B.C. doctor and Canadian Diabetes Association volunteer honoured
Contributing significantly to the medical and diabetes community as a mentor, educator, advocate, and long-time volunteer with the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), Dr. Keith Dawson, was presented with a Community Leader award at the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award’s (PMVA) ceremony held in Toronto on Feb. 27.
This award recognizes individual volunteers or groups of volunteers who have taken a leadership role in developing solutions to local challenges. As part of his recognition, Dr. Dawson was able to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a funding grant in the amount of $5,000 and has chosen to provide this grant to the CDA.
“Diabetes is not only a medical problem, it is a socio-economic challenge for many communities,” says Dr. Dawson. “It is honour to receive this award for my work in the diabetes community.”
Created in January 2011, each year the PMVA’s recognize the valuable contributions volunteers, not-for-profit organizations and businesses make to the well-being of Canadian families and communities through voluntary contributions and innovative ideas and approaches to address social challenges.
Dr. Dawson, endocrinologist and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Medicine, has had a distinguished and extensive clinical and academic career. Early on in his career he recognized the serious impact diabetes would have not only on high-risk communities, but on the public health care system. He took it upon himself to volunteer his time and expertise in the development and dissemination of the CDA’s evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada in 1992, 1998, 2003 and 2008.
Dr. Dawson devotes countless hours of volunteer time to ensure fellow physicians and other allied health professionals have access to current, best practice information irrespective of location.
Dr. Dawson’s contribution to the evolution of diabetes education has also included facilitating innovative ways to access diabetes management information for communities at high-risk for developing type 2 diabetes, most predominately in First Nations communities. He has an exceptional ability to bridge diverse communities, both geographical and cultural, and balance the many and varied approaches to address health disparities among high-risk communities and is known for developing two intervention programs, Live Well with Diabetes and Diabetes and My Nation.
He was instrumental in engaging key community leaders to contribute to the development of these culturally appropriate programs to diabetes prevention, care and treatment. For the First Nations community, he has diligently worked to build community capacity, linkages and infrastructure for long-term sustainability of these program initiatives.
“Despite retirement from full clinical practice almost a decade ago, Dr. Dawson continues to be a role model for volunteerism and community service, devoting his time and expertise with many organizations. As a result of his work in the diabetes community, Dr. Dawson is highly-regarded among his professional peers and is a much sought after lecturer at health professional conferences and a presenter at community public diabetes health forums throughout B.C.,” says Jill Wurflinger, national director of volunteer engagement at the Canadian Diabetes Association. “He is an outstanding example of leadership, energy, passion and unwavering dedication to bettering the lives of people affected by diabetes and has been a volunteer with the Canadian Diabetes Association for more than 25 years.”
“We are grateful for the time and expertise our volunteers share with us and the communities they serve in the fight against diabetes,” says Rick Blickstead, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association. “The Canadian Diabetes Association has been the beneficiary of several of Dr. Dawson’s initiatives and projects, but the most important beneficiaries have been people living with diabetes that he has served with such dedication for so many years. We are thankful for his tireless contributions in doing what many of us aspire to do—to change the world, one life at a time. He is a true champion in diabetes care, management and research.”
•••The Canadian Diabetes Association is a registered charitable organization, leading the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while we work to find a cure. Its professional staff and more than 20,000 volunteers provide education and services to help people in their daily fight against the disease, advocate on behalf of people with diabetes for the opportunity to achieve their highest quality of life, and break ground towards a cure.