Providence's Dr. James Hogg given national award for leadership in medicine

VANCOUVER, March 20, 2013 — The Gairdner Foundation has recognized Dr. James Hogg with the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award, the premier honour for leadership in medical science in Canada.

Dr. Hogg, Principal Investigator at the James Hogg Research Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital and an emeritus professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia, was selected for his research leadership in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

“I was surprised and indeed dumbfounded when I received the news that I would receive this award,” said Dr. Hogg.  “I am extremely honored to have been chosen based on lifetime achievement and accept on behalf of the Canadian respiratory community.  I hope it will draw attention to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as the enormous world health problem that it is. Canadian investigators have contributed many fundamental observations about COPD and hopefully this award will draw the public’s attention to this very important medical problem.”   

More than 700,000 Canadians have been diagnosed with COPD, and thousands more remain undiagnosed.  COPD currently has no cure.  Dr. Hogg dedicated more than 40 years to researching the disease.  His work continues to have a fundamental impact on the medical community's knowledge of the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of COPD.

Dr. Hogg maintains an active research program focused on the inflammatory process in the lung with particular reference to the structure and function of the lungs in COPD.  

Recent results suggest a new direction which could lead to a treatment capable of reversing emphysematous destruction of lung tissue in COPD.  Moreover, his work stresses the importance of finding a way to diagnose COPD before symptoms appear, allowing for potential prevention of the disease.

“Dr. Hogg built a centre for cardiovascular and pulmonary research at St. Paul’s Hospital known worldwide.  He started with just one trainee and two principal investigators and, over 3 decades, grew the facility to more than 120 trainees and 30 principal investigators,” said Dianne Doyle, President and CEO of Providence Health Care.  “We are lucky to have benefited from his vast knowledge, and the lives of patients around the world have benefited from his contributions to medical research.”

The Wightman Award is the latest in a series of awards Dr. Hogg has received.  In 1992, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and he became an officer of the Order of Canada in 2005.  In 2003, he was recognized with the prestigious American Society for Investigative Pathology Chugai Award, and he has been repeatedly honoured by the American Thoracic Society.

Established in 1976 in honour of K.J.R. Wightman, a Toronto physician and the second president of the Gairdner Foundation, the Wightman Award is given to a Canadian who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science.

Dr. Hogg was the first full-time professor based at St. Paul’s, giving the Pulmonary Research Laboratory an important link with the University of British Columbia.  In addition to its research, the lab served as a diagnostic referral centre for lung disease in B.C.  The lab quickly established itself as the focal point of research excellence in the area of heart-lung conditions.  Today, it is known as the UBC James Hogg Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research, named in his honour.

“Due to Dr. Hogg’s tireless dedication and continuing research, many sufferers of lung disease can literally breathe a sigh of relief,” said UBC President Stephen Toope. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Hogg’s accomplishments and congratulate him on this well-deserved honour.”

Created in 1959, the Gairdner Awards are Canada’s only globally known and respected international biomedical prizes. Nineteen of the last 26 Nobel Prizes in medicine or physiology in the past 10 years have gone to past Gairdner recipients.

About Providence Health Care
Providence Health Care is one of Canada's largest faith-based health care organizations, operating 16 facilities within Vancouver Coastal Health. Guided by the principle, “How you want to be treated,” PHC's 1,200 physicians, 6,000 staff and 1,500 volunteers deliver compassionate care to patients and residents in British Columbia. Providence’s programs and services span the complete continuum of care and serve people throughout B.C. PHC operates one of two adult academic health science centres in the province, performs cutting-edge research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six “populations of emphasis”: cardiopulmonary risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health.

About the University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America’s largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world’s 40 best universities. Surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian West, it is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability and research commercialization. UBC offers more than 50,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.

For more information:
Dave Lefebvre
Senior Communications Specialist – Media Relations
Providence Health Care
dlefebvre@providencehealth.bc.ca
604-682-2344 xt.66987
604-837-6003 (c)