Dr. Lori Brotto and Dr. Peter Leung, professors in the UBC department of obstetrics and gynaecology, and Dr. Kendall Ho, professor in the department of emergency medicine, have been awarded the 2019 Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Researcher Awards. The annual awards recognize faculty who have made significant contributions in basic science research in the areas of health and life sciences, as well as clinical and applied research to improve health outcomes of populations.
Dr. Lori Brotto, the Canada Research Chair in Women’s Sexual Health at UBC and executive director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, was recognized for her contributions to the field of women’s sexual health and mental health. Her research has influenced the assessment and treatment of sexual dysfunction around the world.
“It is such an honour to receive this award because it recognizes the important contributions that psychology makes to the field of medicine, and I am proud that our evidence-based psychological treatments have been implemented in so many medical centres,” Dr. Brotto said. “Moreover, to be recognized for my research in women’s health is so important because women’s health continues to be misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and dismissed. In my mind, research is the route towards ending these gender-based biases, and I am happy that my research has played one small part in doing so.”
Dr. Brotto’s research has also influenced local clinical practice through the introduction of psychological skills training for treating women’s chronic genital pain in hospital-based programs. Her recommendations for mindfulness and psychological approaches to treating sexual dysfunction have also appeared in the International Consultation on Sexual Medicine. Dr. Brotto has published her research in more than 170 peer-reviewed publications, regularly participates in media interviews, and wrote Better Sex Through Mindfulness to translate her research to the public. Dr. Brotto is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.
Dr. Peter C.K. Leung, the faculty of medicine’s former associate dean of graduate and postdoctoral education, was recognized for his work in women’s reproductive biology and medicine. Dr. Leung’s research seeks to understand hormonal factors in women’s reproductive health and improve the treatment of reproductive health and gynaecologic cancers
“This honour is a recognition of the collective efforts of a great many postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, staff and visiting scholars who I have been privileged to work with,” said Dr. Leung. “Their talents and dedication to scientific pursuit are deeply appreciated.”
Dr. Leung has received worldwide recognition for discovering and categorizing the human gene encoding the genadotrophin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRH), which is a key regulator of reproduction. His findings have influenced further research and clinical practice, including treatments and therapies for infertility, endometriosis and uterine fibroids, as well as prostate cancer. Dr. Leung has established international academic and research partnerships between UBC and top universities, and published more than 420 peer-reviewed papers in academic journals. He has received the Medical Research Council of Canada Scientist and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Distinguished Scholar awards among many others. Dr. Leung is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Dr. Kendall Ho, the lead investigator for Digital Emergency Medicine at UBC and an attending emergency physician at Vancouver General Hospital, was recognized for his contributions to research in digital health. Dr. Ho leads a research program integrating digital applications to enhance health outcomes of diverse patient populations.
“I am very honoured and humbled to be selected for this award,” Dr. Ho said. “I feel very fortunate to be in the field of emergency medicine, being a member of the UBC faculty of medicine, and pursuing my vocation in Canada. All of these factors allow me to develop my scholarship and knowledge translation in digital health with strong clinical grounding, fertile innovative milieu, rich contexts of care, and meaningful partnerships across Canada and globally, so as to make positive impact to patient care. This award recognizes this diverse tapestry upon which I am nurtured and grow as a clinician-researcher.”
Dr. Ho is a national leader in digital health with an extensive clinician-researcher career. His most recent project, TEC4Home, investigates home monitoring of patients with heart failure to help improve the lives of patients through digital health practices. Dr. Ho’s research regularly informs provincial and national health policy-making organizations, such as the B.C. Ministry of Health and Health Canada, on digital health. He has significantly impacted the training of health professionals in digital health, as well as published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ho is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has received numerous awards and recognition, including, most recently, the Canadian Medical Association Physician Changemaker.