Health Research Foundation announces the recipients of two health research awards

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Ottawa, November 15, 2023 – The Health Research Foundation (HRF) of Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Kenneth Rockwood has been named the 2023 recipient of its Medal of Honour, and that Dr. Oluwabukola Salami is the first recipient of its new Diversity and Equity in Research Award.  

Dr. Rockwood, a clinician scientist, has taught at Dalhousie University since 1991 and practices at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, dedicating his career to treating older patients and studying the aging process. He pioneered a way to summarize an older adult’s overall health status by counting health deficits in a frailty index which is commonly known as the Rockwood model of frailty.

“Dr. Rockwood has dedicated his career to understanding the aging process and has gained international praise for the work he has done in his field,” said Mel Cappe, Chair of the HRF Board of Directors. “The HRF is extremely pleased to present Dr. Rockwood with the Medal of Honour and to recognize the contributions he has made as a clinician, a physician, and a mentor.”

Dr. Rockwood has also led several studies on dementia and cognitive impairment, which governments across the country continue to use in their policy, that underscore dementia as a preventable disease.

“Being named the Medal of Honour recipient by the HRF is truly an honour. I have dedicated my life to improving care and quality of life for older adults through a better understanding of the aging process,” said Dr. Rockwood. “This award highlights the importance of this work while underscoring how much more needs to be done to understand dementia and one day prevent the onset of this disease.”

Dr. Salami is a professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She has received international recognition for her work on the policies and practices that shape migrant health, and for her leadership in nursing.

“Dr. Salami is an exceptional leader within her field. As the founder of the African Child and Youth Migration Network, she works with more than 40 researchers around the world to improve policies that will contribute to the wellbeing of African migrant children and youths across the globe. She is also a dedicated mentor, having trained over 100 undergraduate and graduate students to help elevate health care and treatment for diverse communities across the country,” said Frank Stramaglia, Vice-Chair of the HRF Board of Directors.

Dr. Salami has been involved in over 85 research projects, totalling over $230 million, on various topics, including African immigrant child health, immigrant mental health, and access to healthcare for immigrant children. She represented the University of Alberta on the steering committee of the Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group, co-led the establishment of the Institute for Intersectionality at the University of Alberta, and has published over 125 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals with another 20 under review.

“Receiving this award in recognition of the research I have been doing on the health and well-being of immigrant, racialized and Black populations is truly an honour,” said Dr. Salami. “I have worked to improve the lives of Black individuals in Canada and through the results of my research created the first fully interdisciplinary university-based mentorship for Black youth in this country. This award is shared with everyone working for health equity in Canada.”

The HRF Medal of Honour has been awarded annually since 1945 to individuals whose work or contribution to public policies in support of research and development in Canada has achieved international recognition. Previous recipients include Dr. Charles Best for the co-discovery of insulin and the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney for his contribution to Canada’s health care system.

The Diversity and Equity Research Award recognizes excellence in research by outstanding individuals whose work advances equitable participation in health research and access to health care in Canada and improves the well-being of all residents, particularly those facing inequities. 

To learn more and stay up to date on Canadian health research, follow the HRF on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the Health Research Foundation

The Health Research Foundation (HRF) of Innovative Medicines Canada is a non-profit organization that invests in Canadian academic health research and promotes the value of research-driven health innovation in Canada. The HRF is one of the leading private health foundations in the country and its contributions help prevent illness, treat disease, and improve Canada’s health-care systems. The organization is committed to addressing health challenges through research excellence, stakeholder partnerships and the advancement of public policy.

About Innovative Medicines Canada

Innovative Medicines Canada is the national association representing the voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. The association advocates for policies that enable the discovery, development, and delivery of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve the lives of all Canadians and supports the members’ commitment to being a valued partner in the Canadian health-care system. The association represents 48 companies who invest nearly $1.4 billion in R&D annually, fueling Canada’s knowledge-based economy, while contributing $8 billion to Canada’s economy. Guided by the Code of Ethical Practices, all members work with governments, private payers, health-care professionals, and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

For further information:

Marise Varanda
Director, Media Relations & Content
Telephone: 613-462-5369


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