – adapt).
My family medicine mentor is: Eva Grunfeld.
One thing that surprises me about being a family physician is: The amount of growth one achieves through being a witness to the human condition – very humbling.
If I wasn’t a family physician, I’d be: An artist and a teacher – e.g. martial artist sifu.