Communications - News at Medicine - February 2014 - Genetics pioneer among those inducted into Order of NL

Genetics pioneer among those inducted into Order of NL
February 11, 2014
Dr. Jane Green, professor of genetics in the Faculty of Medicine, was one of seven exemplary individuals inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador (ONL) at a ceremony hosted at Government House Feb. 7. 
Premier Tom Marshall made the awards to the inductees, whose contributions ranged from medicine to minority rights to tourism.

Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan said the most recent inductees to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador represent extraordinary strength, conviction and perseverance.  

The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador is the highest honour of the province. It recognizes individuals who have shown excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour benefitting the province and its residents in an outstanding manner.The first investiture took place in 2004.

Dr. Green received the ONL award for her research work with genetics and inherited diseases in the province. She has received numerous honours during her career, including being inducted as a fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) on Sept. 19, 2013. Election to fellowship in the CAHS is considered one of the highest honours for individuals in the Canadian health sciences community and carries with it an agreement to serve the academy and the future well-being of the health sciences.
Dr. Green has been at the forefront of genetic research of hereditary cancers and hereditary eye diseases for 35 years. Her studies led to the discovery of novel genes in Newfoundland and Labrador families and a new understanding of pathways to development of cancer and blindness. She works closely with molecular geneticists and genetic counsellors, and families participating in the research have benefited from clinical and genetic screening programs developed and implemented based on the research. In 1993 her research was key to identifying a major colon cancer gene and to the provision of genetic testing. 
Dr. Green pioneered the development of screening programs for earlier and more successful treatment of hereditary tumours. Her work has saved lives and profoundly improved health and quality of life for hundreds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. In 2012 she received the Founders Award for Excellence in Medical Genetics from the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists for her significant lifetime contributions to the college and to the genetics community in Newfoundland, Canada and beyond. In 2008 she received a Knowledge Translation Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which allowed her to visit many of the 28 hospitals in the province during 2009 to give presentations on the implications of genetics and hereditary diseases to patients and family members, health-care professionals and the public.

The other six individuals inducted into ONL on Feb. 7 were:  Bridget Foster for her work with immigrants and refugees in the province;  Margaret Kearney for her efforts to promote tourism and travel to the province;  Colleen Kennedy for her work promoting the Gros Morne region of the province; Gilbert Linstead for his work with the Labrador Fisherman’s Union Shrimp Company;  Kevin St. George for his involvement in the Corner Brook region; and  Sara Sexton, the mother of Newfoundland comedian Tommy Sexton, for her work in AIDS awareness after his death in 1993.

Dr. Green said the selection of this year’s Order of Newfoundland and Labrador recipients shows her that people can do great things in whatever their chosen field.

“Not everyone will choose science or medicine or genetics as I did, but each recipient here today has contributed to the richness of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in his or her own way. So follow your dream and make a difference to the future of our province.”

Retired General Rick Hillier was also chosen to be inducted to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador this year. He was unable to attend Friday’s ceremony; he will receive his award at a later date.

Among those at Government House: front, from left: recipient Margaret Kearney, Premier Tom Marshall, Lt-Gov. Frank Fagan, chancellor of the ONL; and ONL recipient Kevin St. George; back, from left: ONL recipients Sara Rita Sexton, Colleen Kennedy, Gilbert Linstead, Dr. Jane Stuart Green and Bridget Foster. Unavailable for the ceremony was ONL recipient Gen. (Ret’d.) Rick Hillier who will receive his award at a later date.

The Green family (from left): Teresa Green, Dr. John Green, Dr. Jane Green and Valerie Green. Teresa travelled from Vancouver for her mother's ceremony; son Tim, who also lives in Vancouver, was unable to attend.