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Regional Mentor of the Year Award: Recipients

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2017 Award Winners

Why mentor? Award-winning physicians share their answers

Dr. Michael Giuffre, MD, MBA, FRCP

Region 1 Dr. Michael Giuffre, FRCPC, MBA

  • Clinical Professor of Cardiac Sciences and Pediatrics, Faculties of Medicine and Paediatrics, at the University of Calgary

“The concept of mentorship is one that is rich and deep in meaning, as it seems to go well beyond just teaching or sharing experiences and knowledge. For me, it demands an investment toward a potentially close and regular interaction that has mutual benefit, an interaction that relies on trust, humanity, compassion and true sharing.”


Dr. Giuffre holds a B.Sc. in cellular and microbial biology, an MD and an MBA. He is Royal College certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Cardiology and has completed a fellowship in Pediatric Electrophysiology. He is a past President of the Calgary and Area Physicians Association (CAPA) and past president of the Alberta Medical Association. He currently serves as a Canadian Medical Association board member. He has also served prior as a board member for UNICEF Canada and is currently on the board of directors for three biotechnical companies. He is currently the chair of the Council of Zonal Medical leaders, for Alberta.

Dr. Giuffre received a Certified and Registered Appointment by the American Academy of Cardiology, “Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Cardiology”. He maintains a portfolio of clinical practice, cardiovascular research, and university teaching. He maintains on-going involvement in both the healthcare and biotechnology business sectors, and participates actively in mentorship roles throughout his various duties.

Dr. Allan Ross Ronald, MD, FRCPC

Region 2 Dr. Allan Ross Ronald, FRCPC

  • Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba
  • Winner of the F.N.G. Starr Award, Canadian Medical Association (2003)
  • Inducted into the Medical Hall of Fame and received the Order of Manitoba (2011)

"Mentorship essentially means someone who I respect and admire has taken an interest in me as a person and is generally interested in my success. I’ve received great mentorship during my career and now try to return it to a group of colleagues and friends through meetings, shared activities, accessibility and transparency."


In 1961, Dr. Ronald graduated with an MD at the University of Manitoba, completed training in Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland (1962-64) and was a Fellow in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology at the University of Washington (1965-68). In 1968 he returned to Winnipeg where he established a research program in sexually transmitted illnesses, and in 1976, became the Chair of Medical Microbiology. Dr. Ronald was also the Physician in Chief at the Health Sciences Center and a Distinguished Professor and Head of Infectious Diseases from 1985-1990, at the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Manitoba.

An outbreak of chancroid in Winnipeg in 1975, led to an invitation from the World Health Organization and the University of Nairobi to develop a shared STI research and control program in Kenya.

In 1999-2000, Dr. Ronald assisted the University of Hong Kong to develop its capacity in Infectious Diseases. In 2001 he moved to Uganda to assist in establishing the Infectious Diseases Institute with Ugandan and American colleagues.

In 1994 Dr. Ronald was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2001 he became a fellow on the Royal Society of Canada. In 2006 he was awarded the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for his leadership in developing the specialty of clinical infectious disease in Canada and for his exceptional international contributions in Africa. Dr. Ronald is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has contributed over 300 articles to the peer reviewed health sciences literature and these have received over 16,000 citations.

Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy, MD, PhD, FRCSC

Region 3 Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy, FRCSC, PhD

  • Nanji Family Chair in Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
  • Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto
  • Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Kensington Eye Institute

“Mentorship is the guidance given to a less experienced physician to help develop their abilities, attitudes, skills and objectives. It puts these teachings in the context of the mentor’s experience and allows for insights, coping strategies, mindsets that are not found in formal teachings. Personally I get many positives from mentoring (hardly an altruistic endeavor!). I get to know many of the young specialists in our field and understand the issues and problems they face.”


Dr. El-Defrawy is the Nanji Family Chair in Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto and the Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at Kensington Eye Institute. He is co-Chair of the Ontario Corneal Transplant Working Group and sits on the Ontario Vision Task Force. He is a Past President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and the Association of Canadian University Professors of Ophthalmology and co-chaired the Eye Health Council of Ontario in the past. Dr. El-Defrawy served as the Residency Program Director at the University of Ottawa from 1999 to 2004. He was Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Queen's University, and Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at the University Hospitals in Kingston from 2004 to 2012.

Donald Sheppard, MD, FRCP, FECMM, FACHS

Region 4 Dr. Donald Sheppard, FRCPC, FECMM, FACHS

  • Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
  • Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University, Quebec, Canada

“To me, mentorship is a chance to share my passion and love for medicine and science, and to ‘pay forward’ the debt I have incurred in my own career development. I have also come to appreciate that mentorship is a two-way street and has provided me with many opportunities to learn from my trainees.”


Dr. Sheppard is currently the section head of the medical mycology laboratory and practices clinical infectious diseases at the McGill University Health Centre. His primary clinical area of interest is human fungal disease, particularly invasive aspergillosis in the immunocompromised host. Dr. Sheppard is a clinician-scientist whose research interests focus on elucidating the mechanisms by which the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus causes human disease in order to develop new therapeutics for these infections

He has been actively engaged in teaching and mentoring of young clinicians and scientists as the Program Director for the McGill Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology training programs, and has developed a combined clinical, laboratory and didactic training program for medical mycology. He currently serves as a mentor for undergraduate and graduate research trainees, clinical fellows as well as several junior faculty members.

He has published over 100 research papers and book chapters and has delivered over 150 invited lectures worldwide. Dr. Sheppard has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Clinician-Scientist award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and a Research Chair from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Santé.

Dr. Sonia D. Sampson, FRCPC, MD, BMLSc

Region 5 Dr. Sonia D. Sampson, FRCPC, BMLSc

  • Associate Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Anesthesia Research Director, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Anesthesia Mentorship and Wellness Co-Director, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

“A career in medicine is a higher risk choice than many other career options. Mentorship allows me the unique opportunity to help residents and medical students strengthen their self-confidence, find their voice, and exercise their leadership skills.”


Dr. Sonia Sampson finished her medical studies at the University of British Columbia and residency at Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador. While still a resident, she designed and implemented the Anesthesia Mentorship Program at Memorial University in 2005. This has since developed into the Mentorship and Wellness Program for the Anesthesia Residents. She has pursued education and mentoring opportunities nationally and internationally with Team Broken Earth, travelling to Port-aux-Prince, Haiti seven times for medical and educational outreach. Dr. Sampson has taken a particular interest on these travels to support and mentor anesthesia resident research in simulation and education.

In 2013, Dr. Sampson was appointed the Anesthesia Research Director, and has developed the local research ‘Anesthesia Think Tank’ as well as guided many local staff and residents through their research projects. She currently holds national roles as the Memorial University representative on ACUDA, PACT, CAS Research Committee, and more recently as a Royal College Examiner in Anesthesia. She has worked to represent simulation in community operating rooms across Newfoundland and Labrador, leading a team of staff and residents to these rural sites to perform in situ simulation to identify latent system errors. She has helped foster educational and patient safety networking opportunities across the sparsely populated province which would not have existed without the simulation initiative.


  • Dr. Aleem Bharwani, MPP, FRCPC - Calgary
  • Dr. Margaret Burnett, CCFP, FRCSC, FACOG - Winnipeg
  • Dr. Michael G. Fehlings, PhD, FRCSC, FACS - Toronto
  • Dre Christiane Bertelli, FRCPC - Montreal


  • Dr. Michael F. Murphy, MD, FRCPC – Edmonton
  • Dr. William P. Fleisher, MD, FRCPC - Winnipeg
  • Dr. Dafna D. Gladman, MD, FRCPC – Toronto
  • Dr. Pierre J. Durand, MD, FRCPC - Quebec
  • Dr. Angus Hartery, MD, FRCPC - St. John’s