At spring convocation, honorary degrees were awarded to three people with strong connections to the medical school: Dr. Bruce Aylward (Class of 1985) and Drs. Donald and Elizabeth Hillman, former faculty members at the medical school.
Dr. Bruce Aylward (class of 1985) was the first winner of the Memorial University Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement in 2002. He was selected in recognition of his professional excellence and distinction in community health and preventative medicine. His work as the co-ordinator of the Global Polio Eradication Program of the World Health Organization (WHO) has helped to all but eliminate polio from the planet. The model of polio vaccination that he helped to develop is now being adapted by health agencies to deliver other forms of preventative medicine to remote and disadvantaged areas around the globe.
Dr. Aylward said Memorial was hugely important to his career and he credits Dr. Ian Bowmer with getting him interested in infectious diseases. "He encouraged me to make the most of a very wide-ranging and comprehensive experience. In terms of my professional development, I was extremely fortunate in the grounding I received at Memorial."
Drs. Donald and Elizabeth Hillman are Canadian professors of pediatrics who received the Order of Canada in 1994 for their work in international child health and development. They served on the Faculty of Medicine from 1976 to 1989. At the Janeway Child Health Centre, Dr. Donald Hillman was physician in chief, and Dr. Elizabeth Hillman was director of ambulatory education.
Dr. Elizabeth Hillman is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and received her postgraduate training in Montreal, London, England, and Boston. She was the first female president of the Medical Council of Canada.
Dr. Donald Hillman, a graduate of McGill University, received his postgraduate training in Montreal, Toronto and Boston, and completed his PhD in investigative medicine at McGill where he was associate dean of postgraduate studies.
The Hillmans were married in 1955 and together they have directed CIDA-funded programs in Kenya and Uganda. They have also served as medical consultants in Kuwait, Zambia, Tanzania, Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, South Africa and Bhutan and completed Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO) projects in Kenya, India, Guyana, the Philippines and Pakistan, as well as working as senior medical officers for UNICEF in Uganda.
They have both held senior faculty appointments at McGill, McMaster and Memorial Universities, and are now professors at the University of Ottawa, helping the Faculty of Medicine develop a Centre for International Health and Development. The Hillmans are also professors of public health and pediatrics at Boston University and were on faculty as professors of public health and community and family medicine at Universiti Sains Malaysia. They continue to volunteer internationally several times each year in child health/medical education projects around the world.