VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 2, 2014) - Four special awards were handed out at the Doctors of BC's annual awards ceremony Saturday, May 31st. The Association's 15th annual Awards of Excellence in Health Promotion and Prevention and the inaugural Changemaker Awards for political or medical advocacy were bestowed to the winners for their work in improving the health care system for patients and those who work in it.

Awards of Excellence

Surrey, BC family physician and former Minister Responsible for Mental Health, Dr. Gulzar Cheema won an Individual Award of Excellence for his outstanding and continuing work educating the Indo-Canadian population about disease prevention and promotion. This can sometimes be a challenging population to convince that a change in lifestyle is necessary for improved health, but through his volunteer efforts researching, producing and videotaping a weekly health segment on OMNI TV, his talks at temples and seniors' centres, and his work with immigrating doctors and young students, his message is having an impact.

The Canadian Mental Health Association of BC's BounceBack program won the non-profit Award of Excellence for its work helping thousands of British Columbians manage their mild to moderate stress, anxiety, and depression issues by helping them develop hands on, self-help skills. By referral from a family doctor, this free program offers two forms of help to patients: a DVD comprised of practical tips, and telephone coaching sessions in which patients use a workbook and work through a series of steps. Results show that depression and anxiety symptoms of patients were reduced by half when measured pre-Bounce Back and Post-Bounce Back.

Changemaker Awards

Dr. Arun Jagdeo, a third year medical Resident in psychiatry, has held a number of leadership roles in the areas of health promotion, and physician advocacy and wellness- especially impressive in view of the early stage of his career. Through his work with the Canadian Association of Interns & Residents, the BC Psychiatric Association, and currently in his role as President of the Professional Association of Residents of BC, Dr. Jagdeo uses his strengths and skills to bring issues such as physician recruitment and retention, the provision of culturally sensitive care, and the management of medical student debt to the attention of the provincial government.

The passion of Ms. Alia Dharamsi, a fourth year medical student with an internship in Emergency Medicine already lined up, lies in alleviating hunger and promoting proper nutrition. She is the President and Founder of Meal Exchange UBC - a national, youth-driven charity that engages, educates and mobilizes youth to work with their communities to alleviate hunger locally and achieve food security. This program has reached into more than 100 communities across Canada and generated more than $3M worth of food. Ms. Dharamsi also mentors and tutors students in inner city schools sharing her love of math and science and tying it to the importance nutrition plays in learning.

Doctors of BC congratulates all winners for their dedication and limitless energy to improve our health care system. For a complete list of all award recipients please visit www.doctorsofbc.ca/about-bcma/awards.

Contact Information:

Sharon Shore
Senior Manager of Communications and Media Relations
604-638-2832 (O) 604-306-1866 (P)