CAPA announces 4th annual Recognition Award recipients

An emergency medicine PA at the forefront of advocacy, a physician who led Alberta’s Physician Assistant Demonstration Project, and an educator who has helped launch the careers of numerous PAs are the three individuals honoured this year with a recognition award from the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA).

Each individual was nominated by their peers and they were all celebrated in Niagara Falls on October 26 at the 2019 Awards Gala and President’s Dinner, part of CAPA’s Annual Conference.

“Without a doubt, the PA model is growing in importance and continues to make substantial contributions to patient care and health system effectiveness,” said Leslie St. Jacques, CCPA, President of CAPA. “This couldn’t happen without the contributions of PAs and supervising physicians who have forged a path to implement the role and demonstrate its value. The three individuals recognized this evening—Sahand Ensafi, Dr. Gibson, and Dr. Smith have had an enormous impact and, on behalf of CAPA, I extend my sincerest congratulations to each recipient.”

The 2019 Award Recipients are:

Sahand Ensafi, CCPA—Tom Ashman Physician Assistant of the Year

Sahand was nominated by Dr. David Carr, his colleague and an emergency physician, as well as the Associate Director of Risk Management and Faculty Development at UHN.

In his nomination letter, Dr. Carr reflected on Sahand’s clinical expertise in emergency medicine and his growing role in PA education, which includes teaching and his emerging leadership role in UHN’s national emergency medicine conference.

Dr. Carr also highlighted Sahand’s passion for the PA profession and his advocacy with hospital leadership, health ministry officials, and elected officials through CAPA’s Queen’s Park PA advocacy days. In Dr. Carr’s words, Sahand “is the type of leader who will impact change and bring progress to the profession.”

The Tom Ashman Physician Assistant of the Year award recognizes a current member of CAPA who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to furthering the PA profession in Canada and Sahand is a most worthy recipient of this honour.

Dr. Neil Gibson—Honour Roll

Dr. Neil Gibson is a giant in Alberta’s PA and physician communities, who has been advocating for PAs for over a decade. He was nominated twice, by Kirsten Luomala, CCPA, and by Cindy Gilmore, CCPA, who both know firsthand about his exceptional commitment.

Dr. Neil Gibson is the Associate Zone Medical Director in the Edmonton Zone at Alberta Health Services. Not only has he been instrumental in introducing PAs in Alberta by spearheading the original Demonstration Project, but he has also been intimately involved in CAPA’s efforts to see regulation realized in the province.

Dr. Gibson was named the Honour Roll recipient in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of the Canadian PA profession.

Dr. Benjamin Marshall Smith—CPAEA / CAPA Educator of the Year

Dr. Ben Smith is a highly respected orthopaedic surgeon in Burlington and since 2011 he has accepted 5-10 PA students each year for clinical rotations, including horizontal electives and clerkship rotations.

Dr. Smith personally ensures that his students have access to his full practice environment and advocates for them to obtain privileges for and be involved in the operating room, fracture clinic, wards, outpatient clinics and the on-call schedule. He encourages participation in hands-on procedures and has given students ample opportunities to enhance their clinical skills by spending time independently with patients and reviewing collaboratively to solidify learning.

These are just a few examples of his contributions as a PA educator and his advocacy for the next generation of PAs in Canada. The Canadian Physician Assistant Education Association (CPAEA) and CAPA are proud to recognize Dr. Smith as the PA Educator of the Year.