Alumni News

Medical alumna named to Canadian Senate

Gigi Osler speaks at a podium.Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler [B.Sc.(Med.)/92, MD/92], assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at UM, was chosen in September by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to serve as an independent senator representing Manitoba.

Osler, a 1992 UM medical alumna, is an ear, nose and throat surgeon. In 2018, she became the first woman surgeon and first racialized woman to be elected president of the Canadian Medical Association, where she led the development of the association’s first policy on equity and diversity.

She has spoken widely on issues such as physician wellness and the health impacts of climate change.

Born in Winnipeg to immigrant parents from the Philippines and India, Osler serves as a research supervisor and mentor for Filipino and other racialized medical students. She volunteers annually to train surgeons in Africa.

Osler’s honours include the Distinguished Alumni Award from UM and the May Cohen Equity, Diversity and Gender Award from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

Scientific giant memorialized on campus

Keith Fowke and Allan Ronald pose with a bust of Dr. Frank Plummer.
Dr. Keith Fowke (L) and Dr. Allan Ronald, former colleagues of Dr. Frank Plummer, at the bust unveiling.

A bust honouring Frank Plummer [MD/76], a world-renowned infectious disease researcher, was unveiled in September at Innovation Plaza on the Fort Garry campus.

The Winnipeg-born Plummer, a 1976 UM alumnus in medicine, joined the UM faculty in 1984. He spent 17 years in Kenya leading the research collaboration between UM and the University of Nairobi.

His work produced vital knowledge about the HIV epidemic in Africa and led to prevention and control strategies that influenced worldwide health policy.

In Canada, Plummer’s leadership roles included serving as scientific director general of the National Microbiology Laboratory and director general of the Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control.

Plummer died suddenly in 2020 while visiting Kenya for the 40th anniversary of the research collaboration. At the time of his passing, he was distinguished professor emeritus of medical microbiology and infectious diseases at UM and was working to develop an HIV vaccine.

Plummer’s many prestigious honours included the Order of Canada and the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award.

Exceptional alumni honoured by UM

Three of the five Distinguished Alumni Awards given by UM in 2022 were presented to alumni of the Rady Faculty.

Profile of Arnold aimark.Arnold Naimark [B.Sc.(Med.)/57, MD/57, M.Sc./60] received the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his dedication to leadership in medicine, education and research. As dean of medicine at UM from 1971 to 1981, Naimark led transformative change, notably establishing the department of family medicine and promoting health research funding.

In 1981, he was appointed president and vice-chancellor of UM, a post he occupied with distinction until 1996. He has held influential leadership roles in an extraordinary number of provincial, national and international organizations, including CancerCare Manitoba and the Health Canada Science Advisory Board. In 2013, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Profile of Peter McPherson.Dr. Peter McPherson [B.Sc.(Hons)/86,M.Sc./88] received the Academic Innovation Award. McPherson is a distinguished James McGill professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University.

He earned his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Iowa. His lab uses biochemical, cell biological, molecular biological and structural approaches to identify and functionally characterize proteins regulating membrane trafficking in the endosomal system.

Profile of Carly McLellan.

Carly McLellan [BA/16, MD/20] received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. An Indigenous family doctor, McLellan earned both the College of Family Physicians of Canada

Indigenous Medical Student Scholarship and the UM Indigenous Award of Excellence in the Trailblazer category.

She has demonstrated outstanding leadership in Indigenous health, rural medicine and volunteer service.