2019 Medical Staff Hall of Honour
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Medical Staff Hall of Honour.
Dr. B. Lynn Beattie
Born in Nelson, B.C. in 1940, Dr. Beattie is professor emeritus in UBC’s Department of Medicine. A role model for women in medicine, particularly when there were very few, Dr. Beattie was the founding head of the university’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and helped establish the province’s leading Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders. She worked there from 1983 to 2013.
Dr. Beattie is renowned as a force in every aspect of geriatric medicine and blazed a trail with her work among First Nations to bridge traditional understandings of wellness and disease with Western biomedical practice. Dr. Beattie’s ground breaking research activities also included clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease, a look at psychological resilience and well-being of spousal caregivers of people with dementia, and a genetic epidemiological study of Alzheimer’s disease, brain power, resistance training and cognitive function in older women.
Dr. Beattie has served on countless committees and is an active member of the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s board of directors. Her contributions are of such a magnitude that she is the only person to have ever served as president of both the Canadian Geriatrics Society and the American Geriatrics Society. She also worked part-time as the scientific director for the Centre for Healthy Aging at Providence Health Care in Vancouver. Dr. Beattie was recognized for her work in aging and dementia with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.
The current geriatric medicine services at VGH and UBC Hospital as well as those throughout the rest of B.C. are a result of Dr. Beattie’s tireless efforts to promote care of the elderly and her dedicated mentorship to generations of current geriatricians.
Dr. H. Joachim Burhenne (1925 – 1996)
Born in Hanover, Germany in 1925, Dr. Burhenne graduated magna cum laude from the University of Munich. He immigrated to the USA in 1959 to undertake his residency training in radiology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and was an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He conducted a one-year research fellowship at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London and was then recruited to the University of California, San Francisco, where he became a clinical professor and head of a radiology residency program.
In 1978, Dr. Burhenne moved to Canada and became a professor and the chairman of the Department of Radiology at UBC and director of the Department of Radiology at VGH. He was known to be a charismatic and enthusiastic leader. Dr. Burhenne was one of the founding fathers of modern abdominal radiology and developed many pioneering interventional techniques, most notably non-operative retained biliary tract stone extraction, which he first presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) in 1972.
Dr. Burhenne’s research resulted in over 250 publications and he was the co-author of the definitive textbook Abdominal Radiology. His contributions to gastro-interventional radiology are well-documented. He was a founding member of the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists and became president of the International Biliary Society. He received many awards, including the gold medal of the ARRS and of the Canadian Association of Radiologists, and was an honorary member of four surgical societies including the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.
Dr. Burhenne was an award-winning photographer, an accomplished violinist and an avid skier. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Linda Warren Burhenne, son, Dr. Mark Burhenne, daughters, Antonia Burhenne and Yvonne Cornell, and his grandchildren.
Dr. Stephen M. Drance
Dr. Drance was born in Bielsko, Poland in 1925 and moved to the United Kingdom in the 1930s. He pursued his medical school education at the University of Edinburgh and received his diploma in ophthalmology in 1953. He continued further training centred on the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma in York, Edinburgh, and Oxford.
Dr. Drance moved to Canada in 1957, relocating to Vancouver in 1963 where he joined UBC and VGH. He served as head of the UBC and VGH Departments of Ophthalmology from 1973 until his retirement in 1990.
Over his esteemed career, Dr. Drance trained over 35 glaucoma fellows who now practice worldwide. It is unlikely there is a continent that does not include a Drance fellow as one of its glaucoma physicians.
He is also a renowned clinician scientist, having published over 300 papers. Dr. Drance’s work has made a significant impact on the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, with findings from his studies still relevant. To this day, disc hemorrhages that lie within the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer are known as Drance hemorrhages.
In collaboration with VGH and the provincial government, Dr. Drance also designed and raised funds to build the VGH/UBC Eye Care Centre, which opened its doors in 1983. It provides a single address in which clinicians practice and perform surgery, medical students, residents and fellows are taught, diagnostic tests are performed, and scientists carry out their research.
Dr. Drance has been recognized worldwide with multiple visiting lectureships, fellowships, and honorary degrees. He was appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada in 1987 and in 2012 he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Dr. H. Rocke Robertson (1912 – 1998)
Born in Victoria in 1912, Dr. Robertson was the inaugural chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of British Columbia’s medical school. In this role from 1950-1959, Dr. Robertson was instrumental in transforming VGH into a preeminent university teaching hospital. He built a successful department based on his outstanding talents as a leader, clinician and administrator. One of his foremost skills was his ability to lead by example as both a master surgeon and dedicated teacher.
Dr. Robertson’s influence was reflected not only by his position as a highly sought-after skilled operator, but also by the legacy of surgeons who followed in his path. He developed a strong teaching and clinical training environment at UBC and VGH. His commitment to the education of students is recognized today by the Department of Surgery’s H. Rocke Robertson Award, which is presented annually in recognition of outstanding clinical teaching acclaimed by undergraduate students.
Dr. Robertson had a major impact on the field of surgery nationwide. He became acting dean of medicine at UBC from 1958-1959 and was subsequently recruited to become the surgeon-in-chief at Montreal General Hospital and department chair of surgery at McGill University. He later became the principal and vice chancellor of McGill University.
He received honorary degrees from Harvard University and the University of Toronto, and Honoris Causa from UBC. Dr. Robertson was an active member of many of the leading surgical societies across North America and was named a regent of the American College of Surgeons. His interest in lexicography resulted in the collection of over 350 dictionaries and encyclopaedias spanning the history of the English dictionary. He donated much of this collection to the UBC Library. Dr. Robertson was also an archivist for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He was made a companion of the Order of Canada in 1969.
Dr. Juhn A. Wada
Dr. Wada was born in Tokyo in 1924 and studied medicine at the Hokkaido University in Sapporo. An outstanding student, Dr. Wada graduated in medicine in 1946 and became a doctor of medical science in 1951. He was an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at Hokkaido, after which he worked at the University of Minnesota and the Montreal Neurological Institute before settling at UBC in 1956. He became a Canadian citizen in 1961.
From 1966 to 1994 Dr. Wada was an associate of the Medical Research Council of Canada. The Wada test remains the gold standard for establishing cerebral dominance and is conducted worldwide prior to epilepsy surgery. Dr. Wada established the first Seizure Investigation Unit in 1979 and the Epilepsy Surgical Program at UBC Hospital, which serves patients across Western Canada. He was an attending neurologist at VGH and UBC and served as the director of the EEG Department at UBC Hospital from 1969 to 1994. He was director of the Seizure Investigation Unit from 1980 to 1994.
Dr. Wada was the founding president of the Canadian League Against Epilepsy from 1977 to 1979, president of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society in 1985, and president of the American Epilepsy Society in 1989. Among his numerous awards, Dr. Wada has received the Herbert Jasper Award, the William G. Lennox Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International League Against Epilepsy and International Bureau for Epilepsy. Dr. Wada was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and, in 2012, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He also received the Order of Sacred Treasure of Japan.
Dr. Wada is professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. He has published 11 books and 323 papers on human brain asymmetry, the neurobiology of epilepsy and kindling.