The boundaries between Canada and the U.S. are hard drawn when it comes to approaches to national healthcare policy. Despite that, for most of the principal academic, accreditation and research organizations shaping the integrative health and medicine movement, the boundaries don’t exist. The Vancouver, Canada-based Dr. Roger’s Prize has announced five awards of $50,000 each to “groundbreakers in complementary and alternative medicine.” While the recipients are from Canada, the influence of each has not been limited by borders.
The one-time “Groundbreaker” awards mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Dr. Rogers’ Prize that grants $250,000 every other year to leaders in integrative health. The winners will be celebrated at a Gala Dinner on February 24, 2017 in Toronto. The award was named after Roger Rogers, MD, a pioneering integrative oncologist in British Columbia. The five awardees are:
- Steven K.H. Aung, MD is an integrative medicine physician and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner at the University of Alberta who has academic affiliations in a half-dozen other countries. A key role has been his service as vice chair for North America of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies. In 2006, the highly-honored Aung was granted Canada’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada. He serves as the director of community engagement for the Integrative Health Institute at the University of Alberta.
- Jozef Krop, MD (retired), CNP was a mentee of the founder of orthomolecular medicine, Abram Hoffer, who went on to train in orthomolecular and environmental medicine. In the 1980s, Krop was involved in government-backed projects that explored the potential in environmental medicine. The Dr. Rogers’ Prize site notes that subsequently conventionally practicing physicians “pursued disciplinary action against him (1989-2010)—without patient complaint or harm – with the documented intent of stopping his use of particular medical modalities despite their published scientific basis.” The site adds that “the treatment modalities which [conventional doctors] attempted to discredit are now accepted and recognized by mainstream medicine.”
- Stephen Sagar, MD is an integrative oncologist at McMaster University, in Ontario. The United Kingdom-trained physician’s research and education interests are in integrative oncology, mind-body medicine, and holistic models of healthcare, patient experience, psycho-oncology, and psycho-education. His book, Restored Harmony, focused on integration of TCM and Western medical methods. Sager is past president of the Society of Integrative Oncology.
- Donald Warren, ND is a long-time leader in the re-emergence of naturopathic medicine in North America. He was president of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and led the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, each in times of rapid growth and increased recognition. Warren was also co-founder of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health and has been an editor of the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine project. Warren has recently devoted himself to research in Rwanda exploring the use of selenium in HIV-AIDs populations.
- Joseph Y. Wong, MD is a pioneer in establishing the acupuncture and Oriental medicine field in Canada while believing that it could be practiced in a way that is better integrated with Western scientific medical practice. Wong “developed a new direction in acupuncture, based on anatomy and physiology, known as neuro-anatomical acupuncture.” Wong’s work became the basis of the curriculum for the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute where he was the lead educator. Wong is the proprietor of the Toronto Pain & Stress Clinic. He is the author of six books.
The awards are determined through five-member jury that includes integrative medicine leaders from Canada, the United States and England.
Comment: The first Dr. Rogers Prize followed on the heels of the announcement of a similar award program by the U.S.-based Bravewell Leadership Awards. Every second year from 2003-2013, the Bravewell’s collaborative of philanthropists granted $100,000 to one or two integrative medicine leaders. The exception was 2007, when Bravewell chose to honor a group of six Pioneers of Integrative Medicine, much like these “Groundbreaker” awards. It is interesting that the U.S.’s northern neighbor awarded 250 percent more than the Bravewell. Given that the U.S. population is roughly 10 times that of Canada, a proportional award in the U.S. would be $2.5 million. Good for the Canadians that the Dr. Rogers’ Prize exists. It will be interesting to see if a new prize pops up south of the Canadian border now that the Bravewell has sunsetted its operation.